Tips & Tricks: How to Be Polite to a Customer Service Agent

Calls to customer service lines. We've all made them, and throughout our lives, we will continue to make them. These calls are sometimes pleasant and helpful. Often times, they aren't.

I have worked as a customer service phone representative and let me tell you, it is no walk in the park. The customers calling are typically irate, deeply saddened or stressed, or some combination of the three. These calls can be stressful, blood-pressure raising and sometimes downright offensive.

Here are some tips on how to be polite to the person on the other end of the phone (yes, person- remember that customer service reps are people, too!) This polite and kind attitude might just get you what you want and/or need by the end of the phone call, and they will hang up thinking what a nice human being you are. Win-win for everyone!

Step #1: State your identity and purpose. 
Example, when calling your bank customer service hotline: "Hi my name is Christine, I am a [bank name] debit card holder, and I am calling with questions about activity on my debit account."

This informs the representative who you are, why you are calling, and immediately flags for them if you've even called the right department. State your identity and purpose with enough concise detail that the rep will instantly know if their department is the appropriate one to help you. If you are a debit card holder and you accidentally called the credit card customer service line, chances are that representative cannot help you. Why not figure that out upfront before you launch into a long-winded story?

Step #2: Immediately ask what other information they need to continue the call. 
"What information do you need from me to continue?"
Example: the rep might ask for your debit card number or other identifying information.

Providing the necessary information upfront not only speeds up the phone call, it informs the representative that you know what you're doing and you value your time.

Step #3: Say please and thank you.
Back to the basics here, people. Say please when you make a request and say thank you when the request is being completed. Simple as that. If you call in a horrible, angry mood with a bad attitude, guess what - that doesn't make the person want to help you more. If you are polite and kind, it will probably surprise them enough to want to go the extra mile for you.

Step #4: Remember that Customer Service Representatives are NOT your therapist.
Maybe in the heated moment you think they should be, but it's not their job. They do not need to hear about your personal problems UNLESS they pertain SPECIFICALLY to the reason you are calling. If you are calling your bank to report identity theft, the customer service rep on the line does not also need to hear about how your dog's death or the jerk who rear ended you last week. This might sound harsh, but it's true. It's not their job to listen to you lay down a load of woes and problems. Occasionally you might get the nice representative who has a human response to your troubles and empathizes with you, but remember that often times these reps have to follow a script. Why launch into something emotional and personal when they can't do anything about it, and probably can't talk to you about it like a friend or loved one could?

Step #5: Remember that Customer Service Representatives are NOT your punching bag. 
You do not have the right to swear at them, threaten them, or verbally abuse them in any way. This behavior is inappropriate and unacceptable.

I hope these five tips help you have more pleasant and helpful customer service calls in the future!

And remember, no matter how angry and disappointed you might be with the call, it is never appropriate to just hang up on the

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