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7 Things You Should Always Say to Customer Service

Sometimes a few words of praise can resolve your dispute with a company

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    Things to Say to Get Your Way

    If you’ve ever had a bad experience with customer service, you know it’s easy to get angry and flustered. But maybe there’s a calmer, gentler way to resolve consumer issues. Next time, try saying these seven things.

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    'What's Your Name?'

    This is the single most important thing you can ask in any customer service conversation. Using the agent's name during the call helps keep things friendly and reminds him that you know who he is so that he can't put you on permanent hold or hang up without repercussions.

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    'Be Calm'

    Say this to yourself. No matter how badly you’ve been treated, keep your cool. If you don’t, you’ll give the company you’re dealing with reason to dismiss you without taking care of you.

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    'We …'

    You’re more likely to get what you’re asking for if you enlist the agent in your cause. Statements such as “I know we can find a satisfactory solution” create a framework in which you and the agent are working together to solve a common problem.

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    'My Goal Is …'

    Be specific about what you’re seeking. In addition to asking for your money’s worth (a product that works as advertised, for example), you might ask for compensation for your time or punitive damages. And be clear about it. The more you help the agent see her way to making you happy and getting you off the line, the closer you will be to achieving your goal.

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    'I’m Not Going Away'

    This isn’t a threat, but a promise that you aren’t going to give up easily. Customer service agents often toss out phrases such as “There’s nothing I can do.” But if you don’t hang up the phone, they are forced to continue dealing with you.

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    Tell the agent that if she can’t help you, you’d like her to “escalate the call.” Agents get dinged for every call they have to refer to their supervisor. So let her know that’s your intention while giving her one last chance to give you what you’re asking for.

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    'Thank You'

    When you express gratitude for her efforts, you aren’t giving anything up. Instead, you’re standing out as a good guy in the endless chain of complaining customers. And simply put, people are more likely to help those who are nice to them.

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    What Not to Say

    If you get frustrated in your dealings with companies, whatever you do, make sure you don’t say these things to customer service. Remember, you’re coming from a position of strength. You are in the right and you’re asking for only what you deserve.

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