Have you ever been cheated?  Has your insurance ever arbitrarily denied a righteous claim?  Have you ever been overcharged or underserved?  Has your reservation, or your luggage, ever been lost?  If so, you have probably been ignored, misled, blown off, lied to, and infuriated by A customer service representatives and others whose job it is to prevent you from obtaining the relief you deserve and costing their employer money.  Here are 7 crucial strategies you must use to deal with these people and win what you have coming to you:

Document Everything!

Make sure you write down who you talked to, when you talked to them, what they said, what you requested, their name and identifying number and anything else which occurred upon every interaction with the company.  If you don=t write it down, they can deny it ever happened, and you can=t prove otherwise.  You should also confirm in writing with a letter or email. If it=s not documented, it didn’t happen!

Go To The Top!

Most customer service reps or agents don’t have much, if any, authority to give you what you want.  Many are overseas.  They have strict parameters about what they are allowed to promise or give.  Even their supervisors or managers have similar restrictions.   At the very least, request the highest level manager you can connect with or obtain the phone number, address or fax number of that manager, and deal directly with him or her if you cannot obtain relief immediately from the agent.  Better still, obtain information about the legal department claims section or corporate headquarters and go there.   The higher you go, the better your chances to get you what you what.

Be Persistent!

Many companies employ strategies designed to wear you down, hoping you will give up before you force them to give you what you deserve.  They keep you on hold forever, tell you they will get back to you but never do, even promise they will make it right but never follow through.  They play a shell game and constantly shift the responsibility for your claim from one agent to another.  I remember it took me literally years to get a corrupt former power company to reverse a bogus charge.  Make sure you set aside enough time to see the job through.  Delegate to or share time consuming tasks with other family or team members.  Keep after it.  Call or write every day if you have to until the job is done.   Never quit!

Use The Honey Before You Go To The Vinegar!

At least at the beginning, be nice!  There is a person on the other end of that line, and he (or she) is just trying to do his job, and it=s probably a lousy job! Help him help you.  If you are nice, and take a genuine interest, he will probably do all he can to help. He may even give you some inside information or advice to help you prevail on the next level, if he can=t get you where you want to go.  To quote the late Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, ABe nice, until it=s time to not be nice!@

Make A Decision Ahead Of Time!

Before you embark on this journey, make sure it=s worth it to you.  Is it really worth 10 hours of your time to reduce a $75 charge to $55, because the online retailer did not process your $20 coupon?  That=s $2.00 per hour, less that 1/3 of minimum wage!  Wouldn’t you rather be with your kids, or playing golf, or earning what you can earn by working 10 hours? Think it through, for you!

Be Right

Have you ever considered the possibility that you could be wrong, and wasting your time? Before you start this process, read the contract. Review the facts.  Check your sources.  Is that family member you are relying on to make your case a reliable source of information?  Don’t guess or speculate.  Every week, sometimes every day of the week, I find out that I was wrong when I was almost sure I was right.  Just ask my wife!  But I’ve learned to check my facts before I go and run my mouth, and that keeps me from wasting my time in futile disputes.  Be right first.  Don=t waste your time.

Call the Right Lawyer

What if you’ve used all 6 strategies, and a few of your own, and you’ve still gotten nowhere?  Seek legal advice.  An ethical lawyer will tell you what you should do, whether you should do anything, and, if appropriate, what legal action he can take on your behalf.