customer service http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/376/all en-US 5 Airlines With the Best Customer Service http://www.wisebread.com/5-airlines-with-the-best-customer-service <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-airlines-with-the-best-customer-service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/palm_trees_plane_81687745.jpg" alt="Learning which airlines have the best customer service" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Flying is not the customer-focused experience it was back in the 60s and 70s. In fact, talk about flying to many people today and a grimace will make its way onto their faces. Some say that a plane has become nothing more than a Greyhound bus with wings, and the airlines seem to charge for every little thing. From fees for both checked and carry-on bags, fees for online check-in, charges for movies and meals, and even paying to rent headsets, you get very little for your money these days.</p> <p>So, when AirlineQualityRating.com releases the findings of its annual customer service study, everyone who flies should take note. If you are going to be in the air, it may as well be with one of the top five airlines that excel at customer service. Here they are.</p> <h2>1. Virgin America</h2> <p>The airline owned by Sir Richard Branson continues to have an incredibly positive impact on those who fly the Virgin skies. It all starts when you enter the aircraft and are greeted by a sumptuous glow of purple in the main cabin (and when you get to Select and First Class, you're in a completely different world). Seats in the main cabin are soft black leather, and of course, there is the vast array of on-demand entertainment, Wi-Fi, personal outlets, and snacks including jerky sausage and veggie chips.</p> <p>However, where Virgin America really steps it up is the customer service, and the overall passenger experience. Virgin recently introduced &quot;Seat-to-Seat delivery + Chat,&quot; and it's the kind of innovation that Sir Branson is known to embrace. If you're on a flight and fancy striking up a conversation with someone, be it a friend, a co-worker, or a complete stranger, the on-board touch screen system lets you break the ice by sending a drink or a snack to another seat. You can also mingle in a chat room, or flirt with someone you saw as you were getting on board. Suddenly, the prospect of a long flight can be turned on its head, and you are now entering an experience similar to a bar or club that uses social media. What's more, the flight attendants are known to be some of the most friendly (and funny) flying today.</p> <p>It was recently reported that Alaska Airlines plans to purchase Virgin America for $2.6 billion. No doubt the continued excellence in customer service, and on board innovation, was a big part of that purchasing decision. Let's hope it doesn't negatively affect the Virgin America experience.</p> <h2>2. JetBlue</h2> <p>The JetBlue experience is certainly different from most carriers these days. Take a quick look at their &quot;Experience JetBlue&quot; page and the first thing you'll see is the word <em>free</em>.</p> <p>Yes. Free. And this is from a low-cost carrier.</p> <p>Once you're onboard a JetBlue flight, you are treated to <em>unlimited </em>free brand name snacks and drinks, including Cheez-Its, Craisins, Terra Blues, and an array of cold Coke and Seagrams beverages. Dunkin' Donuts provides the tea and coffee. JetBlue also boasts the most legroom in coach of any airlines, and you can boost that to an Even More Space seat if you feel like treating yourself.</p> <p>And then, of course, there's the customer service. It's award-winning, ensuring your travel is the very best. To this end, JetBlue introduced the Customer Bill of Rights, and it guarantees that you get the very best flight your money can buy &mdash; or, you get your money back.</p> <p>Want more? Well, if your flight is delayed by between 90 minutes and two hours, you'll get a $25 credit for future JetBlue travel. If that hits six hours or more, you get a $200 credit. If it's an onboard ground delay, you'll get the same $200 after five hours.</p> <p>What does this mean? Well, if you're JetBlue, you have quite the financial incentive to keep the planes running on time. It's yet another reason JetBlue is nipping at the heels of Virgin America, and may well take the number one spot next year.</p> <h2>3. Delta</h2> <p>While not quite matching the performance of the top two on the list, Delta comes in at an impressive third place, beating out two airlines that are renowned for customer care. Perhaps part of that was Delta's on-time percentage for 2015, which was a remarkable 85.9%, with only two bags per 1,000 passengers mishandled.</p> <p>Delta does free snacks, including Biscoff cookies Starbucks coffee, and the usual array of beverages (although as is usual these days, you have to purchase larger snacks and alcoholic drinks).</p> <p>If you choose Delta to fly international, you'll get uninterrupted sleep courtesy of a sleep kit featuring eyeshades and earplugs (also handy for those screaming kids that can really put a dent in your good humor).</p> <h2>4. Hawaiian</h2> <p>Last year Hawaiian were in the number two spot, so they have dropped a few places. But don't let this convince you that their customer service has dropped, or that they are not making the effort. Rather, other airlines have upped their game based on some of the stories that have been told about Hawaiian.</p> <p>For a start, Hawaiian flights are more likely to be on time than any other airlines. In 2015, 88.4% of the flights operated by Hawaiian were on time and ready to go, which is a huge achievement.</p> <p>Hawaiian recently took a leaf out of Priceline.com's &quot;What's it worth to you?&quot; strategy, and introduced the Bud Up system. Basically, you book regular tickets and then enter a bid to upgrade those seats to First Class. If the bid is accepted (presumable based on availability, popularity, and route), you will get your seats bumped to First Class at the price you dictated. Could this be as little as $1 each? Doubtful&hellip;but who knows!</p> <p>Of course, being Hawaiian, the airline prides itself on the more laid-back customer service approach you would expect from the island paradise it is named after. Big smiles, great food, and if you like, you can purchase a Lei Greeting and have a garland of fresh flowers draped over you on your arrival at your destination.</p> <h2>5. Alaska</h2> <p>As mentioned in the top spot, Alaska recently put in a huge bid for Virgin America, so perhaps next year they will take the number one slot. For now, Alaska is sitting pretty in fifth place, and this is largely due to the low number of complaints it received in 2015; just 0.5 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. Or, five complaints for every one million passengers.</p> <p>When you consider how much people hate flying today, finding only five people in a million who had something negative to say about their trip is mind-boggling. So, what is Alaska doing right?</p> <p>According to J.D. Power, a lot. They have awarded Alaska &quot;Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America&quot; nine years running.</p> <p>Alaska's Customer Service Commitment plays a big part in this rating. It includes a promise of the lowest available fare, flexibility in the first 24 hours of booking, special treatment during extended delays, a guarantee of a clean and comfortable aircraft, and seamless partnerships with partners including Delta and Peninsula.</p> <p>And if you're wondering, the next five airlines for 2016 are&hellip;</p> <ol start="6"> <li>Southwest</li> <li>SkyWest</li> <li>United</li> <li>ExpressJet</li> <li>American</li> </ol> <p><em>What's your favorite airline?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-airlines-with-the-best-customer-service">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what">The Airline Lost Your Luggage. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-do-airline-companion-tickets-work-and-where-do-you-get-them">How Do Airline Companion Tickets Work and Where Do You Get Them?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-airline-perks-from-yesteryear-that-seem-unbelievable-today">10 Airline Perks From Yesteryear That Seem Unbelievable Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airlines alaska airlines customer service Delta flying hawaiian airlines JetBlue vacation virgin america Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:30:42 +0000 Paul Michael 1753207 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_work_from_home_000092732035.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways social media saves her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While using popular social media platforms is a fun way to stay connected with family and friends, perhaps the most useful benefit is tapping into a new way to save money. Whether it be through negotiating a lower monthly bill, scoring a coupon, or finding the best local deals, with just a little bit of effort you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money" target="_blank">use social media</a> to save hundreds of dollars every year. Here are some easy to implement tips to get you started in the right direction.</p> <h2>1. Learn to Negotiate a Lower Bill Via Twitter</h2> <p>Most large companies these days have employees who do nothing but monitor their social media feeds and respond directly to customer inquiries and complaints. Because of this, when it comes to negotiating a lower monthly bill, Twitter has become an excellent way to start the conversation. For example, I was recently able to do this with the folks at Verizon by accident when I responded to a friend's Tweet discussing cheaper cell phone services. Within minutes of my Twitter response, I had a Verizon representative send me a message via Twitter asking if they could help lower my bill. With their proactive help, I was able to lower my bill by $10 a month.</p> <p>This experience led me to investigate other companies that respond quickly via Twitter, and sure enough I found many that did &mdash; namely Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&amp;T, and Sprint. Simply send a direct Tweet to the company, or respond to someone else talking about the company, and drop the hint that you're seriously considering leaving the company for a cheaper alternative. In many cases, you'll quickly get a response with actionable ways to lower your bill. Could be a phone number to call, or even better, the company representative will personally help you lower your bill.</p> <h2>2. Use Facebook Messenger to Ask for a Coupon</h2> <p>Facebook Messenger has also become a great tool to score a deal or coupon. Simply visit the retailer's Facebook page, click on the &quot;Message&quot; button, and send them a polite message asking if they have a coupon code for free shipping or perhaps 15% or 20% off your purchase. Most big-name retailers have staffers standing by to respond to your message, often within minutes. The best part is they are armed with exclusive coupons and are ready to hand them out. After all, they know you're very close to completing your purchase and will often throw you a bone to do just that. So when you can't find a coupon in the more traditional ways, be sure to use Facebook Messenger to avoid paying full price.</p> <p>Also, if the retailer does not have a current coupon to hand out, I've had some let me know via Messenger when a new coupon was going to be released. I'd then wait and make my purchase with the money saving coupon in-hand.</p> <h2>3. Instagram Descriptions Often Have Coupons</h2> <p>Using Instagram to save money with coupons is not something that immediately comes to mind for most shoppers. But the fact of the matter is many retailers and restaurants are starting to use their Instagram profile pages to drop new coupons and deals. For example, I just recently used a coupon on the Dunkin' Donuts profile page to get a free cup of coffee with my doughnut purchase. The key to making this work is to follow your favorite shops and restaurants and get in the habit of checking their Instagram page before you complete your purchase.</p> <h2>4. Search Pinterest Boards for Deals</h2> <p>When it comes to saving money, Pinterest is a great tool but requires a different approach. Because Pinterest is a very static platform, searching for deals/coupons with hashtags is going to leave you frustrated with the lack of results. Instead, you'll want to search &quot;boards&quot; for deals and coupons to particular retailers that users have pinned. Boards are essentially a collection of saved pins and are often kept up-to-date by users. To make this happen, you'll type in your search in the search box, hit the filters button to include boards in your search, then hit enter. By doing it this way, you'll typically get the newest pins which includes a majority of coupons and deals that have yet to expire.</p> <h2>5. Become a Hashtag Superhero</h2> <p>By becoming proficient at using the underrated Twitter hashtag (#), you can quickly find where the best deals are located for specific items. For example, let's say you're in the market for a new mountain bike. A fantastic way to search the entire Internet for a great deal is go on Twitter and search #MountainBike #Deal (or #Sale), or #MountainBike #Coupon. Often Twitter users will combine hashtags when searching, like #MountainBikeCoupon and get frustrated with the results. But if you make it a habit of breaking-up the hashtags, you'll end up with a large list of discounts and coupons that you can use to quickly find the best deals.</p> <p>Also, a great way to localize your search, especially for larger items that are expensive to ship, is to add your hometown to your search query. So sticking with the mountain bike example, do a Twitter search like this: #Sacramento #MountainBike #Sale. You'll end up with search results that can easily lead you to the best current deals and sales in your area.</p> <h2>6. Use Live Chat the Right Way</h2> <p>Most online shoppers are familiar with the live chat feature that many websites operate. Have a question about the product, or want to know more about sizing? The live chat operator typically has the answers. But have you ever started a live chat session for the sole purpose of saving money? If not, you should try it as it often works. I like to start the chat sessions with a question about the product as I don't want it to seem like a gratuitous discount hunter.