Saturday, February 11, 2012

Customer service

So you’ve booked a plane ticket and the service was horrible, maybe you booked a hotel only to find out it wasn’t what it looked like on their website. Perhaps you are looking to buy something but would like numerous people’s opinion of it rather than some critic, or you are looking to see if that gift you got two months ago is being recalled. Maybe you are just plain old trying to get ahold of an actual customer service rep on the phone, instead of a computerized voice leading you on without getting an answer. Whatever it is that ails you, I am going to try and help you out by sharing some tips with you, so let’s get started…
 


I’m going to start off with one of my favorites Tripadvisor; this site will let you read reviews that others have left on there about Hotels, Vacation Rentals, Attractions or Restaurants. Honestly this is a must for anyone planning on traveling to a new destination, or even an old one for that matter. The site is easy to navigate and is well established so there are a lot of reviews to go thru, so chances are you’ll find what you are looking for. 
 (Link)



Next let’s talk about one of my other favorite websites to visit, GetHuman. Now this website is usually just U.S. companies, but recently they’ve expanded to include other major international companies. What this site does is pretty cool; it gathers the phone numbers and recently the e-mails and live chat links of companies. Then they find out, by asking users to contribute, how to navigate those annoying navigation menus on the phones so that you can actually speak to a human being. Pretty neat huh? This way you can cut down on the time spent waiting on the phone, or you can even dial a company’s call back number where you can leave YOUR number and they call you back when a service customer rep is available.
 Now this next site is for U.S. and Canada only, meaning it only rates companies in those countries. BBB, also known as the Better Business Bureau, is an organization that does a number of things. Among those is help settle disputes between customers and businesses, they also issue accreditation to businesses that are known to listen to customer complaints and address them quickly. They also protect both consumers and businesses alike by investigating and exposing fraud and they maintain certain standards for truthful advertising. In short, they help us find a good reputable company that does business the right way. *Disclaimer – Lately the BBB has been accused of taking bribes for accreditation, but as of yet it has not been proven. So continue to be vigilant and do more research, just in case.





Up next is a site that you have to be understand one thing about, this one is mainly written by people like you and me. Meaning some people rant and rave without any merit, so sometimes what they say is not trustworthy but I still wanted to include it because it might just come in handy. It’s called Rip-off Report; on there you can read about people’s gripes about different companies. There is even an alphabetized list you can scroll thru so you can read up on those companies, some stuff is very credible but other stuff is just outright hilarious!




Next up is The Consumerist, now this site is a well-established website whose parent company also owns the magazine Consumer Reports. Here is an excerpt from their site “The Consumerist empowers consumers by informing and entertaining them about the top consumer issues of the day. We are a leading online resource for consumer-driven advice about dealing with everything from non-existent customer service to onerous cell-phone contracts to ever-shrinking (and ever-more-expensive) grocery products." It's definetly got some interesting stories, and how it differs to me from Rip-off Reports is that the site's staff follows up on the stories.




This site is called Consumer Affairs and it has recall information, consumer news, scams among other things. Trust me when I tell you that it’s very informative…





If you ever wanted to hear what other people like you and me feel about a certain product, then this is the place for you. Epinions is a site where people like you and me can come and give our opinion, or read others opinion on a wide range of products.






Airline complaints, need I say more? This website offers a venue for people that have a… that’s right, complaint about an airline. Most major airlines have their own section and some topics are just hilarious while others are genuine and informative.
 



Now if you are asking yourself, Why is Edgar Sr. covering sites that only seem to be geared for U.S. and/or Canadian customers? Think again… How many of my readers live outside the U.S. and buy stuff online from U.S. companies and have it shipped to their country? Uh, yeah!

So anyways, keep in mind that these sites while informative should not be used as the sole source of information. Understand that other people will have different experiences than you, use these sites well and find yourself having fewer problems by being well informed. If you like this post, please comment. If you think you have a site others should know about, please comment. Thanks for stopping by!

2 comments:

  1. Good post, Edgar. I haven't heard of most of those sites but will definitely check them out.

    Whoever uses any of those sites, especially Trip Advisor, on a regular basis should return the favor and post their own reviews to give feedback based on their experiences. That's the only way those sites succeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you H Abul, Trip Advisor, GetHuman and BBB are my 3 top favorite sites. But I'll be honest, BBB is getting a bad rep lately because it's been said that they get bribed to get a good standing so I'll keep an eye out for that.

      You are right about Trip Advisor, I do try and comment on that sometimes and on places like Amazon.com as well. Because like you said if one of us doesn't comment and you start adding those up to all the other ones that don't comment, it could make a difference.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete