If you work, you serve others. This is a simple fact of life. The issue is, who are you serving? Customer bases vary widely but there are some things that are universal no matter who you're working with, be it the utility company or a government agency. Here are a few tips to make those calls easier so you get the best (and fastest) customer service possible:
1. Check the website. Everybody has a website now - heck, even my PARROTS have a website, so it stands to reason that companies do too. These websites are updated frequently by experts and usually contain information that customers inquire about most. The purpose of the website is not only to provide services to the public, but to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and to provide guidance on issues that they receive the most calls and e-mails about. Checking the website might save you a call, or at least lead you in a direction where you can fine-tune your inquiries to get more specific information quickly and easily.
2. Plan your call carefully and be mindful of the schedule. If there's a major deadline within the next week, I can assure you that the call volume is high and you will be more likely to be placed on hold or wind out leaving a message that may not be returned for a while. Try to avoid deadline times by planning ahead or, if it can wait, calling a couple of days after the deadline passes. (You can usually find out if you're approaching a deadline time by following Suggestion #1). Another time to avoid are days immediately before or after a major holiday. Staffing is usually low before the holiday (when everybody wants to use those precious vacation days), and call volume is typically extremely high after a holiday (when everybody goes back to work). And Friday afternoons are usually bad too, because everybody wants a Friday off, so if there's leave to burn (in terms of "use it or lose it" days or comp time) that's usually when staff cashes in. The trick is that you want to call when there's maximum staffing, but not extremely high call volume - this increases your chances of getting a human being with correct answers quickly and easily.
3. Read the instructions all the way through. I understand that it's a knee jerk reaction to pick up the telephone once you hit a sentence you don't understand. Don't do it. Keep reading because the answer might be further down the page. I can't count the number of "oh yea, right there it is, I just quit reading" comments I've heard over the years.
4. NEVER pick up the telephone when you're panicked or heightened emotional state unless it's a medical emergency and you're calling 911. I kid you not - I've answered the telephone to full blown hyperventelation many times, and those are awkward calls. I have a psychology degree, but most people in administrative jobs studied areas like business management or accounting and they may not have been trained to "talk you off a cliff." Practice what I call the 10-10-10 rule: Take 10 slow breaths, count to 10 slowly, and wait 10 minutes. Then you'll be able to frame your question in a way that gets results and answers quickly and calmly.
5. Collect your questions and focus on the person you're talking to as they answer. As you puruse the website and read the instructions, make a list of your questions. Don't interrupt the person in the middle of a sentence with a follow up question before they finish answering the last question, or be one of those people that says "oh! One last question!" ten times. Because in those situations you usually wind out asking the same thing 3 times because you were so busy formulating new questions that you didn't hear the answer to the one you were asking.
6. Limit the hypothetical questions. If you say "what if I ..." or "suppose I were to ..." more than twice, then we suspect that you're looking for ways to duck the red tape (and we will look for ways to trap you into admitting it). Be straightforward and give us the facts, please.
7. Rephrasing the question 7 ways won't change the answer. And "call shopping" (where you realize it's a rotating line and keep calling to work your way through the staff to get the answer you want) is a trick we pick up on around the third call. Everybody in that department has been trained the same way and they'll give you the same answer. No matter how many times you call or how many ways you try to rephrase it.
8. Be respectful. What I mean is that if the person says "I don't know but I can send you to somebody that does know," immediately cease and desist from asking any more questions until you're routed to the right person. Because your "wait a minute, let me ask you this while I have you ..." questions will lead to more "I don't knows" and a delay in getting the information you need while you bark up the wrong tree. Nobody knows everything and despite the current push to "cross train," there are people that know some things better than others. They're trying to help you by sending you to the most knowledgeable person to answer your question. Let them do it.
9. Be patient. Not every question has an immediate answer and they may have to research what you're asking about. So don't wait until the last minute. Plan ahead.
10. Don't lie. I know this sounds silly, but people do call and outright lie about things, only to be embarassed when we use that annoying database at the computer we're sitting behind and catch them in it. That can lead to serious trouble in some situations, so please, no matter how embarassing or hurtful it is to your pride, just tell the truth. We will act with discresion and will do our best to help you - but don't say you mailed the check and it cleared last week when it's lying on the table in front of you. Because they'll look it up, see it didn't arrive, and the next question will be for you to send them a copy of the cancelled check to prove it. Awkward!
A lot of getting good customer service is to use discernment and good, old fashioned common sense in dealing with companies. Be courteous, professional, respectful and plan appropriately and you'll get the fastest and best customer service available. And really, these are good rules to apply to all of your relationships.
That's all for today.