</p> <p>Once I chat them up a little bit, I'll politely ask if they have a coupon code I can use on my order. Maybe shipping is a little costly, or perhaps a competitor has a slightly cheaper price &mdash; both solid reasons to ask for a coupon. In many cases, the operator has a few coupon codes they can hand out at their discretion. So the bottom line is to be polite, have a real conversation, and you stand a great chance of getting a coupon code you can use to save money.</p> <p><em>How do you use social media to save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-last-minute-coupon">6 Ways to Score a Last-Minute Coupon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology coupons customer service deals discounts Facebook hashtags instagram social media twitter Tue, 17 May 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Kyle James 1708162 at http://www.wisebread.com The Airline Lost Your Luggage. Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_lost_luggage_000021488707.jpg" alt="Airline lost this man&#039;s luggage and doesn&#039;t know what to do" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The absolute worst thing that can happen to you when you arrive at the airport after a long trip is waiting at the luggage carousel and watching it stop as you stand there empty-handed. The airline has lost your bags and you're stranded in a foreign country with no toothbrush, no shampoo, and no clothing. I had the misfortune of living through this catastrophe on a recent trip, and it's not fun.</p> <p>Here's what you can do if it happens to you.</p> <h2>Report Your Loss Right Away</h2> <p>In every airport, there will be a luggage lost and found counter. They are usually located right next the baggage carousels and are typically well-marked. As soon as you realize that you made it to your destination but your luggage did not, head to the lost and found area to make a claim.</p> <p>Make sure you bring your baggage ticket as they will need to enter it in the system. They will usually go on the radio and contact the luggage handling staff at the airport to see if your bags were accidentally left somewhere.</p> <p>If you're lucky, your bag is sitting on the tarmac or in the transit area and you'll get it back within an hour or so. If not, you'll have to file a lost luggage claim. The staff will give you a form to fill out with your name, home address, hotel address, passport number, phone number, luggage description, and baggage tag number as well as a brief description of what was in your bag.</p> <p>They will then photocopy your luggage tag, your passport, and the information you gave them and hand you a piece of paper with a reference number.</p> <p>At this time you can leave the airport and head to your hotel. The airline will search for your bag and call or text you when it is found. When they find your bag, they should send it to your hotel or wherever you are staying at the time. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-dont-have-your-id-at-the-airport?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You Don't Have Your ID at the Airport</a>)</p> <h2>Check the Status</h2> <p>If, after 24 hours or more, you still haven't heard from the airline, go online to the airline's website and click on the &quot;Lost Luggage&quot; section. Enter your reference number and last name and check the status of your claim.</p> <h2>Follow Up</h2> <p>Most airlines will update your status as soon as they find your luggage, but sometimes they can be slow and unreliable. Some people have had to go without their bags for months, while others never saw their precious luggage again.</p> <p>Go on the airline's website and look for a customer service number. Call them and navigate the automated telephone menu until you get to a luggage lost and found representative. Give them your reference number and tell them your situation. Ask them to do everything they can to find your bag and also tell them how long you'll be at the hotel. Make your situation sound as dire as possible to try to encourage them to actively search for your bag.</p> <h2>Keep the Claim Updated</h2> <p>Make sure that all of the information that you gave is correct and remains valid. If you check out of your hotel and move to a new one, call or go online and change the information on the claim so that the airline can properly contact you when your bag is found. Even if you move to another city or country, they should courier your bag to you as soon as possible.</p> <h2>Go Shopping</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights">US Department of Transportation</a> has laws in place that help to hold the airline responsible for your lost luggage and the contents of your bag. While the airline is technically required to reimburse you for any losses, the individual airline regulations vary greatly.</p> <p>You can, however, be certain that you will be covered for your essentials. Contact the airline and ask them how much essential spending you will be covered for. Then go out and buy yourself some new underwear, shampoo, deodorant, and clothing. Keep all the receipts for these purchases because you will be asked to submit them later.</p> <p>Sometimes the &quot;Maximum Claim Amount&quot; can be found on the back of your luggage ticket. This is the amount that you can spend on essentials and emergencies. For permanently lost luggage, there are different amounts you can be reimbursed.</p> <h2>Negotiate</h2> <p>No airline is going to willingly offer you the full reimbursement for your troubles or for the value of your lost items. You will have to negotiate, complain, and protest. Make sure you talk to a supervisor when making your claims and if you had anything of sentimental value in the bag, make sure you tell them. Also request that they refund you your checked baggage fee. The airline shouldn't be paid $25 for losing your luggage!</p> <p>You can also ask to be reimbursed in other ways. You may be able to complain your way into a free flight or at least an upgrade into first class on your next scheduled flight with the airline.</p> <h2>Use Social Media</h2> <p>Some airlines don't make the claim process very easy. In this situation, you can take to social media and try a good old fashioned smear campaign. Mention the airline and explain your situation on any social media accounts you have and be sure to @ them so that they will see the posts.</p> <p>No company wants to have the story of your lost luggage go viral on social media. You may be able to speed up the claim process or land yourself some free flights by posting about your situation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.</p> <h2>When to Give Up</h2> <p>According to the DOT's latest <a href="http://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/2015JuneATCR.pdf">Air Travel Consumer Report</a>, 2.9 in 10,000 passengers experience delayed, damaged, or lost baggage. They estimate less than 2% of those passengers actually end up with their luggage permanently lost. If you are one of those unlucky people, it's time to make a lost luggage claim.</p> <p>Claims for reimbursement will have to be backed up by receipts and proof of payment. When you go out shopping for emergency clothing and essentials, make sure to keep all of your receipts and when you claim the items that were permanently lost in your bag, try to find as many receipts as you can to back up your claims of what was in the luggage.</p> <p>Before 2009 when DOT tightened restrictions on lost luggage claims, you would have had to kiss your luggage goodbye and never be reimbursed more than the cost of your essential emergency spending. Nowadays, the airlines are held responsible for &quot;all reasonable, actual, and verifiable expenses related to baggage loss, damage, or delay.&quot;</p> <p>Technically, the per passenger maximum for domestic flights in the U.S. is around $3,400, but getting that amount would be like winning the lost luggage lottery. You're more likely to be refunded a small portion of what you lost. For international flights, you may only be reimbursed around $1,600. It is unlikely that you'll ever receive these full amounts unless you can prove that your bag was indeed carrying more than that value.</p> <p>Even if you can prove that you were carrying $3,400 worth of stuff in your lost baggage, the airline will only pay you a fraction of that amount. They are only required to pay the &quot;depreciated value&quot; of your items, so expect to take a major loss.</p> <h2>Contact Your Insurance and Credit Card Provider</h2> <p>Some travel insurance policies will cover you for lost baggage. This can help to top up the amount the airline agrees to pay. Contact your travel insurance provider and ask about their lost luggage policy. If you paid for the flight with your credit card, contact the card issuer and ask about baggage insurance. Many credit cards will help to cover you for your losses.</p> <h2>Get Your Bag Back</h2> <p>Hopefully you didn't have to go through every step in this article and somewhere in this process you were contacted by the airline and informed that they found your bag. If this is the case, you can either return to the airport to pick up the luggage yourself, or have it delivered to the address that you entered on your claim. Some airlines will try to make your pay for the delivery (believe it or not). If this is the case, negotiate and try your best to have them cover the cost. When your bags are safe and sound back home, it might be wise to invest in a <a href="http://amzn.to/1VOGZjc">GPS luggage tracker</a> in the event this should ever happen again.</p> <p><em>Has the airline ever lost your luggage? Did you get it back?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Airline%20Lost%20Your%20Luggage.%20Now%20What-.jpg" width="250" height="374" align="middle" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-airlines-with-the-best-customer-service">5 Airlines With the Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-airline-perks-from-yesteryear-that-seem-unbelievable-today">10 Airline Perks From Yesteryear That Seem Unbelievable Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-travel-hacks-that-will-save-time-money-and-your-sanity">23 Travel Hacks That Will Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-ways-a-credit-card-can-save-you-money-on-travel">8 Unexpected Ways a Credit Card Can Save You Money on Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-airline-travel-sucks-and-what-you-can-do-to-make-it-better">5 Ways Airline Travel Sucks — and What You Can Do to Make It Better</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airlines airports baggage customer service depreciation filing claims lost luggage Wed, 04 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Nick Wharton 1699846 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways You're Being a Terrible Customer http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000030046612_Large.jpg" alt="he&#039;s being a terrible customer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know the old saying &mdash; the customer is always right. Except, that's totally wrong. The customer is <em>not </em>always right. And if you firmly believe that you, as the customer, are always right &mdash; no matter the circumstances &mdash; then you're probably a terrible customer. Here are nine scenarios in which you're a customer service rep's worst nightmare, and how to be better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-be-the-perfect-customer?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Be the Perfect Customer</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Think the Customer Is Always Right</h2> <p>Let's begin where all customer relations issues are born: with the customer thinking they're always right. We've all heard someone in a retail shop drop this line during a heated discussion with an associate, and we might have even said it ourselves at some point. While I contend that the customer is sometimes right, &quot;always&quot; is a misnomer, and we rely on it too heavily &mdash; even when we know we're wrong.</p> <p>The problem with that mentality is that it inherently implies you're owed something, and in most cases you're not. Especially if you're ranting and raving like a lunatic. Instead, consider the circumstance thoughtfully and think about how it can be resolved without pointing fingers or making demands. I think you'll find that most of the time &quot;blame&quot; doesn't have to be assigned, so long as the situation can find a peaceful and amicable resolution.</p> <h2>2. You're Making Frequent Returns</h2> <p>Not only is making frequent returns ethically, morally, and sometimes legally wrong, it's also incredibly annoying. Sure, every once in awhile you might need to return an item because it's ill-fitting or maybe damaged, but if you're in the same store over and over again to get your money back for purchases that you decide you don't want anymore &mdash; for whatever reason, like you already wore it and you don't have any use for it again, or you couldn't afford it in the first place &mdash; you deserve to get the side-eye. It also affects the retailer's bottom line, which can hit smaller businesses particularly hard.</p> <p>AJ Saleem, a business owner for five years, says frequent returns are one of his biggest peeves.</p> <p>&quot;While I may not say anything, when I receive several notifications of returns from the same person, I often get frustrated,&quot; he says. &quot;Each return costs me a large portion of my profit margin, and when I do not receive any money in return, I have no choice but to write it as a loss. This forces me to raise prices.&quot;</p> <h2>3. You Try to Blame Everything on the Retailer</h2> <p>If a retailer sells you a faulty product and refuses to replace it or refund your money, you have grounds to pursue the issue until you're satisfied with your purchase, or you get your money back. On the other hand, however, there are dozens of other variables that go into your purchase that you need to consider before you start jumping down people's throats, some of which may be your own fault.</p> <p>Devorah Neiger is an owner of an online medical supply retailer, and she has some experience with customers who point fingers without considering their own part in the transaction.</p> <p>&quot;We have countless customers who order the wrong item, don't contact us for a return for months or who don't need the item anymore, and concoct a story about how it's our error to get out of paying for it,&quot; she explains. &quot;This even happens with customers who order directly from our site and never spoke to a rep. Customers should take ownership of their mistakes.