Calling customer service is often a frustrating experience. You are put on hold multiple times only to find out that no one can help resolve your problem. Plus, with multiple customer service scams out there, even getting in touch with customer support can pose a challenge.

Whether you need to cancel a subscription service, ask about an unexpected charge, or get help with a technical issue, the following tips can help you have a better customer service experience.

Need customer service help? Follow these tips: 

  • Think about customer service BEFORE you do business with a company. Evaluating a company’s customer service before you do business with them can save you a lot of headaches down the road. If a company is lacking customer service contact information, that’s a red flag right away. Even if they have working customer service information, read customer reviews to see if they are easy to reach and friendly and willing to help.
  • Prepare before you call, email, or chat. Before you contact customer service, do a little research on your problem. Visit the company’s official website (double-check the URL to make sure you aren’t on a fake website) and look for an FAQ or troubleshooting page. You may find the answer to your question and not need to contact the company at all. Even if you don’t find your solution, take notes on what you’ve researched so you can let the customer service representative know what you’ve already tried to resolve the issue.
  • Make sure you have the right number. Before you dial up customer service, make sure you have the official number. Fake tech support number scams have claimed many victims. A quick online search could bring up a fake customer support number, so make sure you visit the official website of the company you are trying to contact to confirm the customer service phone number.
  • Have your information on hand. Have any account details you need ready to go, including order numbers, account numbers, and any other details that are relevant.
  • Be careful with your personal information. According to one study, 56% of customers don’t mind sharing their personal information in exchange for better service. You may need to share some information with your customer service rep. But whether you are emailing, chatting, or calling, make sure you are communicating with the official source. If the customer service representative starts asking for information unrelated or a little too personal, don’t be quick to share it. Instead, question why they need it. If they can’t give you a reason or respond to your questions in anger, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
  • Call when wait times are shorter. According to Talkdesk, early in the morning and Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to call customer service. They found that customer service is 7% faster on those days than on other weekdays.
  • Take notes. Ask for a ticket or reference number when you speak with customer service. This can help speed things up if your problem isn’t resolved right away and you need to call back. Get the agent’s name you speak with too if you can. Speaking with the same representative can also speed up the process and help with continuity when you need help with an issue. Write down any other details or promises you may need to reference later.
  • Escalate, if you must. The first person you speak with might have limited power to help you, depending on the issue. If you’ve tried everything and your problem isn’t resolved, ask if you can speak with a manager or supervisor, or if there is anyone else who might be able to assist you.
  • Always be polite. Even if you need to speak with a manager, always treat customer service representatives with respect and kindness. You’re much more likely to get your issue resolved this way.
  • Be wary if customer service contacts you out of the blue. Legitimate companies don’t make unsolicited phone calls. Scammers do. Scammers may also send you unsolicited emails or create pop ups that say you need to reach out to customer support immediately. These are a few telltale signs of a tech support scam.
  • Offer feedback. If a customer support agent gave you amazing service, leave the company a good review. Conversely, if you had a poor experience and especially if you suspect shady business practices, file a complaint on BBB.org or with the Federal Trade Commission.

If you spot a scam while reaching out to customer service, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. To find trustworthy businesses in your area, go to https://www.bbb.org.