How to Handle a Frustrating Customer Service Experience

Don't let one phone call ruin your entire day.

Everyone dreads calling the customer service linethere are infinite prompts, robotic systems, and lots of generic waiting music in your future. On this week's episode of "I Want to Like You," host and Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop discusses customer service with the experts to learn how to handle a bad experience with ease. Guest Anthony Melchiorri, host of the Travel Channel’s "Hotel Impossible," explains what good (and bad) customer service looks like, and New York-based etiquette expert Melissa Leonard offers a few strategies for how to handle a call gone sour.

The episode works through three real-life scenarios that might sound familiar: A doctor's office that takes weeks to transfer your records to another office, a cashier that rushes you when ordering your morning coffee, and a cable company that makes you jump through hoops to return a cable box—and then shuts off your cable altogether. Get Leonard's tips for calm, effective responses to each scenario, and a few suggestions for how to make any customer service experience pleasant and efficient. Listen to the full episode below, and don't forget to subscribe to all of our podcasts on iTunes! Plus, see our guide to getting what you want from customer service.