Beating corporate America at its own game
For almost a month now, I've been having some problems with the usually-reliable Amazon.com. I love Amazon. I always have. When I was in school, they had my textbooks available for less than anyone else, and I've been loyal ever since. That's why I decided to buy my living room lamps there, even though they were available other places on the web.
To make a long story short (because griping isn't my point here), I ordered 3 lamps, 2 of which came broken. I tried to return them, and that's when the trouble started. For some reason, UPS wouldn't actually show up to pick up the boxes. They sat outside my door for days. I talked with at least 10 customer service agents over two weeks. I was connected to people who barely spoke English, got into an endless loop with an agent who insisted that they could not refund my money until I returned the lamps, which I insisted I was trying to do. I got connected to Target (apparently the origin of the lamps in the first place). I went through supervisor after supervisor. I got hung up on. I got banned from using their automated phone system for potential abuse (when it kept hanging up on me). Still no UPS.
Finally, I was desperate to not be stuck with two broken lamps. I was at the end of my rope. So I did what any child of my generation does when there's a problem (and apparently what I should have done at the beginning): I searched the web. Lo and behold, that bane of corporate America, the Consumerist, had what i needed. An Executive Customer Service email address for Amazon. Still holding on to some doubt, I wrote a calm-yet-steamed letter to them and sat back to see what would happen.
For almost 36 hours, nothing. I waited. And then? Then?!? An email. Telling me UPS was coming. Apologizing (ye gods!) for the trouble I'd been through. But I still wasn't convinced. I set my boxes outside my door yesterday morning with some trepidation. And when I got home? They were gone. Well...one of them was. There was a mixup about how many I had, though they've already resolved that. And thus, my faith in Amazonia was restored
If you, too, are facing some troubles with a company, and you, too, can access an Executive Customer Service number, here are some tips so that you, too, can get what is yours.
1. Be Gentle
Yes, you're pissed. And you have a right to be. But speak gently. Certainly, tell them what has happened. Document it, if that's relevant. But you're more likely to get a positive response if you treat the customer service agents like human beings and not trash.
2. Be Complete
If possible, list the names of people you've been in touch with, or at least the dates you called. Try to remember as many details as possible from the conversation. Don't leave anything out, when it comes to details. The more you can put in, the better they will be able to figure out what happened and what went wrong.
3. Be Patient
Usually, if it's gotten to this point of escalation, there has been some mixup. Maybe more than one. A good customer service agent will tread through all of these before he hands you a solution to ensure that his solution isn't something that's been tried before and hasn't worked. But that treading takes time.
4. Be Persistent
If you haven't heard in a week, call or email again. If the situation still doesn't seem to be resolved, push harder. Unless your sense of self outweighs anything else, there will be a point where you wonder if you're totally off in what you think you deserve, if you should just suck it up and pay the fees or keep the broken lamps. Even then, keep at it. It's not usually hard to figure out what's right in these situations, but sometimes sticking with it is the only way to see it though.
5. Don't be an abuser.
Contact regular customer service first. Give them a fair chance and then some. Don't abuse the Executive Customer Service access numbers. They're for problems that haven't been solved another way, or for when people have been particularly rude. If we all use it for every little thing, these numbers will disappear.
I hope you all get what you deserve!
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