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No More Mr. Nice Guy
Old 02-11-2010, 08:57 AM   #1
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No More Mr. Nice Guy

How to Get Better Customer Service by Being an A**hole

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We've all been subjected to the torture of terrible customer service -- hours on hold just waiting to talk to a breathing human, even if their first field of study obviously wasn't the English language.

What do people usually do about it? Nothing.

That's why we invited Chris Illuminati, Asylum contributor and co-author of "A**holeology: The Science Behind Getting Your Way and Getting Away With It," to explain how applying the a-hole principle can help you effectively deal with bad customer service.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:14 AM   #2
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Is it worth it ?

This oft used technique may in some cases get you what you want.

Howver just look at what you have to become to get there.

Is it worth it ?
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:27 AM   #3
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I think Best Buy has my picture on the wall after I held up the line for an hour at the geek squad until they would change out my computer for a new one . They finally agreed after the line started snaking around the store . Sometimes you have to stand your ground.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:33 AM   #4
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Don't we all have to put on our A**hole mentality each time buying a car? Maybe we don't have to act like one, but have to do that dance with the car salesperson and walk away insulted (or pretend so) to not get taken.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:37 AM   #5
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Don't we all have to put on our A**hole mentality each time buying a car? Maybe we don't have to act like one, but have to do that dance with the car salesperson and walk away insulted (or pretend so) to not get taken.
I actually never had to do this. I looked on the web - figured out what I should be able to get the car I wanted for. Communicated by phone or email with several dealers, and usually found what I wanted for my price.

The last time I actually got what I wanted for well less than I expected to pay according to all the web sites (edmunds, etc.) and I custom ordered the car! Just found an out-of-town dealer who was willing to take less than most.

On the A*hole thing - can't do it. But I can be non-nastily persistent and hold my ground. And I can be very, very patient but I can also walk away.

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Old 02-11-2010, 09:39 AM   #6
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Reminds me of a co-worker who collected free flights for the annual family vacation. Our flight was delayed a couple hours so he used the time to attempt to pull a free ticket from customer service (as compensation for the delay). Made a complete @ss of himself in front of roughly a hundred people ... the airline didn't budge. Became a legendary @sshole within the office because of the "show".

Need to pick your battles wisely.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:41 AM   #7
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Don't we all have to put on our A**hole mentality each time buying a car? Maybe we don't have to act like one, but have to do that dance with the car salesperson and walk away insulted (or pretend so) to not get taken.
I don't agree with that.

Know your price - Make your offer - stand your ground - listen to their stupid rationalizations all the while being very polite but firm. Leave if need be.

Sometimes they don't come to their sense until you are out of your seat headed out the door. Sometimes they have stupid rules like - you don't get the best price until you have opened the door out of the showroom.

You can get a great price - a fabulous price - and all the while be a nice and very polite (but firm) guy.

If they like you, you just may get a better deal than the a**hole.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:58 AM   #8
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The last car that I bought, I went through one of those car services (CarBargains). This was even before we heard of the internet, world wide web, etc. This went pretty smooth. I listed out what I wanted (car model, options, etc.) and worked of the know price. The service contacted various dealers and I got to chose among the lowest bidders.

I say it went pretty smoothly but not totally. After I dealed on the car, I had ordered the car in September. Come December, the car still wasn't ready yet. I finally said, (not being an a**hole), "come on, I've been waiting paitently all this time if it isn't ready soon, I'm gonna call off the deal and buy it somewhere else". The next day, I get a phone call, they say, the car is ready. I pick it up. Things seem fine. Then a week later I get a call from my auto insurance company. They say, the VIN you gave on the car doesn't match what you gave earlier which makes me think in a panic the car dealer got a car that wasn't the same one I ordered, but with the same features, still new.

I had to stand my ground and say I'm ready to walk and call the deal off if needed.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:03 AM   #9
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I hate the whole haggling process when buying a car. I am buying a new car, not shopping for a rug at the bazaar for pete sake...

Now I use USAA's car buying services. They offer good discounts and the price is settled before I even set foot at the dealership. We bought 2 new cars in the past month and the process has been completely painless for both. Walk-in, hand out the receipt with the agreed upon price, pick the car on the lot, write a check, drive off.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:16 AM   #10
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Lie. It's fine, we're all going to hell.
That article is cracking me up! And this is alongside it:

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Old 02-11-2010, 09:21 PM   #11
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I prefer to buy a car from dealers that have fixed pricing - no bargaining is needed.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
I think Best Buy has my picture on the wall after I held up the line for an hour at the geek squad until they would change out my computer for a new one . They finally agreed after the line started snaking around the store . Sometimes you have to stand your ground.
The people waiting on the line probably were not happy, I presume.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:06 AM   #13
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The tone of this article seems to be to do whatever it takes to get whatever you want, even if it is not justified or fair--in other words, just screw the other guy. If you get satisfaction out of being able to buy something knowing it has a no return policy, then later act like an a**hole to get the store to take it back, well, you really are just an a**hole.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:50 AM   #14
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I'm not advocating being an a**hole at all. My example, about the car buying process puts us in the a**hole mentality, which I find dislike but feel we have to go through that dance to buy a car. That's why some do car buying by avoiding the haggling process altogether with a car buying service.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:51 PM   #15
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I don't mind negotiating when buying a new car, but the easiest time I had was many years ago using a free local buying service where I paid $100 over invoice (at a time when paying less than invoice was unheard of) and got $750 in the form of a rebate. Considering the cost of the car was $17K, I thought it was pretty fair deal with absolutely no hassles. Did I mention that, after a test drive, all the rest was done via phone and fax??

