Customer Service, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

Life in the USA is a complete guide to American life for immigrants and Americans. All materials on this site Copyright © Elliot Essman 2014. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    Next

Life in the USA
Public Services II
Consumer Issues

Customer Service
In the highly competitive American business environment, customer service is an important topic. Many goods and services are substantially similar to each other, and so companies strive to give better customer service and attract loyal clienteles.

Most large stores, mail order companies and Internet merchants have specialized customer service departments. These departments help customers resolve problems, or provide special services such as the purchase of gift cards, membership renewals in the case of warehouse clubs, and discount cards in the case of supermarkets. Customer service desks in stores might also deal with returns and exchanges.

The most important thing to do when dealing with a customer service department is to be very clear about the nature of your problem or inquiry. If you have a complaint or negative comment about services or products, speak politely, in a calm voice. The customer service specialist is there to help.

Many people think customer service efforts, based on obvious training, can sometimes go too far and appear artificial. At many supermarkets, for example, the checker will routinely ask you “Did you find everything all right?” The need to nod or say “yes, of course” can become rather annoying the seventeenth time it occurs. Customer service personnel may also seem patronizing in their choice of vocabulary and in the vocal tone they use, as if they assume you lack basic intelligence. It is best not to take this personally; they do not know you and are only trying to help.

One thing you do need to be aware of when dealing with customer service departments is that they might try to sell you additional (or more expensive) products or services, once they have your attention. There is nothing wrong with this, providing you really want to buy.


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