Why Speaking with a Manager won’t actually help you

Karen: The speak-to-the-manager anti-vaxxer mom turned meme - Vox

So we’ve all seen the memes. We all know the classic phrase of “Can I speak with your manager please?” when working in customer services.

Straight away, let me tell you secret. 9/10 times the manager you will be speaking with won’t actually know anything about what you want to talk about. They aren’t normally technically trained, or understand how your product work. In addition, they normally do not have a higher limit for goodwill gestures, or similar either. If anything, they are stuck with a limit and cannot go any higher.

So why is there a common misconception that managers will help and do anything for a customer when they request it?

Well, many years ago this was the case that managers did have more authority, and more power than the representative you’re speaking with. However, as the years gone by, managers have more and more work to do, and less time to actually speak with customers. In addition, they won’t be flexible and brake some rules/policies because they report directly to either Directors, Senior Managers or similar. Therefore, they are more exposed to disciplinary action or similar.

However, in these days, the representative you are speaking with is encouraged to use best judgement when it comes to offering goodwill gestures, or working around strict policies etc. For example, in my industry, a manager has a remit of up to £120 to provide to a customer. They cannot go above this for any reason, and if they want to offer more, then they have to seek authorisation from head office and they normally say no.

Whereas on the contrary to that, I do not have a remit. I do not have an upper limit that I am bound by. As long as I can justify the reason behind providing someone with that goodwill gesture, then I could (in theory) give away thousands!

So if you want to try and get more out of a goodwill gesture, there are some things that you can do that will help your case.

  1. Never shout, swear, insult, demean, bully, or be mean to the representative. They may sound like they care, however, they don’t. And when you shout, swear etc. they will not offer anything to you. Absolutely nothing.
  2. If you are offered goodwill, and a value has been set, just simply ask the question of “Is there a scenario in which that value might increase?”
  3. Thank the representative for their offer. That doesn’t take much.
  4. If you want a higher price, you need to justify it to us. Tell us why. Just because you want more money is not a reason. If you believe you deserve more because the cost of petrol and parking hasn’t been factored into it, then ask if it was. If it’s because you’re going to be out of pocket, then absolutely justify it with actual figures and not wishes
  5. Let’s say you were offered £50 for example, and you actually want £60. Simply ask, “I will accept your offer of £50, however, because of the cost of parking and petrol, is it at all possible that the offer could be increased to £60 to include this?”
  6. Never say it isn’t good enough. As soon as you say that, you will not be getting anything more. No matter who you speak with (manager or not).

Ultimately, when dealing with someone who works in a call centre, they are humans, who do the same tasks, the same conversations for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (sometimes more because of overtime) and they are normally burnt out.

Shouting, screaming, swearing at someone will not get you anywhere. Remember, you are talking to a human and after that call, you will be made fun of, and will be laughed at, and you will not like to actually hear what that person will call you. Because I can guarantee, whatever you called that representative, they will call you something worse in return.

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