Thursday, June 23, 2011


Calling to complain and get satisfaction grows more and more frustrating. Reaching someone whose first language is English is increasingly rare. Calling these Call Centers becomes a match of wits and patience. It drives Team CHEAPIOSITY crazy, and we're sure it does you as well.

Spend some time preparing and researching; we promise your time spent will pay off.

Here are some of our own personal (and oft-proven) tips on how to get a Manager on the phone in case the first customer service person you reach offers no help. It's gotten to the point where sometimes we have to say, "Is this customer service?" When the voice at the other end replies, "Yes," we answer, "Well I'm the customer; where's the service?"

But we digress.....Here are five ways to reach a manager quickly and directly:

1. Knock on the front door
In almost every case, our recommendation is to use the online form to contact the company first. Send a brief, polite email through the site. Keep a copy for yourself, just in case the browser “eats” your note, which has been known to happen. Your grievance might be addressed in a timely manner, but it probably won’t be. If it isn’t, then at least you have a (virtual) paper trail to prove you tried to get your problem resolved through channels.

Companies (and consumer advocates) frown on people who go straight to the top without giving the customer-service department a chance to help. Be sure to keep all the emails between you and the company.

2. Ask for a manager
Before going on a wild goose-chase in search of the right name, why not ask? If your email correspondence is hitting a dead end, then ask if you can have the email reviewed by a supervisor. You never know – it could be forwarded to someone in authority who can give your complaint the attention and consideration it deserves.

Don't hold your breath. Usually, you’re told that the answer from the company is “final” and that a manager is unavailable. The company is wrong on both counts.

3. Go hunting!
Start with a simple search, using terms like the company name and “vice president” — in quotes – and “customer service.” Often, that yields a name of a current vice president in charge of service, but an email address may not be readily available. Ironically, companies go to great lengths to conceal the phone numbers and email addresses of their top customer-service managers because they don’t want people contacting them. (That backfires when angry customers take them to court, but we digress.) In order to find an email address, add the term “email” or “e-mail” to the search. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.

4. Search the site
Assuming that you've found a name but no email address, your next step is to search the company’s site. You can do that by typing the prefix “site:” followed by the company URL and then “e-mail.” This will only search the company’s site, yielding any instances of the word “email.” You won’t find the name of your manager, but you will find out the company’s email convention, which is usually either or Now try the same thing for a phone number. You should be able to get the main company number, and that’s all you need.

5. Put it all together
If you’re trying to call the VP, phone the main number, dial “O” and ask for the person by name, or use the automated phone tree to dial by last name. You may get through to an executive assistant, or you may get voice mail. Either way, leave a short, polite message with your relevant details. Now it’s time to guess the email address of your vice president. Use the naming convention from the last tip. Now visit this site ( to see if the email address works. Once you’ve verified it, you’re free to send an email.

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