&quot;</p> <p>You can't expect the retailer to eat the cost of your laziness, or error in ordering, or lack of need for the item. You also have to recognize that there are return policies in place, and if you file a complaint or try to return an item outside of that window, you might be SOL.</p> <h2>4. You're Flat-Out Lying to Get What You Want &mdash; Like a Refund</h2> <p>I can almost guarantee you that the highest instances of customers lying to get what they want &mdash; especially a refund &mdash; derive from issues with tech products, like mobile phones and the like. You dropped the phone in the toilet when you were two bottles of wine to the wind, you put it in a jar of rice for three days because the Internet told you to, and now you want a new device because your futile attempts to save it failed. Except when the associate asks you what happened, you tell them that it just spontaneously stopped working &mdash; they must have sold you a dud, right? And you deserve a new phone.</p> <p>Mmhmm, I've got your number, but hold it right there. Own whatever mistake you made that damaged or destroyed your product and purchase a new one if that's what it comes down to.</p> <h2>5. Your Standards Are Too High</h2> <p>For some customers, the retailer can't do enough to please them. That's a really poor outlook to have, and if this is how you roll, you're going to be disappointed, like, 90% of the time. You also want to consider that the people behind the counter are people too. Sure, they're working, but keep in mind that they're not specifically working for you. Nobody's a slave to anyone else, so don't treat anybody like they are.</p> <h2>6. You're Downright Rude</h2> <p>&quot;You get more bees with honey,&quot; is what they say, so why is your face screaming vinegar? Here's another one for you: Do unto others as you want them to do unto you, unless you want to be escorted out by security.</p> <p>&quot;We have customers who will call and be extremely rude and condescending to our reps, and we have told our employees that they do not need to put up with that behavior,&quot; Neiger says. &quot;In the same way we demand of ourselves and our team to treat everyone with utmost respect and understanding, no one deserves to be treated that way. Just because we service our customers, does not mean we will allow employees to take abuse. They matter, too, and we will not allow them to be a punching bag for someone's bad day.&quot;</p> <p>Also, you should probably get off your cell phone when you're interacting or speaking with an associate. Your mother taught you better than that.</p> <h2>7. You Look for Faults Instead of Promoting the Positive</h2> <p>I'm convinced that Yelp and other review sites were created specifically for the type of people who never have anything nice to say. While I believe that companies should be taken to task for doing a customer wrong, it's not the end of the world if they make a mistake that they fix. On the flip side, when an employee or the company itself goes out of their way to satisfy you as a customer, it's important to let people know that their customer service game is strong. I see this all the time with restaurants in particular. People want to complain when the food or ambiance missed the mark (in their opinion), but they don't have time to talk about how great something is.</p> <p>A fair and balanced approach to reviewing is necessary, with a focus on the positive.</p> <h2>8. You're Data Mining Associates &mdash; Then Spending Your Money Elsewhere</h2> <p>It's not fair to a retailer &mdash; no matter how &quot;giant&quot; you think they are &mdash; to data mine the associate for product intel or advice and then buy the item elsewhere. This sort of thing is happening more and more. You go into Best Buy and chat up the associate for 30 minutes about TVs, then go home to buy the one you want on Amazon. There's nothing wrong with doing your research, of course, just don't be lazy. Do it yourself instead of taking up the retailer's time by having them do it for you, without any kind of payoff.</p> <p>&quot;When customers go back and forth with us for hours and days to try and find the right product, and once we advise on the correct product, they promptly buy it elsewhere,&quot; Neiger reveals. &quot;Obviously, customers don't owe us to purchase from our store. However, many customers take up a lot of our time without ever having any intention to buy or who take the information to buy elsewhere. We are very competitively priced and have a price match guarantee, so it's not about price. We aim to help customers with our vast knowledge and personal customer service, but many customers take advantage of this.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some other ways people are terrible customers? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-be-the-perfect-customer">10 Ways to Be the Perfect Customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-the-best-customer">How to be the best customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ordering-online-versus-calling-it-in-which-is-better">Ordering Online Versus Calling it In: Which is Better?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping customer customer etiquette customer service etiquette service industry shopping etiquette Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:31:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1689970 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Score a Last-Minute Coupon http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-last-minute-coupon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-score-a-last-minute-coupon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shop_owner_000048396518.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to score a last-minute coupon" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As any frugal shopper can attest, there's nothing worse than paying full-price when all your attempts to find a coupon come up empty. Fortunately, with a little outside-the-box thinking, there is almost always a way to score an online or in-store coupon and save significant money in the process. Here are six such ways that'll keep you from paying full-price on darn near anything. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break?ref=seealso">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</a>)</p> <h2>1. Use Live Chat and Ask</h2> <p>If you're shopping online and all of your attempts to find a coupon code for a particular retailer fail, try starting a live chat session and ask for one. Most large retail websites these days employ live chat operators that are standing by to help you with your purchase or answer any questions you might have. They also often have a list of coupon codes at their disposal that they can hand out at their discretion.</p> <p>Politely start a conversation, chat them up a little bit, then ask if they might have a coupon code for 20% off or perhaps free shipping. Make this a healthy frugal habit and you can save significant money over the course of a year. Retailers where this really works includes Lands' End, Home Depot, Old Navy, Office Depot, Shutterfly, and LL Bean.</p> <h2>2. Use a Competitor's Coupon</h2> <p>If you're shopping at Michaels and you can't find a printable in-store coupon, just look for a JoAnn, AC Moore, or Hobby Lobby coupon instead as they'll happily accept competitor coupons. Other popular stores that will accept competitor coupons include Home Depot, Lowe's, Menards, JoAnn, Office Depot, Sports Authority, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Walmart.</p> <p>When shopping in-store, the best way to gain quick access to these coupons is to arm your smartphone with a free coupon app from RetailMeNot or CouponSherpa. Then simply do a quick search for competitor coupons and save some easy money.</p> <h2>3. Abandon Your Virtual Cart</h2> <p>This tip is by far the most passive aggressive way to score an online coupon when you seem destined to pay full-price. It also takes a little patience, so it might not work if you need the item tomorrow. Many online retailers will try to entice you back by sending you a coupon via email if you leave, or abandon, items in your virtual shopping cart.</p> <p>For this to work you need to have an account with the retailer so they have your email address in their system. Then simply add the item(s) you want to buy to your online cart, then logout and wait for your coupon. If you're going to get a coupon to come back and finish your purchase, you'll typically get it within 24 hours. Retailers that have been known to send out coupons this way include Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, JCPenney, Best Buy, Williams-Sonoma, Office Max, and Land of Nod.</p> <h2>4. The Stores That Hand Them Out</h2> <p>Are you aware that some store employees are armed with coupons that they'll happily scan for you when checking out at the register? For example, if you forget to bring in your &quot;20% off any 1 item&quot; coupon at Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, just politely explain the situation to the checkout employee, and more often than not, they'll pull one out from behind the counter and scan it for you.</p> <p>A good way to judge whether the store you're shopping at might have a coupon ready to hand out is the frequency of their coupon offerings. If they always seem to have a coupon except for the day you happen to be shopping, there's a great chance an employee can get you one if you ask. Besides Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, stores where you should definitely ask include Kohl's, Harbor Freight, Macy's, and Michaels.</p> <h2>5. Hit Up Facebook for a Coupon</h2> <p>Another great way to find a coupon for a specific retailer is to hit up their Facebook page. All you have to do is send them a message politely asking for a coupon for some extra savings. Most large retailers have employees monitoring their Facebook presence and responding quickly to message requests. By quickly, I mean often within 30 minutes. You can either search Facebook directly to find the stores page or look for the Facebook icon on the retailer's homepage and click directly on it.</p> <h2>6. Tweet for a Coupon</h2> <p>Twitter is another excellent way to communicate directly with a retailer in an attempt to score a coupon. This is due to the fact that most Twitter feeds are constantly being monitored and a quick response is almost guaranteed. From the specific retailer's Twitter page, click on &quot;Message&quot; and type your coupon request. Be sure your request is polite and conversational and not demanding in tone.</p> <p>Your chances of success rise substantially if you've had a previous bad customer service experience with the retailer. Briefly explain what happened in your Twitter message and often times the retailer will give you a coupon to make up for your bad experience.</p> <p><em>How do you avoid paying full-price when a discount seems completely unavailable?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-last-minute-coupon">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-spot-and-avoid-a-fake-sale">4 Ways to Spot and Avoid a Fake Sale</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping coupons customer service discounts expired Facebook live chat twitter Wed, 13 Apr 2016 09:30:30 +0000 Kyle James 1687437 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery_store_employee_000018778379.jpg" alt="Man discovering retailers with the best customer service" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The idea of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">spending more on quality items</a> that will stand the test of time is a very smart aspect of frugal living. After all, nobody likes replacement or repair costs that can easily be avoided. This idea carries over to retailers as well. Here are seven such retailers that offer such great customer service, that a possible higher upfront cost will easily pay for itself over the lifetime of the product.</p> <h2>1. Zappos</h2> <p>For years, the customer service team at Zappos.com has been leading the way in terms of putting the customer first. If you're not familiar with their website, they sell popular shoes, handbags, and apparel. While their prices may not always be the cheapest, their amazing customer service is what keeps shoppers coming back time and time again.</p> <p>Let's start with their 365-day return policy. If you order something from them, not only will you get free shipping, but you can return items for free for an entire year. Items must usually be in new condition, so feel free to order several sizes or colors, try them on at home, and mail back the ones you don't want at no charge. Also, if you have a problem with your shoes after you've worn them for a while, they've even been known to overnight a replacement pair and refund the entire cost to the customer as well.</p> <h2>2. Nordstrom</h2> <p>Similar to Zappos, Nordstrom also offers free shipping and returns on all orders via their website. The free returns aspect essentially makes shopping on their site risk-free as you can order whatever size and color you want and simply return the items you don't need at no cost to you. But what makes their return policy truly amazing is there's no time limit and returned items can typically be worn. When pressed on this issue, a Nordstrom live-chat operator told me, &quot;From time to time we cannot accommodate a return but we definitely do our best to take care of you and stand behind what we sell, so we completely understand.&quot; So it's safe to assume that as long as the item doesn't show excessive wear, they'll typically take it back with no questions asked.</p> <h2>3. Amazon</h2> <p>In recent years, Amazon has clearly stepped up their customer service game and created many loyal shoppers in the process. Whether it's their seven-day price protection policy on purchases fulfilled by Amazon directly, or a $5 credit to your Prime account if items don't get delivered in two business days, they always strive to put the customer first. Also, many Amazon shoppers aren't aware that they'll overnight a replacement item if yours gets delivered in non-working or damaged condition. In many cases, typically when the items has a value less than $30, they won't even ask you to send back the damaged item as they realize it's an inconvenience.