How to get what you want from customer service

DENVER – A recorded phone call to a Comcast customer service representative is sparking a national conversation about customer service. 9NEWS spoke to a consumer expert about how to really get what you want when you call.

Here are a few tips:

Know what you're talking about

Do a little research before you pick up the phone, says Amy Schmitz, a law professor at CU who specializes in consumer research. If you are calling about the terms of your contract with a company you should have read that contract in advance.

"Do you have copies of anything," asks Schmitz. "Do you have your confirmation number from when you called the cable company before on your order? Do you have your account number?"

Know exactly what you want

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they call customer service is not knowing exactly what they want. If you want to cancel your service, ask to cancel your service. Be firm.

Have backup plans

While you should know exactly what you want, Schmitz said it's also important to be realistic and be prepared to take what you can get. For example, you may not be able to get your money back entirely, but instead you could ask for a discount. Or if the cable company doesn't want to cut your rate, ask if they'll give you a free premium channel or two.

Don't be so quick to punch '0'

Schmitz says often times zero won't get you to a real person. Listen to the entire prompt before you make a selection.

Calm down, be nice

It's easier said than done. But Schmitz said you're more likely to get something from customer service if you're nice to the person on the other end of the line. Remember, they aren't specifically to blame for whatever is wrong. Schmitz said you're also more likely to have success if you build some rapport with the representative – maybe ask them how their day is going. They're likely on the phone with angry people all day and may be more willing to help someone who is calm.

Take notes

Ask for the representative's name and or employee number each time you call and write it down. If they sell you something, be sure to write the confirmation number down as well. Keeping detailed notes will help you build a case down the road.

Ask to move up the food chain

If the customer service rep really isn't helping, calmly ask to speak to their supervisor. Often times, someone higher in the chain of command can do more to effectively solve your problem.

Don't call on a Monday

Schmitz says many people make this mistake. Many people start going through their bills over the weekend and want to get it sorted out on Monday. So call centers are usually jammed, meaning you'll have trouble connecting to a representative or that representative will try to work quickly to move on to the next caller. Your better bet would be to call in the middle of the week.

Schmitz has a website with more tips.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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