How to get your customer service complaints taken seriously

How to get your customer service complaints taken seriously

BOSTON — Online shopping is quick and easy, but the lack of face-to-face contact can become tricky when you have a problem with your purchase or your bill. Boston 25 News asked consumer experts and local shoppers for their top tips for top shelf customer service, and uncovered some of the most common mistakes.

“If companies could come up with a website that’s more user friendly, the turnaround time getting back to their customers I think would be beneficial,” one shopper from Salem said.

Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org, says if you want results your first step should be to pick up the phone.

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“If you can speak to a real live human being, and make them care about your particular problem, I think that’s still the best way,” Dworsky said.

(Boston 25 News)

Frank Fantasia of Winchester said that usually does the trick for him.

“Just keep going up the chain of command and eventually you’re going to find someone that’s empowered to solve problems,” he said. But Fantasia cautioned, “It can be time consuming, and you have to be pretty patient.”

Dworsky’s next tip is once you get someone on the line: Be firm, but polite.

If you can’t wait on the phone, you can write out your complaint, but remember to be concise. Few people have the time to read a three-page letter.

“Say what happened, attach any proof that you have of what the issue is, and say what you want. Give them a means to contact you back, including your phone number,” Dworksy recommends.

One shopper named Mike from Charlestown said social media is his preferred method.

“If they have a twitter account, that's going to be the best way to do it,” he told Boston 25 News.

But Dworsky warns a common mistake is posting that social media complaint in the wrong spot. He says for the best response, it matters where you post.

“You can’t assume the customer service people are trolling the internet looking for hashtags of their own companies name,” Dworksy said. “You can go on the Facebook or the Twitter page of the company. They probably have people who are looking for complaints there."

Andre from Somerville told Boston 25 News that approach was effective when he had a problem with the MBTA.

“I posted on Twitter, and they got back to me and I got my money back. So it worked very easily,” he said.

Dworsky says if the phone and social media don’t get your complaint resolved, your next step is to get outside help. Try enlisting a state or local consumer agency like the attorney general’s office, or the media.

And if all that fails, there's always small claims court.

One last caution: when filing your complaint, make sure you’re talking to a verified company representative, account, or website. Large corporations can have scam accounts on social media, so you want to avoid putting your private information into the wrong hands.