It happens to the best of us. After some Internet window shopping, we see something that we absolutely need. So, we buy it and wait for it to come in the mail. When it arrives, the regret strikes and we wonder, "What was I thinking? This is horrible." Sometimes the items never arrive at all, and we end up losing time and money. Sometimes orders slip through the cracks, and they are never even processed in the first place. No matter the problem, there's definitely a mistake.

Headaches happen. Things go wrong, and even the best of the best encounter blips. When something goes wrong, you probably didn't see it coming. The best that you can do is to be prepared, stay on your toes and make educated guesses along the way.

Here are six tips to help you have a positive customer service experience:

Make a phone call as soon as you notice a problem.
Stores want to fix bad situations before customers get upset. Especially for reputable stores, customer service is extremely important, and that is a fact that works to your advantage. As soon as you notice that something is wrong, alert customer service. Call them even when the situation might not be the store's fault - for instance, if the Postal Service loses your package. You can even call them when you're outside of the store's 30-day return period. Let the store know whether you were satisfied with your customer service experience.

Keep calm, even when the store's in the wrong.
Ultimately, the person who you're calling is a human being. Even if the store made a mistake, you're talking to a person, not a system. Be as nice as you can so that the customer service rep will want to help you. He or she probably deals with a lot of angry person. Be stern, but be calm, and above all, don't be angry.

Read store reviews from multiple sources.
Don't just look at a store's star-rating. Read the actual review to see what people are saying. A high star rating can be misleading, and when you're making a decision about whether to shop with a retailer, concrete details are much more helpful. If you can, read store reviews from multiple places, and consult critics that you know from your social network. Posting a quick question on your Facebook or Twitter feed will likely get you answers.

Verify agency certifications before you commit to making a purchase.
If you're concerned about whether a retailer is legitimate, research whether it is accredited anywhere. Resources worth consulting include the Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General's Office, and city business license office. Don't just assume that a business is certified based on a sticker on a website.

Read product testimonials from several sources.
If one retailer carries a product, others probably do as well. Regardless of who has the best price, read reviews from multiple sources. This is one effective way to filter through any bias that a store's website might have.



Stick to what you know.
Most of us are too busy to deal with unnecessary problems. If you think that an online shopping situation is a risk that you can't justify taking, don't do it. Stick to your gut, and do what you already do best.

The Bottom Line
Customer service is all about compromise. Keep calm, think rationally, and do your best to fix the situation or prevent it before it even happens.

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