In its December issue Money magazine described the "7 Secrets to Super Customer Service." It's a good reminder that many of us, not just those in customer service, fall into a foul mood when something doesn't go our way. That's why flattery still works on customer service agents with tough skins.


I tried the tactic when I was in Florida for the holidays. The first night in a Wyndham hotel, I was awakened at 12:30 a.m. by a couple arguing in the adjoining room. I immediately called the front desk and asked them to do something about it. After I heard the phone ring in their room, the argument stopped. An hour later, I fell asleep.


In the morning I went to the front desk and complimented the manager on quickly taking care of the situation., but I also asked for an adjustment on the room for the night. She asked me when I called to complain and what was done. I explained it, she verified that I had made the complaint, and refunded half of the cost of the room. That seemed entirely reasonable to me. A full refund would have been excessive. Note: If your sleep is interrupted at a hotel, complain while the noise is in progress so the hotel can verify it and solve it. Otherwise, they might assume that you're trying to scam them. 


Yesterday I called Comcast after my Internet and cable service were down for almost a day. They came out to fix it on the same day that I called (kudos), but then one of my remote controls went on the fritz. It looks as if I will have to go in to a Comcast service center to exchange it. That's a bit of a hassle for which I believe I should compensated, so I asked the telephone service rep if there are currently any specials. She gave me three free months of Showtime and Starz. The only caveat is that I have to call after three months to remove them or I will start being billed for them. The rep told me that the freebie expires for me on April 2 so I marked it on my calendar. 


I hate it when consumer experts tell you all of their  successes and never their failures. I made the mistake of letting a daily deal coupon for a car detail expire Dec. 31. I called and asked if the offer might be extended for a week. Ugh, no, but I could get the detail if I spent an extra $50. Ugh, no. The rep went on to say that the coupon was now worthless but I could take it up with Living Social if I wanted more.

That's not true. Customers are entitled to the amount paid (but not the coupon value) even after it's expired. I will have to go to round two on this one.

There is a point at which customers should just call it a learning experience and walk away. Sometimes it's not worth the hassle. I've admitted defeat at the hands of Best Buy.