For those who know me well, know that I like to avoid conflict. I am still trying to figure out why I am that way or whether I had a bad experience with it, but I tend to shy away from conflict. Whether it is a falling out with friends or poor customer service, I usually just let it go. I generally do whatever it takes to not cause a scene. Whether it is the universe trying to teach me a new lesson or just plain bad luck, I have experienced a number of things that I just couldn’t give up.
Possible Reason Why I Avoid Conflict
Growing up as a child, I have a few distinct memories of my family experiencing poor customer service. Yet, it wasn’t the service that I remember. In fact, it was my father ‘raising a stink.’ It seemed like no matter what happened, if we somehow got cheated, even if it was small, my dad was asking to speak to the manager or on the phone giving his two cents. That’s right – my dad always had to get fair treatment. He never wanted to be mistreated and if he was, he was going to make sure it was corrected.
While it may not have been this bad, I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh no… here we go,” knowing full well that my dad was about to raise his voice or tell them how it was bad service. I don’t mean to say that my father was picky, hard to please, or even that he lost his temper easily. None of these things are true. BUT… if he didn’t receive what he was promised, he was active in finding a way to receive it.
You see… I told myself that I would never be this way. Sure, if there was something significant, I would make sure that I got a quality service or product. But, if it was something small, I would just let it go. That’s what I told myself, at least.
Two Experiences of Poor Service
A few weeks ago, I was gearing up for the best birthday ever. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but I knew that the big celebration was going to be going out to eat. I wanted to make the most of it and so I did research. I even asked all of my readers which restaurant to choose. Thanks to you who gave me ideas. I ended up going to the Cheesecake factory because I like their cheesecake and could get a free scoop of ice cream. Or so they said. They ended up not offering me any free food and instead I ate my cheesecake (that I paid for) without any ice cream. What to do? Accept that I got stiffed and learn my lesson? Or do something about it?
To make a long story short, I decided to start a twitter campaign against the Cheesecake factory so that people would know not to expect any free ice cream. While I am not sure if people who go there for their birthday will now receive free ice cream, I did get a personal letter from the manager of the local restaurant, accompanied by a $10 giftcard. Cha-ching!
In addition to this, I was recently reviewing my credit card statement (like I always do in order to track my spending and find any possible mistakes) when I realized there was a fee on my credit card statement. This never happens. And when I say never, I mean that I have never paid a fee for any credit card…ever! I always pay my card off each month and never pay interest. Well, my credit card company *cough* Chase *cough* decided to charge me interest because I supposedly didn’t pay my bill in full. When I first called and found out the reason, I was surprised and didn’t know what to say. I said thanks and that I was surprised.
I looked at my statement again and did some research. I always pay my bill the exact same way and always use the check box (radial button, if you know what that is) that indicates the amount of the statement balance. I did issue a payment for that month, it just wasn’t the full amount. I knew something wasn’t up. I did enough research to gather that there was a computer glitch and the online system issued the same amount from my previous statement, thereby leaving me a couple hundred dollars short. I was then charged interest on the balance because I didn’t pay it off. When I called again (I just couldn’t let this one go), I explained the situation and pushed my reasoning on the woman who answered. She agreed to remove the fee this once and I gained another $25.
Should You Make a Scene?
While I was reluctant to be like my dad, I am learning that you have to speak up for yourself. Customer service agents will try to give the typical response, but if you plead your case (assuming you have one to begin with), my experience tells me that you have a good chance of getting what you deserved. But don’t take it too far. If you decide to speak up for yourself, you have to learn the skills of negotiation.
How to Get What You Want
In case you are wondering how you might handle these sorts of situations in the future, here are some general tips to get what you deserve:
- No matter how small, ask someone to do something about it.
- If the first person tells you “No,” ask to speak to their manager
- ALWAYS be polite. Yelling may tell them this is serious, but it is much easier to get your way when you are kind.
- Explain yourself fully, explaining why you are right.
- Get others to support you in your campaign
Do you speak up for yourself when you experience poor customer experience? Or do you just accept it?