It’s one of the biggest consumer frustrations — when you need to get a hold of a company to resolve a problem and they make it next to impossible to do so.
If you’re struggling to contact a company, and they’re either not responding to the channels they offer or don’t provide one to begin with, here are six quick tips for gaming the system to decrease your frustration and increase your chances of a resolution.
No one wants to admit they’ve made a mistake — least of all the buyer — but we’re starting with this tip because it’ll save you plenty of embarrassment and crow-eating down the road.
Frustration can cause us to rush and overlook things: the difference between a brand’s U.S. and Canada domains, customer support versus IT support and which offices house which departments. Maybe they’ve moved, or have more than one Twitter handle for multiple purposes. Take a few moments when you’re at your chillest to visit the company’s website and look it over thoroughly for customer service contact info. Then, confirm you’re actually calling or emailing the right person/department/division. Absolutely sure? Move on down the list.
If the company you’re trying to contact has a website, they have a listing on WHOIS, which publishes the legally required name and contact information for every registered domain name.
Sometimes, however, you’ll find the domain is registered to an individual, a different or parent company or a third party (such as a web design or hosting firm) — bringing you back to square one. While these listings may not always contain the information you need, it’s a quick and easy starting point to find someone’s digits if you can’t find them anywhere else.
The next logical step is to pull up a fresh tab and start poking around on everyone’s favorite Valley-born genius. Although brands want Google to index their website, however, they might make their contact info harder to find. Want it to pop up? Try searching the name of the company, “+contact.” For example, “SolarCity+contact.” Behold, a service number.
A few similar Boolean search expressions can be just as helpful in making this a quick in-and-out process. Just fill in the search bar with the info you already have, plus what you don’t:
Several websites now take the place of the old-fashioned Yellow Pages, which anyone over 30 should remember bringing inside from the front porch every few months. These directories aren’t always perfectly up to date, but unless a company is very new or very secretive, they should have some contactable presence in one or more of the following:
While this is one of the first methods you’d think of these days, it’s low on the list simply because each network is a public forum, and therefore tends to be too cluttered for airing a complaint to which you’d get a response. As it is, nearly half of U.S. firms with Twitter handles stink at responding to @ mentions of any kind, according to a survey by Brandwatch. Sad but true.
But, if you’ve exhausted other options and still haven’t been able to reach a human, locate the company’s Twitter, Facebook page or LinkedIn company page and give them a serious shout. Start with private options like a Direct Message on Twitter or a Message on Facebook as opposed to a public call out on their primary feed; these often push notifications via email, exposing them a bit more. If staying on the down-low doesn’t work, though, a public rant can always get their attention if they care how it looks to other users.
The company you’re trying to get a hold of may have a physical brick and mortar, store outlet or related facility you can visit in person, and that’s a near-guaranteed method of getting the attention and resolution your problem deserves. Just keep in mind the individual(s) you deal with at the store probably had nothing at all to do with the quality of the product you received, and are likely just trying to help from the start. Direct your disappointment to the right places.
Using these handy tips, you should be able to start gaming the system and locate a useful phone number, email address or, at the very least, an old-fashioned postal address where you can have your complaint heard.