Hi everybody, I hope you're doing well. My name is Chloe, and I'm Sherri's female sun conure. Sherri (I call her mommy bird) is a bit tired tonight. She got over her cold to discover that the house was dirty, so she spent a few nights cleaning it. Then today she took off work to go to the Holiday Craftsman's Classic with her Mom. They do that every year. She came back this afternoon loaded down with bags and said she started some Christmas shopping. Snazzy stuff, too. Very unique, which is right up her ally. Anyway, she's a bit worn out, so I said I'd help by pecking out a blog entry for her tonight. Halloween was uneventful. Zack was happy. He said that when they lived in a neighborhood the children would come to the door and expect mommy and daddy to give them candy - for free! It really ticked him off. He's content to cackle at horror movies with daddy now on Halloween. I find the entire holiday completely silly. Goblins and ghouls and ghosts and bogeymen - completely ridiculous.
Daddy accepted an offer to help design a website for someone this week, and the gentleman is supposed to come by tomorrow to see some preliminary work and give daddy some better ideas of how to design it. Daddy did such a good job with the church website at www.mttaborlutheran.org and he's excited about this new opportunity. Mommy is happy about it too. Daddy likes designing websites and she said she's very glad he's developing this.
What a windy day it was today! And it seemed to get worse as the day went on! I was definitely glad I got adopted by a family that lets me live in the house with them. Life in an aviary is ok as long as the weather is nice. But weather, wind and rain - terrible for the feathers. Mine have gotten so much softer since they adopted me. I'm softer than cotton now! And I don't have to fight to get to the food dish any more either - I have my own food bowl! I love it. I love my toys. I love mommy, daddy, Zack and Ollie. I love my life. It's a happy life. Sometimes I'm so happy that I dance. But I'm a bit sleepy now and tired of typing, so I'm going to go now. If you want to know a bit more about me, Zack and Ollie, please feel free to check out our website at http://conurecorner.weebly.com .
Mommy said to tell you Happy Friday. I hope you have a good weekend as well.
Hi folks; I hope you're doing well and having a great week. It's been busy!
On top of trying to catch up with the work I didn't get done last weekend,
the galley came back for Blurry, so I have to go through that to check for typos
and formatting errors. Dull, dry work, but necessary. But Blurry is in book
format now, and will be released soon. I'm excited!
So yes, I'm still alive and no, I'm not missing. I haven't been
abducted by aliens. I haven't been held hostage by angry parrots (although that
could happen if I run out of peanuts!). I haven't fallen off the edge of the
earth. Just working, and cleaning house, and updating the website, and now
reviewing my book one last time before publication.
I hope you're doing well. God willing, I'll return to the land of the living
Happy Friday to you tomorrow and I hope you have a great start to the
Hi all; I hope you're doing well and having a great weekend. It's been full
of the unexpected for me. My old Toshiba laptop bit the dust yesterday. Funny
thing is, I've been expecting this to happen all summer. I'm not sure why -
maybe because it's been running like crap - but I've suspected it was on it's
last days for a while now. People thought I was being paranoid, or just spoiled
and wanting a new laptop, but yesterday my fears proved true. We went to Best
Buy to get a new hard drive, but found a great deal on a Dell, so we got that
instead. We got the display model so they had to keep it until today to clean it
up and make sure it was alright for personal use. Today has been spent setting
I'm glad to have a new laptop, but the problem is that I had grand plans to
work on my writing this weekend. Well, the only thing I managed to squeeze out
was the website update I planned, as you can sere. Everything else - no. So I'm woefully behind.
Oh well. I hope you enjoy the redesign, and I hope to have a few more extras added later in the week, God willing.
So that's been my weekend. I hope you're doing well and that the new week
starts off well for you. Take care.
Finally, some success with short stories! My flash fiction piece titled "One Day" is the featured paragraph at Paragraph Planet today. You can read it today at http://www.paragraphplanet.com/index.htm
. After today, you can go to http://www.paragraphplanet.com/archive.htm
and look up the feature paragraph for June 27, 2011.
I know it's just a 75 word story, but after a four year dry spell anything is welcome!
Welcome to my world! I call this blog "Into the Rabbit Hole" because very often, my life is just that - falling into a hole that gets curiousier and curiousier! As you probably guessed, I have always liked "Alice in Wonderland" too. Some days I get up and swear I find myself at the Mad Hatter's tea party by lunch!
Such is the nature of my life. Crazy, but fun. It's definitely not as simple or easy as so many people believe. In fact, sometimes it's downright insanity!
I've started this blog for two reasons: To show you how my everyday life inspires my writing, and as a companion to the "Welcome to My World!" forum, where I hope to establish an online community that offers support to people that live with, work with, or have a close relationship with somebody suffering from mental illness. I imagine that would emcompass all of us. I also welcome others to dive in and give us their perspective. I'd love to hear not only from family members and friends, but caregivers, colleagues, and even those that are suffering from anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, or terminal illness. This community is here for you and those that love you so please - tell us what you want/need!
Don't worry! It won't be all doom and gloom. In fact, I think you'll find quite a few laughs here. A lot of people seem to find me and my life amusing. I don't know why. Perhaps after a few entries, you can tell me!
Thanks for visiting my website, and for your interest in me and my work! I pray this will be a community that is supportative and a safe haven to escape from the stress and strain of the everyday world.
Welcome to The Rabbit Hole!