</p> <h2>4. Apple Store</h2> <p>In the tech industry, Apple has taken customer service to a whole new level. What other company has a specific part of their retail location set up to do nothing but help customers with problems they might be having with their products? This is exactly what the Apple &quot;Genius Bar&quot; does and it has created millions of loyal users over the past 15 years.</p> <p>Whether it's with help operating a new device, or help troubleshooting a major problem with your Apple product, the Genius Bar is a great (and free) place to start. They also have the reputation of replacing products on the spot if they can't fix a problem, even if it's beyond the warranty period. Also, by having so many retail locations across the country, it's fairly easy to walk into one today and walk out with your problem solved.</p> <h2>5. Kroger Grocery</h2> <p>Kroger understands that there role in the community goes way beyond selling grocery items. This was best exemplified recently when&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-love-kroger-2015-3">after a devastating hurricane</a>, when they were the only grocery store to open their doors the following day, even while mopping standing water out of the aisles. It also doesn't hurt that they pay their employees $14 per hour, on average, well above the industry standard. With that hourly wage, they're able to find and retain employees who are willing to go the extra mile for their customers.</p> <h2>6. L.L. Bean</h2> <p>Do you own an old pair of L.L.Bean boots or clothing item? If you do, you're probably keenly aware of just how much effort they put into creating quality items that stand the test of time. So much effort that they actually stand behind their items with a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/guarantee.html">Lifetime Guarantee</a>. Amazingly, they don't even require a receipt to get a refund or store credit. This level of customer service stems from their founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, who once said that he didn't consider a sale complete &quot;until goods are worn out and the customer still satisfied.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Whole Foods</h2> <p>Whole Foods does a nice job of empowering their employees to make a customer's experience excellent. In the process, they create loyal customers for life. For example, a Forbes columnist recently&nbsp;<a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140317191929-8019905-whole-hearted-approach-to-customer-service-at-whole-foods">documented her experience</a> with a broken cash register at Whole Foods, and subsequent delay in checking out. Not only did the supervisor on shift apologize profusely for the delay, but ended up giving her $50 worth of groceries for free.</p> <p>While some would say that such a gift hurts the bottom-line, it can be argued instead that such a gift has a value way beyond the $50. She now hollers from the mountaintops about the amazing customer service she received &mdash; word-of-mouth advertising that is incredibly powerful and very difficult to put a price tag on. None of that would have happened if Whole Foods didn't empower their employees to exceed customer's expectations.</p> <p><em>Would you be willing to pay more upfront in exchange for strong customer service?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online">The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-sneaky-online-price-changes">6 Ways to Avoid Sneaky Online Price Changes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping Amazon clothes customer service groceries retail return policies Tue, 05 Apr 2016 09:30:32 +0000 Kyle James 1682550 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Signs It's Time to Find a New Bank http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_frowning_smartphone_000047173988.jpg" alt="Woman learning signs it&#039;s time to find a new bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one likes switching to a new bank. After all, it takes effort to close one account and create another. But if your bank is nickel-and-diming you with fees, or if it's closing so many locations that banking is becoming inconvenient, it might be time to make the switch.</p> <p>&quot;To me, it's all about convenience when it comes to switching banks,&quot; said Wade Barnes, senior vice president and director of retail banking with Baltimore-based 1st Mariner Bank. &quot;Maybe just 10 years ago, we'd be talking about how many brick-and-mortar locations a bank has near you. Now, it's more about online banking and having connectivity to your bank 24 hours a day. But you want your banking relationship to be an easy, convenient one. If it's not, then you might consider making a move.&quot;</p> <p>Here are five signs that it's time to find a new bank.</p> <h2>1. Maintenance Fees</h2> <p>Some banks will charge your checking account a monthly fee if you don't make a certain number of payments or withdrawals per month. That fee might only be $10. But if you don't use your checking account often, you could pay $100 or more each year in fees.</p> <p>The better choice? Find a bank that doesn't charge such a fee. You want your free checking account to be <em>really</em> free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">Banks Still Offering Free Checking</a>)</p> <h2>2. ATM Fees</h2> <p>Using an out-of-network ATM can add up, with the fees charged by these cash machines coming in at $2, $3, or more. You can avoid these fees by only withdrawing cash from ATMs affiliated with your bank. But if you do take out money from an out-of-network ATM, your bank should refund you this fee.</p> <p>Many banks reimburse customers for all the out-of-network ATM withdrawals they make, basically making all ATMs free. If your bank doesn't offer this service, it's time to make a move.</p> <h2>3. Paper Statement Fees</h2> <p>Most banks will provide your banking statements online. It's a great way to reduce paper. But maybe you're old-fashioned, and you want your bank to send you a paper statement each month. That's fine. Just make sure that your bank doesn't charge you for this service.</p> <p>Many banks, in an effort to persuade consumers to receive their statements online, are charging customers $1 or $2 every time they send them a paper statement. If you insist on a paper statement, there's no reason to pay this fee. Find a bank that doesn't charge you for this service.</p> <h2>4. Inconvenience</h2> <p>Maybe your bank was just bought up by another financial institution. That's usually fine, unless the new bank institutes changes that make being a customer there less convenient for you.</p> <p>Maybe your newly acquired bank is closing all the brick-and-mortar branches near you. That can be a hassle, even if you do most of your banking online. Maybe the bank is reconfiguring its ATMs, making it so you can only withdraw cash from them but can't make deposits into them. Or maybe your bank decides to reduce some of the services it offers online.</p> <p>Banking shouldn't be a hassle. If your bank is becoming one, you need to start looking for a replacement.</p> <h2>5. Bad Customer Service</h2> <p>What if you have questions about your mortgage loan, but your bank's home loan experts are never available to speak with you by phone? What if you call your bank and the phone just rings forever, with no one picking up? Maybe your bank doesn't hire enough tellers, and every time you need to see one, you have to wait in line 20 minutes?</p> <p>These are all examples of the bad customer service some banks provide. If you're not satisfied with the service your bank is providing you, you're ready to move on to a new financial institution.</p> <p><em>Have you switched banks recently? Tell us why in the comments section below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-find-a-new-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-savings-account-may-be-costing-you">8 Ways Your Savings Account May Be Costing You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-twice-before-ditching-your-current-bank">Think Twice Before Ditching Your Current Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-savings-faster-with-a-multiple-account-strategy">Build Savings Faster With a Multiple Account Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking atms customer service fees mobile banking savings accounts statements Wed, 02 Dec 2015 14:00:28 +0000 Dan Rafter 1617391 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Times You Should Demand a Refund http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_missed_flight_000066384249.jpg" alt="Man realizing the times he should demand a refund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you spend your hard-earned money on a product or service, you expect a certain level of quality &mdash; and when that quality falls short of expectations, it's not unreasonable to think you're entitled to a refund. But not every situation qualifies. So when should you stand your ground for your money back, and when should cut your losses? Take a look at these nine times you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much">demand a refund</a> &mdash; ever so politely, of course.</p> <h2>1. Departure Taxes on an Unused Flight</h2> <p>I once booked a European vacation around the holidays that was supposed to stop in London, Dublin, and Paris, but the last leg of the trip was cancelled due to &quot;weather conditions&quot; according to the evil discount airline that shall remain nameless. The airline offered to fly my friends and me to Rome as penance &mdash; which was a nice offer in theory, except we couldn't fly on the dates they suggested &mdash; so my flight was essentially a loss since the airline wasn't responsible for acts of God, which, in this case, was fog. I was young and dumb and just accepted the decision.</p> <p>Maybe that wouldn't have happened if I were friendly with Kyle Stewart, travel editor at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.upgrd.com">UPGRD</a>, at the time. He experienced a similar situation, but walked away a little less broke than I did.</p> <p>&quot;We had found a very cheap flight to and from London, but once we were abroad we had to make a change and book an alternative separate flight home,&quot; he says about his one-time travel plans. &quot;Our tickets were non-refundable, but it is unlawful for the carrier to keep revenue they collect for 'taxes' if you do not actually fly the route. The U.K. has a steep departure tax of nearly $250 each on flights leaving the United Kingdom. Because we did not fly those routes but had paid for the taxes, even on a non-refundable ticket we were able to get the departure tax refunded which nearly paid for our alternative transportation home.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Anything Unsanitary or Unsavory in Your Food</h2> <p>There are a lot of gross things I can deal with &mdash; my friends would love to tell you the story about the time I ate an ancient corn chip off the carpet in high school for a dollar &mdash; but as I've evolved out of being an idiot, hair or other yuck in my food isn't one of them. It's hard enough to eat out these days just thinking about the various &quot;things&quot; in my food that I can't see, so you better believe if there's visible, physical evidence of my gag reflex, I'd like my money back, please. And another, fresh meal. I'm willing to give it another go since I understand that accidents happen and I'm usually too hungry to have to start the restaurant search all over again.</p> <h2>3. Items That Break Too Soon</h2> <p>If you've recently purchased an item and it breaks unreasonably soon under normal use &mdash; I'd say less than 90 days, for most things &mdash; take it back to the store for a replacement or a refund. I tend not to buy the same junk twice in a row, so typically I'd just like my money back so I can avoid this problem a second time. This is a situation where store associates and managers like to give you a hard time &mdash; &quot;How do I know how it broke?&quot; &mdash; but don't let them beat you. Stay strong and stage a sit-in to get what you're owed if you have to.</p> <h2>4. Groceries That Are Spoiled, Rotten, or Stale</h2> <p>I think this is a situation where Americans as a collective lose tons of money, but one that is considered perfectly valid refund territory. I would be willing to bet than more times than not when the average supermarket shopper realizes they have a spoiled, rotten, or stale item when they're already home, they just throw it out. What's a few bucks, they think. Plus, they'd have to get back in the car, go back to the store, speak to the manager, blahblahblah. All worth it in my book. Food isn't cheap, and this is America; we shouldn't expect anything less than the highest quality food for which we're paying.</p> <h2>5. Goods That Aren't as Advertised</h2> <p>False advertising is against the law for a reason: You can't trick people into thinking they're getting one thing and then sell them something else. This goes for anything: from kids' toys to electronics to power tools. If the item said it was going to perform a certain way and it fell short of that promise, you deserve a refund.</p> <h2>6. Services That Aren't Performed as Promised</h2> <p>It's not just tangible goods that can fall short of expectations; services, like hair and nail salons, auto body shops, and dog grooming facilities can too. I take services that aren't performed as promised seriously because it's an active-engagement situation, and as an entrepreneur myself I recognize the importance of providing the very best service possible &mdash; and when that's not possible, apologizing and doing whatever I can to make amends. Good customer service is key, and I expect you to recognize that without putting up a fight if I'm being perfectly reasonable.</p> <h2>7. Erroneous Charges on Your Bill</h2> <p>Mark my words here: This happens ALL the time. From your cell phone bill to your Internet bill to your doctor's bill, there are sometimes strange charges that shouldn't be there. Most of the time they're mistakes, but I'm also not naïve enough to think that the provider isn't sometimes trying to get one over on you, thinking you won't read the bill closely enough or that the fee they're overcharging is so low you won't waste your time fighting it. Read your bills closely and make sure every charge is accounted for.