We've all done it at some point: Yelled at a customer service representative over the phone for bad service, a failed product or something else that has irked us about something we bought.
Sometimes the person who yells the loudest gets what they want, but it doesn't always work. It can be difficult to get good customer service, and yelling can make it more difficult. Whether you've reached the end of your rope after trying many ways to get the problem resolved, or are just having a bad day, there are many reasons why people yell at someone they don't know at the other end of the phone.
What causes some people to yell and others not to? What has gone so wrong to push them over the edge?
For most people, in fact 72% of people, they have a problem right away while they are trying to make a purchase. This is especially true for customers trying to buy online. Something makes the transaction go wrong, such as an incorrect price or a shipping choice is unclear, and they need help immediately. The rest of complainers have problems when the item arrives and something is wrong with it.
In both cases, people simply get frustrated and want to vent, says Mitch Lieberman, vice president at Sword Ciboodle, a customer relationship management software company. But picking up the phone is typically not what either party — the customer or the merchant — wants in a shopping experience, which sets the stage for frayed nerves.
A phone call, he says, sounds like the easiest and fastest way of communicating a problem, but writing a letter by hand or writing an email will actually help document the problems and solve them in a more logical manner.
Actually, only about half of people actually expect to be able to solve a problem on a customer service call, Lieberman says. In fact, many people call up customer service departments to complain, but don't really have anything in particular they want done. They're just upset and they need to tell somebody about it. Rich Redman, who managed a customer service team for five years, says he often heard from customers who call because they're upset, and not because there's something specific that they wanted.
Callers may not initially have any intention of yelling, but the frustration of the whole event can build. Long hold times, being asked to repeat the complaint again and again, getting the runaround and not being transferred to a manager after asking for one are some of the boiling points that can quickly be reached.
Brett Brohl, who runs Scrubado.com, a company that sells hospital scrubs and has been cited for its excellent customer service, has found that people who yell are the people who are truly in the wrong — such as a customer who wears a product for a month and then calls to return it, and tries to get his way by yelling. Brohl says he associates yelling with guilt. Yelling never helps, he says, and makes his customer service reps less likely to go above and beyond to help clients.
Many also yell because they buy into the old adage "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." We all have stories of people we know who yelled at customer service reps and got some benefit out of it. So it makes it easy to say, if it has worked before, it will work again. Edgar Dworsky, who runs the consumer education and watchdog website ConsumerWorld.org says he's fantasized about turning to other customers waiting behind him in line and saying in a very loud voice, "Can you believe how this store is treating me? They won't take back a clearly defective product. Why should any of us continue to do business with a company that treats its customers this way?" Such a public rant is likely to get a problem fixed fast.
He also says that a friend was so completely obnoxious when negotiating with Comcast to get reduced monthly fees after the "special" on his triple play expired, that they gave him a discount — but banned him from further discounts for three years.
Next week: Ways to stop yelling at customer service representatives and still get what you want.
Photo Credit: Rabble via Flickr.