Once your child has money of their own from an allowance, doing chores or holding down a basic job, it’s critical that they use a variety of strategies to save and make the most of their income. Customer service is an area many parents overlook talking to their kids about, but including it in your financial lessons could end keeping a ton of cash in your children’s pockets.
How Customer Service Representatives Keep Money with Your Kids
In general, customer service representatives are supposed to make a person’s shopping experience better. More specifically, though, they can help your child be money smart by
- Providing information—If your child has questions related to a product, a customer service representative can give them answers. As a result, your child is less likely to be surprised by the quality, size, quantity or durability an item has. They are less likely to have buyer’s remorse because of this increased understanding, and subsequently, they likely will end up spending less in return shipping, restocking fees and replacement shopping. This fact is particularly relevant for young people due to their rapid increase in and preference for computer or mobile online shopping, where product details aren’t always listed well.
- Removing fees—Part of being responsible with money is making sure that the charges on a receipt or bill are accurate, as people make mistakes and automated systems are not perfect. Sometimes companies even will remove fees in good faith by request, depending on the circumstances. Show your child not only how to review their purchase documents for errors, but also how to make a case to customer service representatives about why they deserve a refund or credit.
- Providing coupons or discounts—In most brick and mortar stores, customers can get coupons or other discount related items like membership cards or rain checks. All your child has to do is go to the customer service desk and ask one of the representatives for a copy or application. These discounts aren’t something kids should pass up, as most children don’t have high incomes and need the price reductions to make products affordable or to reduce the impact of purchases on other savings goals.
- Making recommendations—In many cases, particularly with technology-related businesses, customer service representatives are specialists in their fields. Even if your child doesn’t have a set of questions about a particular product, a good representative can listen to what your child wants to achieve with their purchase and point out products that would be the best fit. The representative’s fresh perspective, often based on logic, facts and experience, can keep kids from diving too readily into a buy because of their emotions, too. This benefit is particularly advantageous during sales, where the customer service representative can reassure your child that the sale item is the best deal or honestly advise them to skip the sale item in favor of something that could work even better.
Always Available, Not Always Equal
The points listed above are an ideal—that is, they happen when the customer service representative performs their job to the best of their ability, using all the knowledge, skills and resources they can for your child. Unfortunately, even though customer service is part of every business, the quality of that service isn’t always the same from company to company. Some poor businesses treat customer service almost as an afterthought or aren’t in tune about how to really engage with or help their buyers. Companies that have great customer service usually earn strong loyalty from customers and have solid reputations, so if your child is dealing with a business for the first time, have them take a peek at customer reviews and the ratings for the business on ranking websites. Teach your kids to deal with companies where customer service isn’t an issue, both so they don’t end up frustrated or disappointed, and so they can feel good about supporting businesses that are invested in and serious about their products, services and workers.
Just as young kids can benefit from exposure to bank tellers and other financial professionals, they can reap advantages from interacting with customer service professionals. Get your child working with these employees as soon as you can so they feel comfortable and are able to save as much as possible.