Customer service… Perhaps you’ve heard of it. You know, that silly concept where someone who spends money to acquire a product or service from an individual, or a company, is entitled to fair treatment, a guarantee, and a place to have a grievance against the company, or product redressed. Yeah, that concept.
I have done customer service in various incarnations throughout a good chunk of my adult life. Consider this an open letter to those individuals in any given company, that, through their actions, or inactions, generate calls to that black phone with the pretty red lights that sits on the desk of customer service agents all over the country
I have a question. Why are you here? I really want to know. Seriously I do, I need to ask this question, because it burns in my mind in the night, keeping me up, writing missives like this one. Please, a detailed explanation would be most useful at this point. I need to understand your motivations, your desires, and what your expect to get out of this job, provided that you actually do your job. See, you work in the store, right there, with the customer, you are in the best position possible to prevent a bad experience that would make that customer go home, and pick up their phone.. or, in this modern age whip out their smart phone and start dialing the 1-800 number before they are even 10 steps from you. Instead of preventing a bad experience, or even better, providing a good one, you decided, for whatever reason, to create a bad experience for the customer. What were you thinking? I know, it’s the end of your shift, or it’s close to break time, or your lunch is arriving, and you can smell it’s enticing aroma all the way over in the Whatchamacallit department. I don’t care what was going on, it is because of your petulance, intransigence, ignorance, or some other -ance that you were feeling at the time that has now placed that customer on my phone, in my ear, and complaining about your behavior, actions, or inactions, which forces me to apologize for you, and for whatever irrational thought process seized you at that particular moment. I don’t care if the hot cashier from up front, or the buff attendant from the Thingamajig department was going to be in the breakroom the same time you were, it’s not an excuse. Hey, I would love to have lunch with the hottie from the web design department, and ignore my job as well, but, unlike you, I have a work ethic. What bugs the heck out of me, is that I have to apologize for you, and do it sincerely, and soothe the ruffled feathers by offering a discount, free widget, or a some other bauble to get the angry customer, your angry customer to hang up the phone happy. Sometimes, I so wish that I could give that customer your home phone number so they can call you, and not me.
See, I don’t mind taking care of my mistakes, or owning up to what I do, and I do my best to make sure that I don’t unnecessarily burden my fellow employees, however, you on the other hand seem not to have such qualms.
It is a job that I do, because I love it. I am a problem solver, a fixer, someone who is not happy unless I am assisting, fixing, attending, encouraging, or otherwise doing something positive to make a change, however minor, in someone’s day, week, or even, life. So, while you are sitting there, munching on that triple-cheese-what-have-you with onions, and ogling the hotness from the other departments, I am dealing with and cleaning up your mess.
Do me a favor, after you wipe your face, belch, and head out back to the sales floor followed by the faint scent of your lunch to go back and do that job you do so well, take a moment and think about what you are doing. When that customer arrives, and I don’t care when it is, take care of them. If they need help in the Technical Things I Don’t Understand department, and you know nothing about that stuff, assist the poor soul by actually, physically going and finding the technical expert that works in that department, and referring that individual to the customer in distress. Don’t say “I’ll go find someone” and then head over to the Odd Things No One Else Sells department to hide out, without finding someone to help that individual. Also, next time you order something from the online catalog for a customer, and it’s on back order, don’t tell the customer to expect their shipment in ” a few days” when you know darn well, it’s not due to arrive in inventory for three weeks. Invariably, such shennanigans leads that phone on my desk to ring, and there I am, again, apologizing for your, I don’t know, oversight? Laziness? Inability to read? Whatever it was, I am there again, offering coupons, widgets, discounts and smoothies to make up for whatever it is that causes you to be this way.
So really, can you do me and all of the other fine call center folks I work with a favor? If you hate your job, and don’t like dealing with people, do us a favor please?.. Quit, walk away, give up, go find a job where your talents would be more appreciated, perhaps the federal government could use another slacker. Where ever you go, go quickly, and try not to let the door hit you on the way out…
The Call Center Staff.