Become a great customer by reading the guide for customers full of quick tips from a seasoned customer service employee.

The nightmare customer. We all know the type. The one who forgets that they’re talking to an actual human being as they send condescending emails, threaten to leave nasty reviews about your company and don’t hold back in the least in telling you how they really feel.

Sure, maybe their frustration can be partially justified. Maybe something was missing from their order or they haven’t heard back in a timely manner. But that doesn’t necessarily call for those types of reactions and more than likely there’s a more polite way to go about things.

If you ask anyone who has spent enough time in a customer support role, I think they’d agree it’s an experience everyone should have. Working directly with people truly humbles you, not to mention it’s eye opening in terms of all the different types of people you’re bound to come in contact with.

It also sets the foundation for how to be a great customer (or at least not a rude one) because it allows you to able to put yourself in the customer support person’s shoes and relate.

But let’s face it, that’s not always possible.

So, how can you be a dream customer that companies love and want to go above and beyond for? Check out this practical guide for customers from a seasoned customer service employee:

guide for customers

Prepare Yourself

Get clear on what you need help with before reaching out to support. Prepare, come with questions and actually know what you need help with.

Come with any documents, links, screenshots, order numbers or receipts (you get the picture) necessary. Being vague only leaves room for unnecessary back and forth.

Maybe that sounds obvious but often people are so caught up in the drama of whatever is going on and the need to get in contact ASAP (or so they think) that they didn’t actually take time to get clear on what it is they even need. Yes, you might need help. But step back, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts for a moment before urgently contact customer support. It will make the whole process a lot smoother for both parties.

guide for customers

Set Realistic Expectations

We’re all guilty of it. Wanting it all and wanting it now, that is. Hate to break it to you but for most of the world that’s just not how it works. Often we set our expectations too high or paint a vision that is so far from reality. We end up disappointed in the end because those expectations weren’t met.

The same is true in the realm of customer service. We expect support teams to bend to our every need no matter (and they better do it fast). Well, remember what I said about us all being humans? Sometimes there’s only so much the support team can do for you.

Working directly with people truly humbles you, not to mention it’s eye opening in terms of all the different types of people you’re bound to come in contact with. Click To Tweet

Help Companies Deliver Better Customer Experience

Of course, companies should be aiming to give the best care possible and handle your issues but at the end of the day each company is different in how they deliver that. Sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with bigger companies, that means you’ll have to wait a little because of the large volume of support tickets the team is handling (or prioritization).

On the flip side, you might be pleasantly surprised with a smaller company who is able to focus solely on you and your needs without a company script to read form. The point here is, remember that every business is different so adjust your expectations accordingly.

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Oh, and just a friendly reminder, if and when you do come into a company with a team who has really gone above and beyond for you – spread the word! Let that person know, tell a manager, send out a happy tweet. It truly means a lot. Not only in terms of brand awareness but whoever was able to help you will no doubt be happy to hear they did a great job.

guide for customers

Don’t shoot the messenger

One of the tips in this guide for customers is to respect company policies. If your coupon is expired, don’t argue with the poor sales rep who’s trying to do their job. And no, it’s not their fault either if you didn’t read the fine print about the return policy or how to work a product.

It’s one thing to expect great service and another to expect great service to mean that the company needs to bend over backwards and give in to your every demand. There are often policies in place that whoever is helping you can do little to change. It’s not necessarily that they don’t like you as a person. No matter how persistent you are or how badly they’d love to bend the rules it could cost them their job.

guide for customers

Limit venting and check your attitude

Look, I get it. When something goes wrong it’s easy to let your emotions take rein. You want to complain, vent, yell, let it all out. There’s a reason why people are more likely to leave a negative review or throw shade via social media vs. leaving compliments.

However, we’re all adults here and just like they taught us back in school, acting that way is less likely to get you what you want. As I mentioned above, check in with yourself for a second. Are you contacting support to complain or do you actually want help? Are you going to take their advice? Be real.

When you do come into a company with a team who has really gone above and beyond for you - spread the word! Click To Tweet

If you’re just angry, let yourself simmer for a moment. Often once the initial shock of the situation wears off we’re able to see things a little more clearly. Don’t let hiding behind a computer screen, phone or the fact that you don’t know this person personally be an excuse to be rude.

And please – unless a company has shipped you the wrong order, refused to refund you and then try to compromise by offering you 10% of your money back but only if you pay the ridiculous shipping fees to return your order – don’t threaten them with negative reviews or harass them. (In case you’re wondering about that hyper-specific example, yes, that actually happened to me.)

guide for customers

Don’t forget respect and compassion

Last but certainly not least, show a little compassion and be respectful. This should go without saying but here’s a reminder anyway.

Just as you expect respect and compassion from a customer support rep, they expect the same from you. Honestly, things are just so much easier when those two are present. You might be angry, fed up, annoyed, or a thousand other adjectives for mad but yelling, belittling and acting like a general a-hole isn’t going to get you anywhere. As the old cliche goes, treat people how you want to be treated.


About the author

Mariana Ruiz is a copywriter + blogger with a background in customer support and digital marketing. She uses her experience and storytelling superpowers to create content for brands + businesses she loves. Connect with Mariana on LinkedIn!

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