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Have you ever had to call your credit card customer support line?
Maybe you had a complaint about the service, didn’t receive your bill in the mail, or simply had a question. Maybe you made a late payment for the first time in your life and wanted to request for your credit card company to waive the late fee.
You may dread dialing that 1-800 number for a credit card company’s customer support, expecting an automated menu maze, hassles, or even representatives on the other line that don’t speak fluent English. First, stop thinking that way! Follow these tips to deal with customer support easily, get what you want, and create a pleasant experience for everyone — on both sides of the phone line. After all, the representatives on the other end of the line are only doing their job — and, let’s admit, it’s not the greatest job in the world. They sit on the phone all day listening to people complain about policies, fees, charges and, well, poor customer service.
1. Speak to a human being within seconds.
Most credit card customer support lines don’t have long waits — once you can get through. The website www.gethuman.com provides a fairly comprehensive list of how to surpass automated menus for a variety of banks, credit card providers and other major corporations. If your credit card company isn’t listed, or you know exactly what you want, listen carefully to the choices so you can hit the right button. Nothing’s more frustrating than having your mind drift when that voice says, “Press 7 for…” and you realize you missed the option you want and you have to listen to the choices all over again.
2. Have your information ready.
It’s more difficult for the credit card company to help you if you don’t have your account number. Have your account number and your card’s expiration date in hand, along with any specific information you need related to your question or complaint.
3. Don’t give away more than they ask for — and don’t share your social security number with the representative.
The representative may want to verify your information, including your address or social security number. Just confirm if it’s correct. Don’t volunteer your social security number. They don’t need it if they have your account number. This isn’t about being a difficult customer; it’s about protecting your identity.
4. Make your request, sharing the reasons.
Be human and reasonable about it. Don’t go on the defensive or act aggressive at the beginning of the call. Simply ask your question or make your request. The representative might say yes without an argument. Problem solved, call over.
5. Speak to a supervisor.
If the person on the line can’t accommodate you, ask to speak to a supervisor rather than arguing. The representative really may not have the authority to honor your request. If this is your second call regarding the same issue, save time by asking for a supervisor immediately.
6. Be stern, but friendly.
Again, this is not the time to attack or provoke. Explain that you understand the other representative couldn’t accommodate you, but you’re hoping the supervisor can, and repeat your request.
7. Stay calm, but threaten if necessary.
Let’s say you’re requesting to have your interest rate lowered because you’ve made timely payments for more than a year. The supervisor says no. Now’s the time to mention that received a better offer from Card XYZ and you can (and will) initiate a balance transfer and close your account if they can’t lower your interest rate. Stay calm, confident, and unemotional — and ready to call their bluff.
8. Know when to give up.
Sometimes, you truly can’t fight City Hall. (Or Citibank or any other major credit card provider!) It’s not worth the aggravation to get upset when you see you’re losing the battle. Hang up, continue making timely payments, and work on improving your credit to put yourself in a better negotiating position.
Of course, if your complaint is about fraudulent or incorrect charges or merchandise you want to return, you should pursue it. Send a letter to the credit card company or initiate a charge back. Look for other ways to get the results you want.