How'd you diplomatically phrase/word a request to escalate you above someone specific (call him/her Jr. for Junior)?

I to Jr: 1. I request to be escalated above you.
I to Someone else (e.g. someone in a different department of the same corporation):
2. I request to be escalated above Jr.

The phrase 'above ' in 1 and 2 appears too condescending. I don't think people like to be considered 'above' or 'below' others?

  1. I request to be referred to someone else who can help.

3 is imprecise: it fails to specify the 'someone else' as more senior. To resist your escalation, Jr. can deliberately misinterpret 'someone else who can help' as anyone who can help, like someone at or beneath Jr.'s level.

  • 4
    Possible duplicate of How to explain tactfully that someone has misrepresented you?
    – Braydon
    Sep 18, 2017 at 5:17
  • 2
    @Braydon similar situation, but different question Sep 18, 2017 at 5:42
  • 1
    @TheEnvironmentalist They're the same, the first is just more ambiguous.
    – Braydon
    Sep 18, 2017 at 5:44
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    @Braydon I think the OP may just be asking about two different parts of the situation. This question is for how to escalate, and the other is for what to do once you've done so. I'm not entirely sure though Sep 18, 2017 at 5:46
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a phrasing request which is off-topic per the help center
    – Rainbacon
    Mar 7, 2019 at 21:41

4 Answers 4


Can I speak with your manager/supervisor?

This is pretty common and direct. When you're passed to the supervisor you can even ask to speak to their supervisor if needed.

In an awful lot of cases the person you're speaking to will be more than happy to pass you up the chain of command, no one likes dealing with a difficult customer service situation, particularly when they don't have the authority to resolve the situation.

  • It's pretty much the simplest way, but some companies have a policy that says, and, to some point, prohibits such thing: you deal with the customer, you close the case, no way it goes up the chain of command!
    – OldPadawan
    Sep 18, 2017 at 19:59
  • 1
    @OldPadawan Don't do business with those companies.
    – apaul
    Sep 19, 2017 at 5:47

It all really depends on why you're escalating. Let's assume that it's out of the responsibility of Junior staff person. The question then is a friendly "Hey, I understand this isn't your job. Can you help me find the person to talk to?" They're still helping you but you're not being pushy and giving them a way out.

If you're escalating because you're not happy, then it's a harder question. "Can I talk to your supervisor?" is the most direct.

Also, are you doing this to a person in the same company? I'd recommend being careful with escalations there - escalate if need be, but be up front about it. Going over someone's head without giving them the chance to resolve the issue will result in a broken relationship internally and ticking off your co-workers isn't the path to advancement.


My experience on the workplace tells me that no one wants to be considered "below" even if hierarchy is clear and well-defined. Since your "boss" is nothing else than someone who has more responsibilities than you and who assumes risks of his/her choices, I'd say the following:

I'll need to talk to someone in this company who is in charge of [insert something here]
- doing this
- taking responsibility for this action
- communicating this to the client
- etc.

Personally, I find "taking responsibility" the best choice, because people often want to do stuff without suffering any consequences. Once you are implying there are some, people will indeed escalate


What Bald Prussian said. Treat the employee as the expert in your problem and in knowing their own store policies, and create a team. "We've talked about what we can do together and I'm really looking for a different solution. Can we go to your Manager and find out what they say?" When you meet with the Manager, who's likely multitasking with staff schedules and other information, after a greeting, let your expert teammate lead the conversation. As the Manager looks back and forth between you two, explain that your team-mate has been very helpful, but that you need a different solution because of X. This keeps the staffer from being chewed on later by Manager. You want something different from what you've been offered. Please smile when asking for it, and recognize these people may not be able to facilitate you request and you may have to go even farther. Many companies don't trust their employees to find the best solution, and won't allow set policies to be modified.