We’ve all had that horrible feeling that comes when you realize that a product or service you have purchased is not working and you are going to have to call a company’s customer service line.

These are undeniably tough calls to make. Not only do you have to take time out of your working hours to spend time on the phone with someone who may or may not be super inclined to help you, but there is also no guarantee that the time and energy you spend on that phone call is going to result in any semblance of success!

There are right ways to contact a company’s customer service line and there are wrong ways. Truth is, one of the best ways to get what you want out of a customer service call is to know how to get what you want.

So, take a deep breath, center your mind, and prepare to learn how to turn insufferable into the productive! Here are the seven best steps to getting what you need out of customer service reps.

1. Get cool and collected


Before you even pick up your phone, take a brief moment to clarify what the problem is that you are dealing with and what the ultimate goal for your call is.

Whether it’s settling or understanding a bill that you have to pay, or trying to get your air conditioner to start working again, try to figure out the clearest way to explain the issue you are facing so that the person you are speaking with can understand the issue!

Taking a couple of minutes to calm down before you start dialing. Chances are, you’ll get more out of the call if you do.

2. Be polite – or at least fake being polite

This might seem like the hardest thing to possibly do at this moment, but you need to remember that the issue you are facing is not the fault of the person you are talking to. It is also important to remember that while they are not to blame, they could very well help you!

A kind greeting, asking them their name and how their day is going, and thanking them for the help that they may be able to offer you, can go a really long way in solving the issue at hand.

3. Get to the bottom line


Customer service representatives are often judged by their superiors in terms of how many calls they are able to take within a finite period of time, how closely they are able to follow the company’s script, and what percentage of calls they receive are solved.

Keeping that in mind, take advantage of the fact that reps are inclined to solve your problem and solve it quickly! For that reason, get to the bottom line of what you need and avoid long, drawn-out explanations of what issues you are facing and what you need to do in order to solve them.

4. Suggest a solution

Customer service reps are not minded readers and cannot come up with the perfect solution all on their own. For that reason, it helps to state your desired outcome shortly after the start of your call.

You also should take a step back and decide whether or not your desired outcome is actually fair and doable. What is your ideal situation and what would you settle for?

While you can certainly keep information like what you would settle for in your back pocket, being somewhat forthright with who you are talking to can definitely help them – and you – out.

5. Make your value as a customer clear


Sometimes it is important to sell yourself and defend your value as a loyal and valuable customer. If you’ve been a customer for years, now it is time to remind your customer service rep about that!

Sure, this isn’t guaranteed to work 100 percent of the time but at least giving the person you are talking to a bit more information on why they should want to help you is something that can certainly help you bet the most out of your customer service call.

6. Don’t get panicked. Get serious

If your initial plan is not going to plan, you might start to panic a bit and feel like things are spiraling out of control.

This can happen when you feel like you are not being heard or understood.

When this occurs, it is not time to raise your voice or hang up in anger. It is, however, the time to calmly escalate the situation. What this most often means is asking to speak with a supervisor or manager. Someone who is higher up within the company who may have more power when it comes to their ability to help you.

However, you should remember that asking to speak to a supervisor will not always solve your problems – and will not even always end up with you actually speaking with a supervisor.

Sometimes when you ask for this kind of treatment, you will actually be directed to just another customer service rep who has been directed to deal with the problem calls. This means their primary goal will not be to solve your issue, but instead get you off the phone.

For that reason, one smart way to escalate is to figure out how to make sure you are talking to an actual manager or supervisor by finding a separate number and contacting that one.

One fantastic way to get customer service numbers is to head to and search the company you are trying to reach.

7. Recap the phone call


Once you get to the end of your call – whether it is a success or failure – you want to get a recap of the call. What you asked for, what was achieved – if anything – and what the next steps will be.

While you’re at it, make sure to log some quick notes to document your conversation. Especially if you think you will be making another call in the future. You may even want to ask for a reference number so that the person you talk to next will be able to get some quick notes on your previous call.

If, however, the customer service rep has managed to solve all your issues, you will want to politely thank them for their help and ask if there is any way you can help make their lives easier. It sometimes feel quite good to leave a positive review of a CSR that has helped make your life easier.

Good luck!