How to Effect Change

by Jennifer Haynie @JenniferHaynie1

It happened again. I needed to get into my phone company's main e-mail account to make a change.  Now my phone company is an interesting place for e-mail accounts. It’s possible to have multiple ones with multiple passwords and multiple domain names, including my official e-mail account that I never, ever use for anything.

Back to needing to change something in my main account. Of course, I’d never written down that password. I couldn’t remember it, among the tons of other passwords that dominate my life. I did what I knew to do and what everyone does. I clicked the link for a password reset.

Problem was, when I did that, it locked my two other accounts. I cringed. I knew what came next. The dreaded call to Customer Service.

With trepidation, I dialed their number. Remarkably, I got through pretty quickly to a real person. It didn’t take me long to run through their litany of questions. Had I done x, y, and z?

Yep. Check, check, and check. All I wanted was a simple reset password.

Her reply? “Request the change online.”

I think I began seeing just the slightest tinges of red as my annoyance increased. I asked, “How can I do that when I can’t get into my e-mail to get to the reset link?”

“Why can’t you?” she asked.

“Because y’all locked it when I requested a new password for my other account.”

Silence. A long, pregnant pause that signaled I’d stumped this particular Customer Service rep. She said she’d have to bump this one up to her manager.

Eventually, I did get back into my account, after about an hour on the phone as they tried to figure out how to solve a problem they’d created.

Months later, hackers had broken my password. I cringed because I knew I needed to change it, which meant a password reset. With a deep breath, I hit the password reset link and braced myself for another battle with Customer Service. For kicks, or maybe more out of desperation, I tried the password for my master account.

It worked.

Stunned, I sat there. My mid whirled. Had one phone call effected change in a behemoth like my phone company?

It seemed that way.

I know it’s easy to get discouraged when we make calls to big companies. Our first thoughts can be that nothing will get done, nothing will happen due to our complaint.

Sometimes, our calls can empower change.

I carried away three things from this experience.

Kind words go further than angry ones. I’ve been there with Customer Service. I’ve been kind, and yes, sometimes, I’ve blown my top. Kind words kept my Customer Service rep willing to work with me and then to run it up to her manager.

Patience can go a long way in finding solutions. One thing I learned is that people sometimes don’t think things through when setting up systems. Obviously, no one had anticipated my situation at my phone company. But they were willing to take a look at it and solve the problem.

Know that sometimes your opinions and problems can effect change. Sure, I wasn’t going to go out and seek credit, but I can say that I did see some satisfaction when changes were made because I took the time to call my phone company and work with their Customer Service rep.

The next time you get a survey, have a problem, or have a question, take action. Complete that survey. Call up Customer Service. Let your voice be heard. Who knows? Maybe change will happen because of you. And when it does, smile because your opinion did matter.

Sometimes kind words and patience can yield change in unexpected places. Click To Tweet

Question: When was a situation when you had a problem with a product or service, contacted the company, and saw a result?

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