</p> <h2>8. One-Time Late Fees if You're a Loyal Customer</h2> <p>Just hours before I started writing this post, I called J. Crew to dispute a late fee on my bill. I didn't receive the bill in time as it arrived at my other home, so I missed the payment due date. Because I'm a very loyal customer to J. Crew, and I always pay my bill in full each cycle, I called to kindly request that the late fees be waived for this circumstance. The customer service agent was perfectly willing to do it, and it saved me $50.</p> <h2>9. Hotel Rooms That Aren't Sufficiently Clean</h2> <p>I stayed in a Red Roof Inn once that had not one but two bugs in it (not the bed variety, thank God); a hair on the towel; and no cold water in the sink, only boiling hot. I sent a message through the customer service portal on the hotel's website asking for a refund but my claim was dismissed. I stayed at the same hotel a week later and coincidentally they gave me the exact same room with the exact same issues, just no bugs this time. Again I requested a refund. I got a credit for a free night's stay &ndash; which is sort of moot, because why would I go back there after they failed me twice? &ndash; but it's better than nothing from a company that obviously doesn't put much stock in customer service.</p> <p><em>Are there other times we should demand a refund? Tell me one of your personal experiences in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">How to complain and get a good result.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs customer service poor quality refunds Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:00:17 +0000 Mikey Rox 1484619 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Money as a Chat or Forum Moderator http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-as-a-chat-or-forum-moderator <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-money-as-a-chat-or-forum-moderator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_laptop_forum_000042128972.jpg" alt="Woman moderating forums and chatrooms for extra money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many of the websites, games, social apps, and online stores we frequent feature user communities. These often use a message board or chat function to enable user communication and contact customer service. If you've wondered how these discussions seem to stay relatively civil (even in the day of the &quot;troll&quot;), the answer is simple &mdash; moderators.</p> <h2>What is a Chat or Forum Moderator?</h2> <p>These are the people who stay behind-the-scenes of online communities, giving users a safe way to resolve issues, as well as policing the most offensive communications. They can delete content, ban users, or simply be on-hand to answer questions as needed.</p> <h2>How Much Does This Job Pay?</h2> <p>Pay can range from minimum wage to $15-$17 an hour. It is similar in pay structure to work-from-home customer service phone rep gigs. Some jobs pay for the entire time you are monitoring the forums, while others may only pay you when you respond to issues that come up in a work queue (meaning that you can be away from the community until you are called in).</p> <h2>How Can You Get a Job as a Moderator?</h2> <p>Getting a job as a moderator may be as simple as applying for a posting on a jobs website, or it may require being part of an active online community until you've earned a respected place in it and can request pay. Often, you can do some research into the communities you're a part of and see if they have any openings on their &quot;Careers&quot; tab.</p> <p>Sites that seem to hire moderator or chat reps frequently include<a href="http://metaversemodsquad.com/become-a-mod/"> MetaVerse Mod Squad</a>,<a href="http://www.lithium.com/company/careers/job-listing"> Lithium</a>,<a href="http://www.icucmoderation.com/careers-icuc/"> ICUC</a>, and<a href="http://www.emoderation.com/recruitment/"> eModeration</a>.</p> <h2>What Skills or Equipment Are Required?</h2> <p>A good chat or forum moderator will have excellent people skills, possess the ability to spell well and communicate via the written word, be efficient with a computer, and can sit for long periods of time, often staring at threads of messages until their help is needed. Most job listings will describe tech requirements, but the majority require you to have your own desktop or laptop computer with a high-speed DSL or cable internet connection.</p> <p>What's a day in the life of a moderator look like? It can vary, but according to Chelles of<a href="http://www.fitnpoor.com/"> FitNPoor</a>, there are definitely pros and cons.</p> <h2>Cons of Working as a Moderator</h2> <p>It can be difficult to keep your emotions under control when dealing with difficult people. &quot;You have to put your personal opinions aside. There are so many times where my politics or my view points are trumped by the job need to moderate and keep discussion peaceful,&quot; Chelles says.</p> <p>Your privacy is also not guaranteed. Chelles states that your personal information could be found, especially by passionate chatters who dislike you or your policies.</p> <h2>Pros of Working as a Moderator</h2> <p>One of the biggest advantages of this job is that you can work from home, and often, the hours are very flexible. This makes it an ideal option for students or stay-at-home parents, especially since the work environment doesn't have to be quiet.</p> <p>If you love having power, this is the job for you. Chelles says that it certainly attracts a positive person that can keep a level head, but it does reward you in the sense that you are in control. Some people thrive on that kind of control.</p> <p>There is also often a strong sense of community in most online forums, and this camaraderie can grow with time and involvement &mdash; especially as a moderator. Regular chatters on bigger sites recognize you and know your story; if you're the kind of person that makes friends easily online, this could be a very rewarding job for you!</p> <p><em>Will you be exploring a job as a moderator? Why or why not?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-as-a-chat-or-forum-moderator">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs">30 Great Side Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-68-best-ways-to-make-money-that-are-actually-fun">Flashback Friday: 68 Best Ways to Make Money That Are Actually Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-side-jobs-for-people-who-are-good-with-money">6 Side Jobs for People Who Are Good With Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-summer-side-jobs-for-new-grads">6 Smart Summer Side Jobs for New Grads</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Job Hunting chat customer service forums moderators side jobs work from home Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1396562 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Score More Loyalty Perks From Your Credit Card Company http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-more-loyalty-perks-from-your-credit-card-company <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-score-more-loyalty-perks-from-your-credit-card-company" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_card_000019789000.jpg" alt="Woman getting better deal on her credit card by cancelling" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Savvy consumers have been negotiating lower bills with cable providers, Internet providers, and wireless carriers for quite some time. This often involves calling the company and threatening to cancel to try to get a better deal. Did you know that you can do something similar with your credit card company and often score a &quot;retention&quot; offer?</p> <p>These are offers that include the removal of annual fees, free rewards, and even a reduction in interest rate. After all, card companies have spent a lot of money and resources to get and retain your business and they definitely don't want to lose you. Here is what you need to know to make it happen.</p> <h2>1. How to Make the Phone Call</h2> <p>Start by simply calling the customer service number on the back of your card. The first person you speak with is likely not the person to negotiate with. You'll likely have to tell them you want to cancel your card before they'll step up their game and transfer you to the retentions department. In most cases, you can also streamline the process by asking the customer service person to transfer you directly to &quot;retentions.&quot;</p> <p>The retentions department will ask you why you want to cancel. At this point, just be honest. If the annual fee is too high, then tell them. If you feel your rewards or miles program is lacking, then say it. If you feel customer service is a disgrace, tell them.</p> <h2>2. Have Ammunition When Making the Call</h2> <p>Your chances of scoring a retention offer increase significantly if you present a valid reason to actually get one. Perhaps you had a terrible customer service experience, maybe the company screwed up a payment and issued you a late fee, or maybe you are actually considering closing the account anyways because you don't need the card. Whatever the reason, your chances of success rise significantly if you have ammo to fire off when making the phone call. Without ammo, they have no reason to help you out and will often just cancel your account.</p> <p>It's also worth noting that your chances of success increase if you are actually okay with canceling the card. The rep you talk to on the phone can usually detect if you are not serious about canceling and simply fishing for a retention offer. Be calm, be confident, state your case, and let them know you are willing to let this card go if they can't offer you something.</p> <h2>3. Smart Things to Ask For</h2> <h3>Annual Fee Removal</h3> <p>If your card carries an annual fee, you can ask to have it credited. This is a great place to start if you are new to this, as many cards will happily remove the annual fee if you have a grievance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees</a>)</p> <h3>Free Reward Points or Miles</h3> <p>If your card is a reward card &mdash; either points or airline miles &mdash; this would be a smart thing to ask for. Just be reasonable in your request as it will greatly increase your chance of success. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>Interest Rate Reduction</h3> <p>If the interest rate on your card is outrageous, especially compared to similar cards, then ask for an 8%-10% permanent reduction in your rate. You could even ask for a greater reduction during set period of time, like 12 months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Let Your Silence Speak Volumes</h2> <p>When negotiating a bill or service via the telephone, ask for what you want then simply be quiet and force the company representative to either accept your offer or counter it. If the counter is not to your liking, simply say &quot;no&quot; and nothing else. Let the uncomfortable silence speak for you. It places the onus back on the rep to come up with something better or risk losing your business.</p> <h2>5. What if the Card Company Calls Your Bluff?</h2> <p>If your credit card company calls your bluff, you have two options. If you were legitimately okay with closing the card in the first place, you can simply cancel the card and pay off the remaining balance. If your call was more to feel the company out to see if a retention offer was possible, you can simply say, &quot;Before you cancel the card, I need to think about it and look at my options.&quot; Or something to that effect. Once the card is closed you won't be able to simply call them back and re-instate it.</p> <h2>6. Possible Side-Effects of Canceling a Card</h2> <p>Before you start calling all of your credit card companies and demanding a retention offer, it's important to realize the possible negative side-effects of canceling a card.</p> <h3>Credit Utilization Ratio</h3> <p>You need to consider how much available credit you will lose if you close a particular card. If the card has a relatively large credit limit and you close it, and yet continue to charge the same amount every month on other cards, your credit utilization rate will rise significantly. Be aware of this, as it could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">adversely affect your FICO credit score</a>.</p> <h3>Credit History</h3> <p>Another thing to look at when deciding whether to close a card is your length of credit history. If the card you're considering closing is far and away your oldest, you probably don't want to close it, as it could affect your credit score. Length of credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO credit score.</p> <p><em>Have you ever received a retention offer from your card company? If so, what did you get?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-more-loyalty-perks-from-your-credit-card-company">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-manipulate-your-transactions-may-charge-you-1750-overdraft-fee">Banks Can Manipulate Your Transactions, Then Charge You 1750% Overdraft Fee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Credit Cards customer service lowered bills negotiating retention offers threatening to cancel Fri, 10 Apr 2015 11:00:27 +0000 Kyle James 1378020 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Customer Service Battles You Just Can't Win http://www.wisebread.com/5-customer-service-battles-you-just-cant-win <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-customer-service-battles-you-just-cant-win" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airport-customer-frustrated-86513930-small.jpg" alt="airport customer frustrated" title="airport customer frustrated" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Regular readers of my articles will know that I am something of a consumer watchdog. But even I have to admit that some battles cannot be won. They can certainly be fought, but you will end up wasting your time and money trying to get any kind of outcome on the following five customer service issues. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-get-exactly-what-you-want-from-customer-service?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Get Exactly What You Want From Customer Service</a>)</p> <h2>1. Returning an Open DVD, Blu-ray, or CD</h2> <p>Once upon a time, you could return open box media. I personally returned a few VHS tapes in my time for different titles because I just wasn't happy with them. Reviews were hard to come by back then, and copying a VHS tape took some major hardware which most people didn't have access to (I know I didn't).