Want better service? Here’s how to find a leader’s name
In times like these, who doesn’t want better service from a company? And that’s especially true if you’re traveling.
Airline complaints remain at twice their pre-pandemic level, according to the Department for Transport. Hotel guest satisfaction is down according to JD Power, driven by complaints about fees and room conditions.
“It’s unacceptable for the airline, hotel or travel agency to not deliver on their promises,” says Janice Lintz, a Boston disability consultant who travels frequently. “The reps say no. They refuse to transfer a call. They drop the calls.”
So if you have a problem with a travel agency, is it possible to have the name of an executive? Can’t you take your complaint straight to the top?
In fact, you can. If we live in a time of diminished customer service, we also live in a time of vigilant consumer advocacy. I publish the names, numbers, and email addresses of company executives on my consumer advocacy site. I also just posted a helpful guide on how to contact the CEO directly.
But there is more to this story. With all the bad service there I was wondering how you find the name of the right leader.
How do I find a leader’s name?
Finding the right leader’s name can range from easy to very difficult, depending on the company.
For larger companies, a simple online search will almost immediately reveal all senior executives.
But for small businesses, you have to dig a little deeper. My research team found the name of a leader in the following locations:
- The local chamber of commerce online directories will list the name of the owner or manager. One of our favorite resources is the country club directory, which sometimes lists home addresses and cell phone numbers.
- The Better Business Bureau frequently lists the names of company executives along with their contact information.
- Local newspapers or blogs also publish the names of company executives.
The real question is: what do you do when you have a name? How do I locate an email address?
For better service, check the company website first
Obvious, isn’t it? But you’d be surprised how few people skip this step.
“Often the information on how to contact corporate headquarters — who are the president, managers, and other senior staff — is right at your fingertips,” says Chantay Bridges, real estate agent and speaker. “There’s no need to hire a detective or look very far. If you’re looking for a name and often even an email, this is it.”
Bridges has used this tactic several times. Sometimes the site will reveal the company’s email naming convention by hovering over the “contact us” link. This reveals the format of email addresses for anyone in the company. More on that in a moment.
How my research team finds an email address for an executive
Once you know who to contact, you will need an email address. It offers almost instant access to an executive.
Here’s how we do it.
Find the domain name of the company
This would be the last part of the website address, companyname.com.
Get an email naming convention
This is how emails are formatted. The most common is: [email protected]
Pro tip: You can find the naming convention by running a quick search on the domain only. You can do this by going to your favorite search engine and typing: “site:company.com email address”, where companyname.com is the actual domain name. This only searches the site for any mention of an email address.
“Site:” tells the search engine to limit results to this site only.
Then test the email addresses using the tips I give you in this video on executive contact tracing. Don’t rely on a directory for an executive’s name or email address – always check it.
How to Use LinkedIn to Find an Executive’s Name
LinkedIn has become a powerful tool for finding an executive contact, as I noted in my last USA Today column.
Nick Kamboj has developed a “multi-pronged” approach to finding an executive on LinkedIn and sending a message. First, it finds top executives with a simple search. It targets the CEO, Marketing Director, and Legal Director.
“I then use LinkedIn and invite them to connect,” says Kamboj, the CEO of a Chicago-based college admissions consulting firm. “If they log in, I can message them directly for free. If they don’t log in with me, then I can subscribe to LinkedIn’s monthly service, which allows me to send multiple LinkedIn Inmails directly to them. .”
Senior executives tend to check their LinkedIn accounts more frequently because it’s a professional network. So you have a good chance of getting a response.
How to Use an Online Directory to Find an Executive’s Name
There are dozens of directories and apps that publish email addresses and phone numbers of executives. One of the most notable is Hunter, an online service that lets you find and verify executive email addresses.
Eric Finkel, CEO of a healthcare company, uses Hunter to track down addresses of hard-to-find executives.
“Hunter.io crawls the web looking for email addresses, including for pages that have been removed from the web,” he says. “Even if it doesn’t find the specific email you are looking for, it will usually give you the correct format of the company email. So if you have the name you want to hit, you can guessing the email address. . More often than not, this method has worked.”
Direct your search to your problem
Many people with a customer service complaint automatically search for the CEO. Trade adviser Jack Epner is still focusing his research on the problem.
“I use the company name and even a reasonable estimate of a title, like ‘VP Customer Service,'” he says.
On companies with a lot of complaints, a name will pop up right away. But even if that’s not the case, there are a few variations you can try. Common titles for customers include:
- Customer Service Manager
- Customer Service Manager
- Chief Customer Officer or Customer Experience Manager
Play around with these titles until you find someone who can address your customers’ concerns, experts say.
How to approach a leader
You may be able to find an executive’s name, but how do you encourage them to give you better service? It’s all in the approach.
Margaret Symington recalls one case with WestJet. She had booked a flight with travel credits. A system error caused a $5 overcharge.
“Calls to their customer service line have been unsuccessful,” she says. After a series of misadventures, she finally reached someone who told her that the system shouldn’t have charged her $5 more for her flight, but that she wasn’t “qualified” to fix it.
So she found the name of the CEO and sent a short, courteous email to WestJet.
“Within two weeks, I got a call from a very nice woman who my case was referred to, who not only refunded me the $5, but as an apology, gave me $100 worth of more in my WestJet travel bank,” she recalled.
Here it is. Keep your email brief and polite, and the senior manager you reach may be able to help you. I have some additional tips in this story on resolving a consumer complaint.
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to engage in a little self-defense advocacy now. In some parts of the travel industry, customer service revolves around the drain. Customer service may not improve for some time.