None of us like dealing with unexpected issues during our travels, but if you’ve done a fair bit of traveling, you know that occasional hiccups do happen. When we’re stuck in a situation that we can’t solve ourselves, it’s nice to know that customer service is there to help. Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your customer service experience, and to help your customer service representative help you as efficiently as possible.

Know Your Numbers

Before contacting customer service, be sure to have all of your information in front of you. The customer service agent will need your personal information, reference or booking code, and any other identifying numbers relevant to your itinerary. Having these codes directly in front of you will really speed up the process and help the agent understand how to help you in an effective manner.

Ask for What You Need

This seems like an obvious one, but it helps to formulate a clear request before chatting with customer service. If you know exactly what you need, then customer service can help you to find the most relevant solution. For best results: be clear, concise, and direct.

Customer Service Tips for the Savvy Traveler

Use the Most Convenient Interface

These days, there are several ways to get in touch with customer service but not all interfaces offer the same experience. Sometimes, the best way to get a hold of help is by utilizing a live chat function or internal messaging system. These services help alleviate phone lines and erase the need to sit on hold for a long time. If you are able, try to use built-in chat interfaces first before calling directly.

Use “Hold For Me” Services

Even though it has become pretty rare to speak to an actual customer service representative over the phone, there are certainly times when direct phone conversations are the only option! In those cases, phone lines can get pretty backed up. Instead of waiting on hold for hours on end, check to see if your phone offers a call-holding service. For example, Pixel phones (3 and later) offer a “Hold For Me” service which allows Google Assistant to wait on hold for you. When the customer service agent is ready to speak with you, you will get an alert from Google Assistant and you can take the call from there. This essentially removes the need to take hours out of your day to sit on hold, making your need for customer service a little less painful!

Offer Contact Information

If you are speaking to a customer service agent over the phone, ask upfront if it is alright to give them your phone number. During busy hours or conflicts that affect a large number of people, it can be difficult to keep a stable phone connection with your customer service agent. Nothing is worse than waiting on hold for a long time only to be dropped due to a spotty connection. If the agent has your phone number, they may be able to call you back, and that could save you the annoyance of having to start from the beginning again.

Customer Service Tips for the Savvy Traveler

Save Your Reference Number

A similar tip applies to chat-based customer service experiences. If you are disconnected or later realize that your problem hasn’t been solved, taking note of your chat reference number is very important for helping the next agent figure out what you need. It can also help the company follow up with customer service agents if something goes wrong after the fact.

Ask to Waive Fees

It is possible that your customer service agent will alert you to fees associated with the types of services you need. For example, there may be extra booking or rebooking fees that apply to your case, which may be part of standard policy for the company. However, it is worth asking the customer service representative whether it is possible to waive those fees. The representatives are required to alert you of any applicable fees, but they may honor a request to waive them under certain circumstances. It is not guaranteed that you have the right to a waived fee, but it is worth a polite ask.

Ask for Another Option

If you’ve missed your connection or need to rebook your entire itinerary, it is likely that customer service will try to rebook you as quickly as possible. Sometimes, this means that they will first present you with the quickest solution, which may not necessarily be the most convenient solution for you. In this case, it is okay to ask for another option! Again, it helps to be as specific as possible. Asking them whether they have a solution within certain parameters can help them narrow the search and find something that is suitable for your needs.

Customer Service Tips for the Savvy Traveler

Be Polite!

This should go without saying, but we usually don’t need customer service unless something has gone wrong. In high-stress situations, it is sometimes difficult to get a hold of our frustrations and disappointments. Before speaking to a customer service agent, try to take a few deep breaths in order to take away the initial edge. Then, try to work with the agent as calmly as possible, remembering that they are here to help you solve your problem. Politeness goes a long way in the customer service industry!

Remember that Representatives are People Too

This one ties into the last one, but it’s always worth noting that, unless you’re speaking to a robot, customer service agents are humans. Whether you’re speaking face to face, over the phone, or over chat, always remember that you are speaking to a fellow person. Ultimately, the goal of customer service is to help solve your problems. By being patient, understanding, and helpful along the way, you will be able to help your representative understand how to find the best solution possible.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with customer service is never something that we want to do. When we need to get in touch with customer service, though, there are several things we can do to alleviate frustration and minimize confusion. By following these ten tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to being a savvy traveler when it comes to dealing with customer service!