</p> <p>These days, copying media is so easy my grandma can do it. Because of that, no store is going to let you return an open DVD, Blu-ray, or CD (including software) unless you are going to swap it for the exact same title. Basically, something has to be wrong with it. But if you're looking to swap it for another title, or get a refund, you may as well talk to the wall. You will get nowhere.</p> <h2>2. Getting a Free Replacement Without a Warranty</h2> <p>Things are certainly not made to last these days. It's actually called &quot;planned obsolescence&quot; and manufacturers first started doing it with light bulbs. They'd make them cheaper, sell them for the same price, and you'd buy replacements sooner. Warranties are there to protect you from defects for the first year, but to be honest most products will pass that test. It's after two or three years that things go bad.</p> <p>But whether your TV or iPad stops working a month after the warranty expires, or three years, you will have an impossible time getting a free replacement. If you're really lucky, you may get a discount on a new product, or some kind of deal on a repair. But &quot;like for like&quot; will not happen unless the retail gods have blessed you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-credit-card-perk-that-saved-me-300?ref=seealso">The &quot;Secret&quot; Credit Card Perk That Saved Me $300</a>)</p> <h2>3. Terminating a Service Contract Without Consequences</h2> <p>Whether it's a cell phone contract, the lease on a car, or the alarm system on your home contracts are there to protect the company. When you signed the contract, you gave up certain rights in order to get something from the company, be it a free phone, a discounted rate, or other free equipment. That contract will also state, very specifically, the consequences of getting out of the deal early. This will almost always be a hefty &quot;early termination fee.&quot; If you somehow think that being super friendly and giving the company a &quot;great&quot; excuse is going to get the customer service rep to waive the fee, think again.</p> <p>There may be a few loopholes you can use to your advantage, such as moving out of state or having a massive life change, but generally you signed the deal, and you take the penalty. Next time, read the contract and know exactly what you're getting into. Also, some of these companies, and in particular the alarm companies, will auto-renew your contract annually without even telling you. The same early termination fees will apply; so, get to know your expiration dates.</p> <h2>4. Getting an Airfare Refund Because You Missed the Flight</h2> <p>So, here's the deal. Whether you buy a refundable or non-refundable ticket, you're pretty much screwed once the flight has taken off. At that point, the ticket you hold in your hand has lost its face value. Now, you will most likely be offered another flight if you get to the airport within a few hours of the original departure time. But after that, kiss goodbye to your ticket. And refunds are just never going to happen unless you know someone who works for the airline that can pull a few strings.</p> <p>You may think that buying travel insurance will help. Check the details though. The most common reason people miss a flight is due to bad traffic, and travel insurance doesn't cover it. It will cover tornadoes and hurricanes, but those are much more rare than being stuck on the highway. Remember, before you book, make sure you really want to go. You'll pay more for refundable flights, but you'll have more options prior to the flight departing.</p> <h2>5. Expecting Insurance to Cover &quot;Wear and Tear&quot;</h2> <p>Many people seem to confuse insurance with maintenance, and that's a big mistake.</p> <p>Normal wear and tear happens, especially to homes, and you cannot expect the insurance company to replace an old roof for free, or jump on your cracking concrete and repair it free of charge. The bottom line is this; if it has broken over the natural course of aging, or your own pets did the damage, you can expect to get a big fat <a href="http://www.keithrlaskey.com/four-common-denied-homeowners-insurance-claims/">no from the insurance company</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you waged any fruitless customer services battles lately? Vent below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-customer-service-battles-you-just-cant-win">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-companies-with-the-best-customer-service">The 6 Companies With the Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-tipping-wrong-this-is-what-you-should-be-leaving">Are You Tipping Wrong? This Is What You Should Be Leaving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-budget-challenge-2016-how-to-live-frugally-when-you-have-no-time">My Budget Challenge 2016: How to Live Frugally When You Have No Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living consumer affairs customer service service Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1227984 at http://www.wisebread.com The 8 Scariest Things Probably Coming to Air Travel http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-scariest-things-probably-coming-to-air-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-scariest-things-probably-coming-to-air-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stressed-traveler-124821906-small.jpg" alt="stressed traveler" title="stressed traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hands up if you remember getting free meals on your flights.</p> <p>It wasn't too long ago that we got free checked bags, and did not have to pay for headphones or blankets, either. As time goes on, the airline industry is making changes that keep themselves in profit, and us wishing we had the money to fly first class. Or better yet, have our own plane. And things are only going to get worse. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tricks-to-make-flying-in-coach-feel-almost-luxurious?ref=seealso">Tricks to Make Flying in Coach (Almost) as Luxurious as Flying First Class</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight &quot;innovations&quot; that may be coming to an airline that you fly regularly. Don't be surprised if you see these changes sooner rather than later. What was once something comedians joked about is going to become the reality for almost all of us.</p> <h2>1. Vertical Passenger Seating</h2> <p>That's a fancy ways of saying &quot;standing seats.&quot; If that sounds like an oxymoron, it is. But, the one thing this invention has going for it is money. Fairuz Romili, an aerospace engineering professor at the Universal Putra Malaysia, says the standing seat would &quot;lead to a 21% increase in passenger capacity, while dropping ticket prices by as much as 44%.&quot; Think about that for a second. Yes, it sounds (and <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/10/travel/standing-cabin-plane-study/">looks</a>) very uncomfortable. Yes, it will also lead to a huge amount of people in economy class, meaning it will take even longer to get drinks and snacks. But, if it dropped the price of a ticket from $300 to $156, would you take it?</p> <h2>2. Limited Lavatories (Or Toilet Fees!)</h2> <p>Can you hold it? You might just have to.</p> <p>Cheaper airlines, also known as budget airlines, are looking into a few bathroom ideas that can chop the price of your ticket. One idea is to have just one toilet per plane. On a smaller aircraft, not such a big deal. On a 747 or 777, you better learn to cross your legs and think of something else. The other option is to charge you to go; literally, spending a dollar to spend a penny. Either one of these would be pushed on you with some great marketing spin. &quot;We're reducing frills to bring you the best possible price on your flight.&quot; Great&hellip; until you have to wait 45 minutes to answer the call of nature.</p> <h2>3. The Fat Tax</h2> <p>Some airlines are already &quot;suggesting&quot; or insisting that obese people buy two seats instead of just one. Sometimes, in the case of <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/obese-man-forced-buy-plane-tickets-seats-rows-article-1.1484738">Les Price</a>, they don't even give you two adjacent seats, which makes no sense at all. However, soon it won't be just purchasing extra seats. You may very well have to &quot;weigh in at check in,&quot; and if you tip the skills over a certain weight, the price of your ticket will go up. For example, males over 250 pounds and females over 200 pounds will pay extra to fly on the plane, even if they fit into a single seat just fine. This could also impact healthy people, like bodybuilders and professional athletes, who are heavy without being obese in the real sense of the word. Imagine being told your ticket will cost one third more because you're a bit on the heavy side. It's coming.</p> <h2>4. Women Only in the Cabin Crew</h2> <p>Not that having only women in the crew is bad for passengers, but it certainly isn't good for any men looking for a career in that field. How will that save money, or be beneficial? Well, we already know that women earn less than men in the same role. But according to GoAir, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/29/travel/airline-recruits-women-to-save-fuel/">hiring only women makes sense</a> because they are, on average, &quot;15-20 kilos lighter than the average man.&quot; Is that sexism, or simply a statement of fact from GoAir? Well, however you feel about it, you can expect to see either less men in the air, or only people weighing less than a certain amount.</p> <h2>5. In-Flight Phone Calls Are Coming</h2> <p>Currently, the U.S. government says <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-moves-closer-to-formal-rules-barring-in-flight-cellphone-calls-1407096288">no to mid-flight cell phone conversations</a>. However, lobbyists will change that sooner or later, and when it happens you can expect your flight to be filled with inconsiderate people who absolutely cannot wait to make that call. This is, without a doubt, going to be the most irritating and awful thing to change the way we fly. Pack noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs. Lots of earplugs.</p> <h2>6. You're Doing Everything Yourself</h2> <p>We all like autonomy, but when we're flying there are still some things we like to have a trained professional for. Sometimes, they can really help when it comes to getting us on different flights, changing times, adding to our itinerary, and so on. The future is going to be completely automated. Right now, you can get onto a plane without really seeing anyone if you're doing a short hop without checked bags. That is going to change. You will be tagging your own bags and loading them onto the conveyor belt. You'll use a thumbprint to identify yourself and get on and off the plane. You'll even have to get your own food and drinks on the plane. Why pay people when you can do it for the airlines for free?</p> <h2>7. More Overbooked Flights</h2> <p>In the past, you would often fly with enough empty seats on the plane to lie down and take a nap. That will never happen in the future. To ensure &quot;maximum profit margins,&quot; every flight will be seriously overbooked. This will result in more delays at airports, and incredible complications with connecting flights and hotel reservations. You could always go and complain to someone, but of course, you'll be greeted by a computer terminal with no feelings about the matter either way.</p> <h2>8. Massive Aircraft</h2> <p>We already know about the ginormous <a href="http://www.airbus.com/aircraftfamilies/passengeraircraft/a380family/">Airbus A380</a>. That's only just the beginning. Plans are already underway to build something bigger. One such idea is the <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2538651/The-future-air-travel-Three-storey-Sky-Whale-fits-755-passengers-virtual-reality-windows-self-healing-wings.html">Sky Whale</a>, which would hold 755 passengers split into three different classes (and only those in first would enjoy the experience). Getting onto a plane that big will take a long, long time. Getting anything to eat or drink will take equally as long. And getting off, well, don't make any immediate plans when you arrive at the airport. Of course, if one of these things ever crashes, it's going to be a devastating tragedy. And one day, Sky Dinosaurs could carry 1500 people at once. The cost of fuel by then will be so expensive, it will probably not cut the price of the ticket by much.</p> <p><em>What nightmarish future airline plans are you dreading?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-scariest-things-probably-coming-to-air-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-airlines-with-the-best-customer-service">5 Airlines With the Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-the-major-airlines-determine-when-and-how-you-board">Here&#039;s How the Major Airlines Determine When and How You Board</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what">The Airline Lost Your Luggage. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-airport-hacks-to-remember-before-your-next-flight">23 Airport Hacks to Remember Before Your Next Flight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-on-amtrak">Travel on Amtrak</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel air travel airlines cost cutting customer service Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1211247 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Companies With the Best Customer Service http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-companies-with-the-best-customer-service <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-companies-with-the-best-customer-service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/customer-service-466197661-small.jpg" alt="customer service" title="customer service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nowadays, it seems like every single company is trying to cut corners.</p> <p>If companies are not <a href="http://www.challengergray.com/press/press-releases/2014-july-job-cut-report-46887-job-cuts-announced-boosted-microsoft">laying off several employees</a>, then they are forced to find <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/22/business/22layoffs.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">creative ways to cut labor costs</a>. Given the deadly combo of smaller budgets and fewer employees, it seems that great customer service is bound to disappear. