I’ve worked in customer service for almost 14 years now, and the one thing I can most definitely say about the experience is that people can sure suck the life out of you.
Don’t get me wrong, despite my huge dislike (hatred) for the majority of the human race, I am really good at what I do. I was even better at sales believe it or not but the commission was too weird to live off of. On the really bad days, while getting screamed at by some random customer for things I can’t control (read: weather – seriously people? Hold on, let me just stop the snow/rain/hail real quick.) I can do it with a smile. The catch though, that co-workers and friends have long figured out? 90% of the time, if I’m smiling, straight up grinning at a customer, I’m envisioning strangling the ever living hell out of them. It’s like a coping mechanism to save what’s left of my battered sanity.
Customer service has shown me two different kinds of people. One breed is thankful, even when something goes completely wrong with their order! They are understanding and realize that you are one person, in an entire company, and cannot possibly be responsible for every little thing that goes wrong. They say please and most importantly, they thank you for you time.
The second breed? This is the vapid, greed driven, self-centered consumer. This person believes that they should be more important than *all* the other customers. This person will ridicule you for whatever step you have taken to make their life easier. Earlier install date? Not good enough. A call, every single solitary step of the way? You didn’t communicate enough. An offer to sell your soul and become a personal servant? You obviously didn’t put your heart into it, what kind of customer service is this anyways?!?!? [facepalm]
Sadly enough, no matter where I have worked, whether it was as a grease monkey, selling computers and gaming consoles, to a care giver. The second breed of customers always seem to be more numerous than the first. So I decided, fuck it. I’m making a list. Even if only .000000000000000000001 % of the internet reads it, maybe it’ll help.
Tips to be a Good Customer:
- Remember, you are not the only one on the planet. There area always other customers and guess what? You may think you should be the most important, but so do half of my other customers.
- We realize that spending money is hard for a lot of people. Yes, we realize *how* much money you spent. Just to let you know, no matter how much you spend? Someone else will spend more. We will try and help you out and do our best by you as we can, but reminding us that you spent x-y-z isn’t helping your case… just making you look like an arse.
- If you’re calling into an office, the person who answers the phone most likely has had no part in anything that may have pissed you off. Chances are, you’re yelling at someone who has no idea who you are, what you want, or what you bought. Worst case scenario? You just reamed out a 18 year old receptionist who is now sobbing in the bathroom. Good job. Just because someone answers the phone, doesn’t mean they are at fault.
- “Please” and “Thank You” will get you a lot further than yelling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out of my way for the customer that is just genuinely nice. Throw in a “have a nice day” or even a “you too!” when I say it, hell, you’re my favorite customer! Guess who I’m going to bust ass for! Yell at me? Eh. Join the ranks of every other unhappy customer. I’ll do what I can, but not always to make you happy, sometimes it’s just to make you go away. Above and beyond? Well see.
- Be understanding. If an installation/repair/improvement cannot be made because it is a. Not Possible b. Dangerous or c. Not what you have paid for, try to understand that. No one wants to put their coworkers in harms way and sometimes it’s just not feasible to complete a certain task. And lastly, lets face it, if you haven’t paid for it, you might not get it. (See above bullet point.) Try to understand where we are coming from.
So, I spent the last half of today getting screamed at at work. Some of the complaints? Totally valid. The worst? I got blamed for distressing someone’s pet (by the way, I’m not a veterinarian, I work in the granite industry) and ruining a whole week of someones life. While I sat there getting screamed at I just pictured myself strangling them.
I did have one customer though, between a mistake of my very own, and a mistake of her husbands, we missed her installation date today. Instead of screaming, she accepted half of the blame, and accepted my apology for mine. After telling her I’d do my best, she thanked me for my time, genuinely thanked me. You know what I did? Busted. ASS. She is now taken care of, and one of the happiest customers out there.
Which customer do you want to be?