Escalating the Issue

   

If you're working with a service provider and it's starting to feel like they aren't helping anymore, it's time to escalate your issue to higher levels within the organization. Here are some tips for effective escalation.

Pushback from the person you're working with is the biggest sign they are becoming part of your problem instead of helping with the solution. Hearing statements like the ones listed below can let you know you're entering this territory.

  • "We're not seeing any issues on our end."
  • "Would it be possible for you to run some additional tests?" (which include tests you've already run)
  • "We're not sure what's happening, but we'll keep looking into it and get back to you."
  • "Unfortunately, there's nothing more we can do to help."

When you're hearing statements like this, stay calm and ask for clarification.

  • If they aren't seeing any issues, what are they seeing, or expecting you to see?
  • What tests are they running, and what results are they getting?
  • If they need more tests, what's the difference between the first tests, and the ones they're presenting now?
  • If they're telling you “we'll get back to you”, schedule specific dates/times for a callback.

Hearing the dreaded "There's nothing more we can do" means it's time to bring your issue to a higher level in the company. The action is known as escalation.

Where to escalate

A common misconception in escalating is that speaking to a manager/supervisor will get things “fast-tracked”. This isn't always the case. Speaking to a manager is a great option if you've just had an unpleasant conversation with an agent, but if you're hoping to actually fix something, you may be speaking to the wrong person. These authority figures manage employees and handle complaints. They probably don't know how to fix your problem.

Instead of asking for a manager, try learning about the company structure (you can always ask). Is support segmented into Tier #1, #2, and #3? Maybe another department handles complex issues, or you can speak with the network or product engineering team? However the company is structured, the goal is connecting with people with the technical knowledge to help you with your problem.

You may need to escalate more than once depending on how the company is structured. As long as it feels like you're moving toward people who can make a difference, keep going! If you get to a point where it's obvious the provider isn't taking responsibility or if you're in a never-ending loop through tech support, you may only have one remaining option.

Going nuclear

The nuclear option is relatively uncharted territory. It involves making your issue and bad customer experience, known on a larger scale. There's isn't really a right or wrong way to go nuclear although, but we don't recommend threats of violence, hunger strikes, arson, or other actions like that.

Some people who've gone this far achieved success escalating straight to the top. They find a way to contact high-ranking members of the company and work from the top down instead of the bottom up. Contact information or those people are usually hard to find, so if you can't go to the top, another strategy is involving the Better Business Bureau or even FCC Consumer Complaints.

Social media is another excellent way to raise awareness about your issue. Bad customer experiences tend to go viral, which motivates companies to address them as soon as possible. Posting on the company's Facebook, Twitter, and other profiles is a good place to start. Community sites like Reddit and DSL Reports are also effective channels for sharing your story.

Continue when you're ready for tips on how to wrap up your network troubleshooting endeavor.

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