Handy tip when calling customer service

Ever had to deal with the drudgery of calling a company's customer service department for assistance?

Yep, we've all been there.

Just this morning, I received a message from Discover -- at work, no less -- saying they were calling in reference to a "request" I'd recently made.
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A victim of identity theft several times over the last few years, I immediately assumed someone had tried to open an account under my name. Then I remembered I was protected under a credit monitoring service through my wife's employer -- plus, they hadn't notified me of any suspicious activity.

I called the number and was told that, in order for them to track down the file in question, I would either have to provide a reference number (which wasn't given to me) or my full social security number. The latter was, of course, out of the question, so I opted to do one thing at that point: Call again later in the day and hope the person who attended me then was more competent.

And that's precisely what happened. When I called in the evening, the lady I spoke to seemed far friendlier and more knowledgeable than the associate who assisted me in the morning.

After briefly putting me on hold, she told me she discovered that somehow my work number appeared under someone who had indeed made a recent request.

I'm not sure if it was a ploy to get me to sign up for a credit card or what not, but she assured me that the number was removed and that I would no longer receive calls at work.

The moral of the story is this: If you call a company to resolve an issue and are unable to do so, try calling a little later. Chances are the person you speak to then will be better able to assist you. If that doesn't work, I would make a third attempt. If that fails as well, that's when you should speak to management.

Some associates are just more experienced and better equipped to handle myriad issues than others. I've employed this strategy several times and it has served me well. I realize it can be drag to call a company more than once, given the time constraints most of us are under. But persistence pays off. As Thomas Jefferson once asked, "Why is it that the harder I try, the more luck I seem to have?"

Have you ever tried this yourself?

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