When I answer calls at work, the required greeting includes my name. At least half of the people who repeat my name get it wrong. Most commonly I am called Lisa, although Rita is becoming an often name as well. I laugh every time!
The other day I talked to a customer for an hour on the phone. An average phone call should take about three to four minutes, so an hour is painful. While the customer was arguing the terms of an agreement I had time to think over some better customer service tips for everyone.
Getting Through the Automated System.
Automated phone systems are setup for customers who only need general account information. They actually save lots of time and money for the company as well as customers who are calling. Each system is a little different, but all can connect to to a representative one way or another. Repeatedly enter selections that are not options (such as the pound sign). Press 0. Say you don't know your account number. Etc, etc.
Know the operating hours of the location you are calling. Account for time zone differences. If nobody is in the office to take a call, then nobody is in the office to take a call. The automated system won't send you to anyone, it may even just hang up if you enter invalid options.
Some complaints honestly don't make a difference. Painful but true, so choose your battles.
It is generally no fault of the representative if they can't help you. You have rules at your job, and they have rules at theirs. Also keep in mind that there may be laws and regulations set for the representative to abide by.
Listen and Repeat:
Don't interrupt, and listen carefully. Repeat what you were told (even in your own words) to be sure you understand.
Have any important information ready. Bills, receipts, checkbook, etc.
Ask for exactly what you want. Ask to have that fee removed (try asking for a one-time fee removal). Ask to speak with a supervisor. Ask, ask and ask.
Let the representative know if they did a good job. If you have time and you appreciate their help, ask for a supervisor to give positive feedback. Why not make their day? On the flip side, you can also offer negative feedback if the representative is truly offensive. Companies need to know which employees are worth having around.