Negotiating with customer service
Financial Fitness

12 Tips for Negotiations with Customer Service

Surprise to no one: we’re consumers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 the typical Customer spent $61,334.1 Whether it’s food to eat, gas for a vehicle, electricity for a home, or a super cool mid-century modern lamp found on Amazon for a deal (maybe just me?), we buy stuff. Those experiences can be good … or not so good. Sometimes, we need to speak to Customer Service. Read on for 12 tips to help with negotiations!

Keep your cool

Per a Harvard Business Review article, anger within negotiations strongly and inevitably affects the conversation outcome.2 Sure, we could have intense feelings of anxiety or anger if something isn’t right with our purchase or product, but screaming and shouting likely won’t be helpful.

  • Stave off anxiety – Anxiety could make you want to run, hold low expectations, or accept negative terms.
  • Slow to anger – If you come out of the gate ripping and roaring, a bad taste will be in everyone’s mouth. Best to slow down and explain your situation.
  • Come prepared – Have your receipts, dates, and notes at the ready to easily find info to convey to the Customer Service Rep.

Practice your points

Kill the anxiety, or at least tuck it in for a nap. I get anxious when I have to speak to Customer Support, too. So a quick practice of your message could help you breathe a little easier when it’s go-time. A Harvard Division of Continuing Education article notes great tips for public speaking which include:

  • Practice makes … manageable – This can help your encounter feel routine and familiar.
  • Organize – This will help you keep a clearer head and hit your main points.
  • Not perfection – Your visit with Customer Service isn’t a TED Talk, but you’re still making your POV known and looking for a resolution. So have your voice heard in the most effective way you can.

Communication is key

Communicate – and keep it going. It doesn’t have to be a win-lose situation. Maybe you don’t know why you were charged a particular price or your product was sub-par. Ask! Questions can open up doors.

  • Don’t be afraid to question – Knowledge is power, but it doesn’t have to be held over someone else. When people understand a situation better, we can see all the sides to the story.
  • Back and forth exchange - Answer the company rep’s questions and not shut them out. They want to understand, too. And it could lead to a great outcome, good collaboration or a healthy compromise.
  • It’s not just a meme - If your convo is going poorly, you can always ask to speak to a manager or supervisor. (And that’s not just for “Karens”. It’s a real option.)

Customer Service is Customer engagement

That’s the name of the game! American Express advises Customer Service Representatives to hold conversations with the Customer, explain any costs, reasons behind them, and help them understand.3 Dual, mutual respect is a beautiful thing. We’re all humans here.

  • Customer Service wants to talk – They really do want to help. Speedy Cash Customer Support shared they encourage Customers to call in their time of need. And it’s a privilege to help our Customers.
  • Enlightenment – Customer Service may know of info, payment options, incentives, and refunds a regular Customer wouldn’t know.
  • Build a bond – Have a connection with the company. Brands appreciate loyalty and could reward you for it.

Everyone’s best interest

Per a Microsoft Customer Service Report, 96% of the surveyed said Customer Service plays a role in their selection of and fidelity to a brand.4 So it’s in everyone’s best interest – companies and consumers alike – to invest in healthy Customer Service-to-Customer engagement. Remember to keep your cool, be organized, practice your points, keep the conversation flowing, and be respectful on both sides of the phone or message exchange.

Sources:

  1. Staff. (2021, September 9). Economic News Release. Consumer Expenditures—2020. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm 
  2. Wood Brooks, A. (2015, December). Negotiation Strategies. Emotion and the Art of Negotiation. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2015/12/emotion-and-the-art-of-negotiation 
  3. Staff. (2017, February 24). How to Negotiate and Keep Customers Happy. Retrieved from: https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/negotiate-price-keeping-customers-happy/
  4. Staff. (2017). 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report. Retrieved from: http://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-CNTNT-Report-DynService-2017-global-state-customer-service-en-au.pdf 
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