Hey, Suki, I have worked in customer service for over 15 years. Don't waste your time threatening the agents. It just gets their back up.
Most large companies are already recording customer service phone calls. The agents know this and it is so stated somehwere in the fine print of your contract or other paperwork.
Every call is logged by the software. The agent codes the type of issue you are having, and codes whatever redress was given, including any personal emails he may have sent. If you need to call back about the same issue, the next agent is required to rely on whatever is in the file, and is not required to believe your version of events if it does not match what is in the file. If he does believe you, he may not necessarily know how to fit your version into the file in conformance with whatever is already in there. You can only hope that the previous agent understood your issue and recorded it correctly. Customers who abuse, threaten, or try to manipulate agents don't understand how that can backfire.
In most of the places I have worked, supervisors do not take calls from customers. Ever. We usually have some kind of mentor that we can call for advice. They sometimes will let us transfer a customer to them. Sometimes they just give generic advice and hang up. We quickly learn that we are really on our own.
I worked at one company that does customer support for a number of big name companies. The training I received, when I did receive any, was not quite as bad as in this article at Salon.com, hhttp://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2004/02/23/no_support/index.html , but it was just as useless. The instructor ran the information by us too fast for us to absorb and then spent the rest of the time chatting it up with her favourites. The noise level was not conducive to studying. She told us "I am an instructor, not a teacher". We were given open book exams and were told exactly where to find the answers. She got top marks as an instructor because most of us passed with high marks. We were told that we would be able to rely on the information in our knowledge data base and not to worry about what we were told in class. When we hit the floor, we discovered that maybe a quarter of this information was out of date or just plain wrong.
We were told that hanging up on customers was not an option. We were not told what to do when the customer was not satisfied even though we had done all that we were allowed to for him. We were allowed to request that abusive customers use a professional tone; but this piece of advice came through word of mouth from other agents. It was not official policy.
This was a new call centre and the phone exchanges had not been set up properly and many people were either ending up in the wrong department or being hung up on. This went on for a whole month before the company fixed it. This told me that the company really did not care if customers got hung up on.
At the pizza call centre where I work now, I once took a call from a customer who had been hung up on three times because the agents did not know how to process an order for a customer using a gift certificate. So, I placed the order, worked out the discount manually, added a notation to the order indicating what had happened, sent the order -- and then called someone to find out how it should have been done. That all had a negative impact on my call processing time, decreasing any bonus I may have been earning that hour.
Because of the emphasis on call processing time, we have no time to process whatever emotional or psychological reactions we may be experiencing, good or bad. If I have had a particularly good experience, the next caller might be put off by the lingering enthusiasm, interpreting it as undue familiarity. If I have had a bad experience, the caller may be put off by the coldness that results from holding in my pain or anger. In either case, they may become abusive.
I hang up on customers as a last resort. If the customer keeps insisting on a result that does not match the redress made available by the company, I give him three chances to recognize that the conversation has become redundant and is no longer productive. I will not let him waste my time, nor the time of the customers waiting in line for assistance, and I will hang up on him. If he has been polite, I will let him know that the conversation is over. That hang up button is so easy to brush against while reaching for my coffee cup. Some agents just put them on hold and then go for lunch. Sometimes, if the customer is not getting the kind of service they want from our client, I transfer him through to one of the client's competitors.
I don't have the patience displayed by the customer service agent in this youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjSTTb_siCU . Note that the agent is not allowed to give even the simple assistance required here until the customer has given him the verification information.
If the agent is not providing the redress that you want, your best option is to re-read your paperwork or call again and hope to get someone who is more knowledgeable.