The problem now is that it's so hard to really figure out what the real price of the car is after holdbacks, dealer incentives, etc. We bought a new car last year and it went pretty well, except for when we walked out and the salesman followed us and called over the manager. In the end it came down to a $500 difference - they kept asking if I wanted to give up the deal for a measly $500. My response was that it's my measly $500 - and yes, I'll give it up in a minute. They agreed, no yelling,no nastiness, which leads me to believe I could have paid even less .

As to getting nasty in stores - it can be warranted when legitmate returns are refused, sales prices are not honored, or other cases when the store is not honoring its pledge to the buyer in some way or another. When my wife sees a problem developing, she just walks away, as I have found it very effective to start raising your voice and ask if they treat all customers this way, not just me.

I would not get nasty in a negotiation - that's pointless - I'd just leave and not come back. Very little is for sale in this country that cannot be obtained in more than one place.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:16 AM   #16
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Best negotiation I ever was party to was for an old Wilton carpet. The seller had several old rugs and an old desk we bought for very light prices - when asked what he wanted for the Wilton he said $100, way too little. I told him that wouldn't do and offered more, he demurred and we went back and forth, ending at $125 AIR. It was a great price for us and probably the best I've ever felt after doing a deal.

Have always been very conscious of customer service and that the person giving it doesn't make the rules. Usually go for the honey rather than vinegar approach. money is cheap, soul is of value - life's too short to be a jerk.
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
This oft used technique may in some cases get you what you want.

Howver just look at what you have to become to get there.

Is it worth it ?
IMHO - yes, it is ...

A couple of examples from my life. When dealing to purchase a vehicle, you have to remember two things. The dealer has a car you want, and you have the cash the dealer wants. It's as simple as that.

It is what each is willing to "give up" to make the deal - nothing more, nothing less.

I've walked away from deals only to have the dealer call me a few days later an meet my terms. In other negations, the dealer calls me back but not for his/her benefit, but just to give me a second chance to see if I would purchase the vehicle at their price (my last car purchase was exactly this case - I wound up purchasing the car I wanted elsewhere, for my price). Cars, like money, are fungible.

Another example. We built our current retirement/terminal home in 1994. It's our fourth home we've purchased/built over the time we've been married (40+ years). In each case we would take whatever profit (some more, some less) and roll it forward to our next home.

We had a contingency in our contract to build that it was based upon sale of our then current home, for a minimum price that we specified. The RE agency used was the same (however, different agents for both homes).

Our existing home was put on the market in early winter 1993, a very poor time of the year for home sales, but that's the way the timing worked.

As things go, our previous home sat on the market through the holidays, but a week before the contingency was to lapse, we received two offers. However, each offer was for slightly less than our minimum acceptance price (around $6k).

The agency representing the builder tried to pressure us into accepting one of the offers and tried the idea of getting us to "envision our future in our new home".

Sorry - I don't go for "visions" ...

I simply said that the RE agency on both sides of the deal were going to make $$$ on both transactioins. They could either get the builder to reduce his price, or get the possible buyer of our current home to increase their offer to our minimum.

I didn't care who did what, but I specified my terms. Either take it or leave it (yes, homes are also fungible).

Whatever they did behind the scenes is of little concern to me. All that mattered is that we built our existing home with the features we desired, at the price we wanted to pay.

As far as what people think about me? I could care less. I adhere to the old saying of "what you think about me is none of my business"...
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:04 AM   #18
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Have always been very conscious of customer service and that the person giving it doesn't make the rules. Usually go for the honey rather than vinegar approach. money is cheap, soul is of value - life's too short to be a jerk.
Aye. Works for me.

More than once in a tight spot, patience, persistence and politeness have worked wonders for me.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:16 AM   #19
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IMHO - yes, it is ...
I wouldn't consider either of your situations as examples of being an a*ole.

This, on the other hand, is what the book recommends . . .

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The first day of work is confusing and frustrating. Few people are helpful and everyone expects the new guy to make the effort to introduce himself. Do just that. . . . . After everyone knows your name, really make your presence known. This next move is tricky, but if done correctly can set the tone from the rest of your time at the company.

1. Find a reason to get incredibly angry with a coworker for no good reason
2. Make it personal. If they remove something from your desk or make a comment toward you in mixed company, lose your mind for a brief moment
3. Seal it with a threat. In an angry tone and with near-psycho eye contact tell them it would be best if they never did whatever small thing they did again. "Don't ever, ever touch my Wall Street Journal."

Crazy? It's beyond crazy. But would you ever cross a person that flips out on someone for touching their newspaper?
This actually sounds like a rip off of a a scene in Stripes . . . "My name is Francis Sawyer, my friends call me Psycho, if you call me Francis I'll kill you . . . "
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:24 AM   #20
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"Lighten up, Francis"

Great movie.
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