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-get-exactly-what-you-want-from-customer-service?ref=seealso">9 Ways to Get Exactly What You Want From Customer Service</a>)</p> <p>Does this mean that great customer service is dead? Fortunately, there are several companies out there working very hand to consistently deliver outstanding customer service. Here are the six companies in which great customer service appears to be alive and well.</p> <h2>1. Amazon.com</h2> <p>The online retail giant takes the the mantra &quot;the customer is always right&quot; very seriously. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos often leaves a seat open, representing the customer, at conference tables. The &quot;empty chair&quot; is supposed to represent &quot;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2012/04/04/inside-amazon/">the most important person in the room</a>.&quot;</p> <p>Bezos takes customer service so seriously that he welcomes messages from any client to his very public email <a href="mailto:jeff@amazon.com">jeff@amazon.com</a>. He is well known to read customer complaints and forward them to the relevant Amazon employee with just a single character addition: &quot;?&quot; Question-mark emails from Bezos are taken as top level action items by their recipients.</p> <p>The empty chair and question mark strategies from Bezos seem to be getting the point across and creating a culture of great customer service. The 2014 Customer Service Hall of Fame list puts <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/07/19/customer-service-hall-of-fame/12690983/">Amazon at the top for the fifth consecutive</a> time with 57.5% of survey respondents giving Amazon's service an &quot;excellent.&quot; Additionally, the American Customer Satisfaction Index has put <a href="http://www.theacsi.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=149&amp;catid=&amp;Itemid=214&amp;c=Amazon&amp;i=Internet+Retail">Amazon at the top of its online retailing category</a> since 2000 and within its overall top 10 for several years.</p> <p>Need further proof? An Amazon service rep didn't even blink in replacing <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/technology/05nocera.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">a $500 Playstation at no extra cost</a> that got stolen from a customer's doorstep.</p> <h2>2. Morton's Steakhouse</h2> <p>When I asked on Twitter (BTW you can find me at <a href="http://www.twitter.com/daviladamian">@DavilaDamian</a>!) for tips on companies with the best customer service, a follower, who prefers to stay anonymous replied via direct message: &quot;You have to check out <a href="http://shankman.com/the-best-customer-service-story-ever-told-starring-mortons-steakhouse/">Peter Shankman's Morton experience</a>.&quot;</p> <p>Shankman is a busy author and speaker and back in 2011 he was stuck in a rut. He knew that between 3:30 a.m. and about 9:00 p.m. he would only have time for a single meal, during a lunch meeting. Since he is steak lover, <a href="https://twitter.com/petershankman/status/103936299983060993">he jokingly tweeted to Morton's Steakhouses</a> if they would meet him at the Newark airport with a porterhouse. Turns out they did! Despite the 23.5 mile distance between the closest restaurant and the airport, the short three hour window to pull off the stunt, and the tweet meant to be a joke, Morton's came through with an outstanding example of customer service.</p> <h2>3. Nordstrom</h2> <p>The main source for Nordstrom employee's great customer service is empowerment. For several years, the company's Rule #1 in its employee handbook has been: &quot;Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.&quot; Employee autonomy has been <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2014/03/15/the-nordstrom-two-part-customer-experience-formula-lessons-for-your-business/">identified by several industry experts</a> as the source for Nordstrom's renowned customer service. This is why even housekeeping staff are able to help customers.</p> <p>What do Nordstrom employees identify as their key differentiator from other retailers? A Nordstrom employee that worked in the corporate offices and store #001 reveals that it is the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2014/03/15/the-nordstrom-two-part-customer-experience-formula-lessons-for-your-business/">no-excuses return policy</a>. Ever heard of the <a href="http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/nordstrom.asp">customer that returned tires to a Nordstrom in Alaska</a>? (Catch: Nordstrom doesn't even sell tires!) Nordstrom accepts returns even without receipts and no matter how worn out a piece of clothing might be. She also points out that everything is in small details such as:</p> <ul> <li>Answering the phone on no more than the second ring.</li> <li>Walking a customer to a location instead of pointing to it.</li> <li>Providing one-on-one service.</li> </ul> <h2>4. USAA</h2> <p>In the financial services industry, USAA often tops the best customer service lists. In the 2014 Temkin Customer Service Ratings survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers, <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/usaa-and-amazoncom-top-annual-customer-service-ratings-by-temkin-group-2014-05-21">USAA's banking business took the top spot</a>, and USAA's insurance business tied with Amazon.com for second place.</p> <p>A USAA customer for several years, Ligaya from Fort Rucker, Alabama, explains why she is loyal to the company: &quot;Consistently great customer service, always upgrading banking options and polite service reps. I also like that they take customer security very seriously. I've never been in one of their actual banks but have never had a problem in over 10 years.&quot;</p> <p>Founded in 1922 by a group of U.S. Army officers, USAA focuses on customers who are military members and their families. After reviewing <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/reviews/banking/single/id/usaa-federal-savings">70 customer reviews</a> from this company, it seems that Ligaya is not the only one happy with USAA service. A remarkable 67% of those reviewers give 5 out of 5 stars to USAA.</p> <h2>5. Ritz-Carlton</h2> <p>Despite being a very large hotel chain with several locations in 21 countries, the Ritz-Carlton has been able to maintain a strong reputation for outstanding customer service for over a century.</p> <p>Take, for example, the story of Joshie the Giraffe. When a boy's beloved stuffed animal was left behind at a Ritz-Carlton in Florida, a father told him a white lie: Joshie decided to stay a bit longer at the resort. The same night, the staff from the Ritz-Carlton called the father and informed him that they had found Joshie. The father requested if they could take a picture of Joshie on a lounge chair by the pool. The staff did not only agree, but also carefully documented <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-hurn/stuffed-giraffe-shows-wha_b_1524038.html">Joshie's extended vacation</a> before sending him back along with some goodies.</p> <p>This and other &quot;wow&quot; stories are shared during the <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2007-02-13/how-ritz-carlton-maintains-its-mystiquebusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice">company's daily 15-minute meetings</a>. The same wow story is shared across all Ritz-Carlton hotels on the same day to congratulate staff that provided outstanding service and inspire everybody else. For example, employees are empowered to make decisions, such as providing freebies, to <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2012/04/10/how-the-ritz-carlton-inspired-the-apple-store-video/">minimize the perceived waiting time</a>.</p> <h2>6. Zappos</h2> <p>This list of companies with best customer service wouldn't be complete without including Zappos. This company has not one but several stories of <a href="http://about.zappos.com/our-unique-culture/zappos-core-values">legendary great customer service</a>.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://consumerist.com/2011/05/19/zappos-saves-best-man-from-going-barefoot-at-wedding/">A best man for a wedding was saved from going barefoot</a> by intercepting a pair of shoes that were being delivered to the wrong address and providing an overnight replacement pair of shoes to the right destination.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Zappos sets the expectation for both customers and staff members that <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFe9nSlS894">everything can be returned</a>. No questions asked and at no charge to the customer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A woman, whose feet had been damaged by harsh medical treatments, had to order six different pairs of shoes to see if one would provide her comfort. The rep that helped her process the return of the unwanted shoes via phone wowed her with <a href="http://www.divinecaroline.com/fashion/whats-hot/how-zappos-knocked-my-socks">a bouquet of lilies and roses</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The company offers <a href="http://www.zappos.com/vegan">over 1,060 pairs of vegan shoes</a>. No, that's not a typo. Zappos decided to take action and address the hundreds of requests for those that prefer non-leather shoes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The company holds the record for one of the longest customer service calls: <a href="http://www.today.com/money/zappos-customer-service-call-lasts-10-hours-1C7711067">10 hours and 29 minutes</a>. The most amazing thing is that the rep remained friendly, even when most of the call was about providing advice on how to relocate to Las Vegas. The customer did buy a pair of Uggs boots.</li> </ul> <p>These stories go to show that there are still companies around in which the customer is king.</p> <p><em>What is your best customer service experience? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-companies-with-the-best-customer-service">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-key-to-free">The Key to Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-home-hair-dyes">The 5 Best Home Hair Dyes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-medications">The 5 Best Pet Flea Medications</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-shampoos-for-frizzy-hair">The 5 Best Shampoos for Frizzy Hair</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-robotic-mops">The 5 Best Robotic Mops</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping customer service public relations service shopping Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1205245 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Tipping Wrong? This Is What You Should Be Leaving http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-tipping-wrong-this-is-what-you-should-be-leaving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-tipping-wrong-this-is-what-you-should-be-leaving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/restaurant-tips-78773767-small.jpg" alt="restaurant tip" title="restaurant tip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you ever wonder if you're being too stingy or too generous &mdash; or if you're supposed to tip someone for their services at all? What about when you go on vacation: do the rules change? And what is the &quot;right&quot; amount to show appreciation for service providers at the holidays?</p> <p>Well, wonder no longer, because it's all here in Wise Bread's guide to tipping for (almost) every situation.</p> <h2>Dining &mdash; In or Out</h2> <p>Eating at a 5-star restaurant is different than a counter-service joint. Here's the lowdown on <a href="http://www.emilypost.com/out-and-about/tipping/89-general-tipping-guidelines">how to tip for food-related services</a>, based on advice from the Emily Post Institute, run by the family whose name is synonymous with etiquette.</p> <ul> <li>Wait service at a sit-down restaurant: 15-20% of the pretax total of your bill.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Host or Maitre d': Generally speaking, it's not necessary to tip the person who shows you to your table; however if you feel they've gone out of the way to find you a special table on a busy night, a $10-$20 bill is a nice token of your appreciation.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buffet: 10% of the pretax total of your bill<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take-out service: This is a completely discretionary tip. Generally, it is not necessary to tip when you pick up a take-out order, but if you feel you've received exceptional service, or that you've placed a particularly complicated order, then tip 10% of the pretax total.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Delivery: For home or office food delivery service, the Post Institute recommends 10%-15% of the pretax total of your bill. However, they also suggest a flat tip of $2-$5 dollars for pizza delivery, depending on the size of the order and difficulty of delivery.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bad weather delivery: Couriers appreciate <a href="http://www.grubstreet.com/2014/02/delivery-services-in-bad-weather.html">a little something extra</a> when the weather gets ugly, according to Grub Street. Adam Eric Greenberg, a UC San Diego Ph.D. candidate and co-author of &quot;probably the most thorough study yet on bad-weather tips,&quot; says percentage-based tipping (Greenberg suggests 15%-20%) should kick in when an order is greater than $15. &quot;When the weather is bad, be a bit more generous by tipping 20% to 22%. If it's raining outside, tip 22%-25%,&quot; he recommends.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bar service: The Post Institute suggests leaving a $1-$2 tip per drink, or 15-20% of the tab.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Barista: While contributing to the tipping jar is not obligatory, it's nice to leave an occasional tip if you think that the barista went above and beyond, or if you're a regular customer. Among the <a href="http://www.rd.com/slideshows/13-things-baristas-wont-tell-you/#slideshow=slide10">13 Things Your Barista Won't Tell You</a>, according to Reader's Digest, a $1 tip goes a long way in creating goodwill.