Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Having Your Voice Heard Beyond the Customer Service Representative

Posted by Matt Schmidt | Jan 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

We've all been there: you call ABC Corporation to report a complaint you have with a product or service, are put on hold for half the day, get transferred from department to department and explain your issue ten times to ten different people. No one seems to know what you are talking about or has any ability to help, transferring you to another customer sales rep because, frankly, they don't really care. You attempt to locate a physical address to write a more formal letter to the higher ups, but the website does not list one. At the end of this rigorous process, you feel as though you are right back where you have started.

In a lot of ways, customer service in the modern age has never been worse. There are some ways, however, you can get your complaint past those who could care less and show the company 1) you are serious about the problem you are having and 2) you know what you are doing if they decide to ignore it.

First, when you are having initial conversations with employees over the phone, make sure the call is being recorded. Ask the employee for his or her name. If there is something really important about your issue, specifically tell them to write it down in the file. If the employee gives you a complaint or claim number, write it down. If you get a survey in the email regarding your customer service experience, fill it out and don't be shy about being brutally honest. This builds a record that more powerful reps will be able to review when they are going over your claim.

If the issue concerns something serious, potentially fraudulent or illegal, tell the company that if the issue is not rectified  you will report the company to the Better Business Bureau (depending on how serious it is, you may want to do this whether the company rectifies the issue or not). Complaints can be filed here. If the issue is a product safety concern, you can also file a report with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. That can be done here. Depending on the product or service, there may be many other commissions, licensing boards or agencies that a company would rather not be reported to. Make sure the employee is writing that part of your complaint down as well.

If you are not getting anywhere over the phone, it might be time to write a formal letter to the company. The address, however, is not always easy to find, and a lot of addresses listed on a website lead to more people who just don't care. Doing an entity search through the Arizona Corporation Commission will often lead you to people who do care, including addresses for local agents, foreign departments and corporate headquarters. This shows not only that you know how to get to the people that matter, but also makes them aware that you now know the agent and address where the company must accept service of a lawsuit, if it comes to that.

In the letter, lay out the issue you are having, including a detailed account of the history and experience you've had with customer service. If the product or service involves a contract, demand that the company not only provide it for your review, but to cite where in the contract they have the right to do what they are doing. If you have the contract, show them where they have breached it. Give them a deadline to resolve the issue and a consequence for failing to do so.

Obviously, how far you take a claim may depend on what is at stake and is for each individual to determine on their own. After all of this, you still may get nowhere. If it is substantial enough, you still might end up wanting to consult a lawyer.  Hopefully, however, this information will get you a little further than you have in the past.

About the Author

Matt Schmidt

Matt graduated from the James E Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in passing the Arizona bar exam in 2010. Matt's primary interest in law focuses on general personal injury and insurance bad faith.


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