</li> </ul> <h2>Looking Good &mdash; Stylishly Tipping at Salons and Spas</h2> <p>The general rule of thumb is to leave a 20% tip for all the people who help you look and feel your finest. For hair services (cut, special-occasion styling, color, chemical treatments); nail services (manicure, pedicure); and spa services (facials, massages, waxing), the 20% rate is a guideline, but you can always increase the rate or round up the amount if you feel that your stylist, manicurist or esthetician has spent a more-than-average amount of time with you, or gone the extra mile to make you look amazing.</p> <p>In some salons, a shampooist will wash your hair (often with a nice scalp massage) before you sit down in the stylist's chair. Here the jury wavers between a $2-$6 tip.</p> <p><strong>Note</strong>: If your stylist offers free services between cuts, like a bang trim or neck shave, be sure to leave them a small tip ($2-$5) to show your appreciation for their time and service.</p> <h2>Getting Around</h2> <p>The 15%-20% tip guideline also applies to taxi and limo drivers, depending on location. When taking a cab or limo to the airport (or to your destination, whether hotel or back home), the Post Institute recommends an additional $2 for the first bag, and $1 for each additional piece.</p> <p>Do you like to keep your own vehicle looking spiffy? At a full-service carwash, the general rule of thumb is to tip $2-$3 for a full-service car wash for a regular-size car, but $3-$5 for an SUV, truck or van, according to Angie's List.</p> <h2>Traveling</h2> <p>&quot;Everyone that touches your bag gets a tip,&quot; according to etiquette expert Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas. A bellhop should generally get $2 for the first piece of luggage and $1 for additional pieces.</p> <p>She recommends leaving the cleaning staff in the hotel &quot;a couple of dollars&quot; every morning &mdash; not at the end of your stay. &quot;If you wait till the end of the week, they've already changed staff three or four times.&quot;</p> <p>According to the Post Institute, there is no obligation to tip a concierge for answering simple questions, but it is customary to give a $5-$10 tip if the concierge makes dinner or theater reservations for you.</p> <p>When <a href="http://www.cntraveler.com/travel-tips/travel-etiquette/2008/12/Etiquette-101-Tipping-Guide">traveling abroad</a>, the rules vary by country. Do your homework ahead of time to make sure you respect cultural norms.</p> <h2>Help Around the House</h2> <p>Even the do-it-yourselfers of the world often rely on the experts to keep their abodes looking good and functioning well. This can be one of the greyer areas of tipping, but the <a href="http://www.angieslist.com/articles/top-10-services-tip.htm">following tipping guidelines</a>, courtesy of Angie's List, can help you decide how much to dole out to household help.</p> <ul> <li>Handymen, plumbers, electricians don't generally expect a tip; however, a tip shows your appreciation for exceptional service or a small (free-of-charge) favor, like stopping by to fix a leaky pipe.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The tip for movers depends on the size of the job, length of time it takes to complete it, and the quality of the work. For a small job, $10-$20 per team member is a nice way to show your appreciation for a job well done; you may want to increase that to $20-$50 per mover for larger jobs that take longer to complete and require more muscle power.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For people who help keep your house and yard looking good year-round, the customary practice is to give them a tip once a year, usually at holiday time.</li> </ul> <h2>Spread the Holiday Cheer</h2> <p>From your hair stylist to the garbage haulers, your mechanic or your babysitter, a gift at holiday time is the perfect way to say &quot;thank you&quot; to the people who provide you with year-long service. A gift card makes a nice holiday gift because it's a little more personal than cash, but still allows the recipient to make some choices about how to spend it.</p> <p>How much you choose to spend on a holiday tip depends on many factors, including your own financial circumstances. A batch of homemade cookies with a personal note of appreciation for services rendered throughout the year is an acceptable holiday tip if your finances preclude a large cash outlay.</p> <p>If you can afford it, the <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T050-C000-S001-holiday-tipping-tip-sheet.html">normal cost of one service</a> is generally recommended as a holiday tip for:</p> <ul> <li>The hair stylist, manicurist or esthetician if you see that person on a regular basis throughout the year;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your pet's groomer;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your personal trainer at the gym;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cleaning person (more if they help you out more than once a week; something to split if your cleaning help is a team);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your child's babysitter or home daycare provider.</li> </ul> <p>Other people you may choose to tip in the form of a small gift at the holidays include:</p> <ul> <li>The letter carrier (note that the <a href="http://www.oge.gov/Topics/Gifts-and-Payments/Gifts-from-Outside-Sources/">U.S. government</a> prohibits federal workers (that includes postal workers) from receiving a gift valued at $20 or above);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Newspaper delivery person (between $10-$30 depending on how often you receive delivery, quality of service, difficulty in getting to your home, etc.);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Doorman (the amount here ranges widely depending on where you live; anywhere from $25-$150 appears to be customary);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Garbage collector (between $10-$30 each, assuming your municipality does not prohibit such gifts; check first!);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your local fire and/or police department (a gift to share &mdash; box of chocolates or other culinary treat is nice);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your child's preschool or grade school teacher (<a href="http://www.parenting.com/article/holiday-gifts-budget">guidelines vary widely</a>, but some experts recommend adding a small gift &mdash; perhaps something the child makes by hand- in addition to cash or a gift card).</li> </ul> <h2>What Is a Tip?</h2> <p>Diane Gottsman says that the word TIP stands for &quot;to insure prompt service.&quot; Whether you agree with that statement or not, when considering whom and how much to tip, bear in mind that tips are essentially tokens of appreciation &mdash; tangible ways to say &quot;thank you.&quot; When you tip at a restaurant or spa, consider the fact that most workers depend on that extra cash as part of their regular income. And tip accordingly; if you think your waiter has significantly enhanced your dining experience, let your cash complement your words of appreciation.</p> <p><em>Anybody who's deserving of a generous gratuity we've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mardee-handler">Mardee Handler</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-tipping-wrong-this-is-what-you-should-be-leaving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-agree-with-the-new-standards-of-restaurant-tipping">Do You Agree With the New Standards of Restaurant Tipping?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-two-ceos-to-listen-to-my-complaints">How I got two CEOs to listen to my complaints</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/infographic-always-know-who-should-pick-up-the-check">Infographic: Always Know Who Should Pick Up the Check</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-customer-service-battles-you-just-cant-win">5 Customer Service Battles You Just Can&#039;t Win</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-little-ways-to-make-yourself-a-better-person-while-watching-tv-tonight">15 Little Ways to Make Yourself a Better Person While Watching TV Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips customer service gratitude gratuities service tipping Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Mardee Handler 1189078 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Effectively Complain to Get What You Want http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-get-what-you-want <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-effectively-complain-to-get-what-you-want" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airport-complaint-124821416-small.jpg" alt="airport complaint" title="airport complaint" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're on your third business trip this month. Exhausted after a full day of presentations, all you can think about on the cab ride to the hotel is how great it will feel when your head hits the pillow. You requested a room away from the elevator and ice machine, but guess which room they gave you? And when you enter your hotel room, you hear the drip from the leaky faucet in the bathroom. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-praise-of-complainers-why-complaining-is-good?ref=seealso">In Praise of Complainers</a>)</p> <p>Do you stew in silence, or run down to the lobby and create a scene at the reception desk?</p> <p>Neither. There is an art to complaining &mdash; with tact &mdash; to get what you want.</p> <h2>First, Calm Down</h2> <p>When you have a complaint, it's because something went awry. And chances are, you're not happy about it. Before saying or doing anything at all, pause. Count to 10. If you're banging out an angry email, wait an hour before hitting the &quot;send&quot; button.</p> <p>Even when you don't have the luxury of time &mdash; when the waiter spills the hot coffee on your lap &mdash; it's wise to muster up all the mental energy you can to think before you react. When expressing a complaint, verbally or in writing, you want your words to speak louder than your emotions, not the other way around. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/letting-go-8-steps-to-forgiveness?ref=seealso">Letting Go: 8 Steps to Forgiveness</a>)</p> <h2>Bark up the Right Tree</h2> <p>Go easy on the messenger. I feel badly when I see a waiter being lambasted for bringing out an order that was improperly prepared; it's the chef's responsibility to cook a meal to order.</p> <p>Make sure the person on the receiving end of your complaint has the power to provide a resolution. It's not the customer service rep's fault that the cable TV service went out during the playoff game, but they probably have the authority to give you a $25 &quot;valued customer&quot; credit for the inconvenience. If interruptions in service become a repeated problem, maybe it's time to escalate your complaint to a manager, who can assign a technician to investigate &mdash; and fix &mdash; the problem.</p> <h2>Sandwich the Complaint Between Compliments</h2> <p>Generally speaking, the aforementioned hotel (the one with the leaky faucet) is a great place. You've stayed there before, and have always been pleased with the accommodations and service. Start your exchange with the desk clerk or manager on this upbeat (but sincere) note.</p> <p>Then express your dissatisfaction with your current experience &mdash; the fact that your request to be in a room away from the elevator was ignored and that the faucet in your room leaks.</p> <p>The bottom &quot;layer&quot; of the sandwich is another positive statement, perhaps expressing your appreciation for the manager's attention to your concern.</p> <p>Using the complaint sandwich sets a positive, respectful tone to your exchange. It also reduces the chances of the person on the receiving end becoming defensive.</p> <h2>Know What You Want &mdash; And Ask for It</h2> <p>When talking to the hotel manager, what is it that you want? Are you simply venting, looking for validation &mdash; or do you want to be moved to another room in the hotel?</p> <p>Let's say you bought a new gym bag online, but the strap ripped the second time you used it. When you send an email to the retailer, are you going to ask for a refund? A replacement strap? Unless the person on the receiving end of your complaint letter is a mind reader, you need to be clear about your expectations.</p> <p>Sometimes, there is no resolution. A curmudgeon-like clerk sends you on an unwarranted guilt trip when you return a sweater, even though you only bought it last week, it has all its tags intact, and you pleasantly present your receipt. A letter of complaint can help make store management aware of problems &mdash; like unfriendly employees &mdash; so that they can take steps to rectify them. In this case, be clear that you don't want anything other than to let management know that there is an unpleasant associate in their midst.</p> <h2>Get to the Point</h2> <p>People are busy, torn in a million different directions; succinctness counts. Especially when writing a letter, assume that the reader will skim it. Be specific about your complaint and your expectations about how and when it might be resolved. Don't ramble on about impertinent details or the story of your life.</p> <h2>Be Nice</h2> <p>Whether in person or on paper (including email), remember that the person reading it may not have had a part in creating the problem; rather, they will (hopefully) be part of the solution.</p> <p>The focus of your exchange should be on the problem, not on verbally beating up the person hearing or reading about it.</p> <p>You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as the saying goes. In a recent article about <a href="http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2013/11/03/on-the-power-of-being-nice/">the power of being nice</a>, Anthony Iannarino, Managing Director of B2B Sales Coach &amp; Consultancy, says &quot;Being nice doesn't mean that you lack candor, that you can't be demanding, and that you can't engage in productive arguments and disagreements.&quot; Rather, he says, it means you can't be mean, and ought to treat people well.</p> <p>Being nice can also involve acknowledging resolution of a problem, even, or perhaps especially &mdash; after a string of complaints. After you've gotten what you want, be nice about it, and say thanks.</p> <p><em>How do you complain? Please share your best complaints in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mardee-handler">Mardee Handler</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-get-what-you-want">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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