Does it seem like customer service representatives don’t care about your personal circumstances or sob story? It’s because they don’t.
Do we want to help solve your problem? Yes!
Do we want any and all information relevant to helping solve your problem? Absolutely.
But stop there, please!
Why are we so heartless, you may be thinking? Your 90 year old mother really IS sitting on the side of the hot road, waiting for you to get out of
jail the hospital so you can make your payment on time, and of course you didn’t think you were required to READ the contract you were signing, therefore it doesn’t count, and since you flipped your truck with your wallet in it and had to take the subway/your other car depending on where in the story you’ve forgotten yourself, you find it hard to get around and be an honest paying customer.
(Yes, I really have heard all of the above.)
Do you see what the problem with that little epic tale of woe is? It’s all ONE BIG FAT LIE. Do customers fall into hard times, lose a family member unexpectedly, have to rush to the hospital for an emergency, or have something come up that delays them from getting their payment in? Of course! But these people are apologetic, they take responsibility, and they acknowledge their requirement to do the right thing. And then they do it!
These other people? They make up sad, sad tales and expect you to waive their obligations because they don’t want to be held responsible for their own decisions, plain and simple. When customers beg the agent to “have a heart” and “think of my position” and “what would you do if if were you???” we are rolling our eyes as hard as we can. You know why?
Because this isn’t the first time we’ve heard exactly the same thing today.
Your story is not unique. Your suffering is not individual. Your hardships do not excuse you from the responsibilities of life.
I’m not saying companies have your best interest at heart. They don’t have our best interests at heart, either, but we need the job so here we are. Most of these jobs are minimum wage and the people who take them have lives so complicated and difficult they look like an Escher poster in a middle school classroom. So please. Your story does not move us. Our lives are hard too, and yet, we still pay our bills.
When you beg us to change policy and rewrite the company’s model, we can’t. We do not have the authority to do this. We are not shareholders, nor are we the CEO. Stop treating us like we have any say over the policy!
Sure, you can “speak to a supervisor” to get that discount we won’t give you, but as to the policy that’s built into the contract that you feel screws you over? It’s built into the contract for a reason, and you agreed to it when you chose to do business with that company. If the contract is truly unfair or obscure, take it to court, not the guy who answers the phone on your first dial. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the call agent you got on the phone is responsible for the entire business model of the company. We just work for them, and we’re subject to the same rules and policies you are! Sorry.
That favored threat of yours, “I’M taking this to social media, and ALL my friends will see it and will NEVER do business with you again!!” is about as effective as throwing a bouncy ball against your wall at home in frustration. BIG DEAL. Social media doesn’t have nearly the effect on corporate profit or policy that you think it does. Yes, a PR scandal can really do some damage, but you not getting exactly what you wanted with your order or trying to dodge a payment does not qualify as a “PR scandal.” Again, sorry. Just suck it up and see what you can do differently next time.
Yes, please, by all means, call a company out when they’ve fucked up. You can and should do that, and a lot of times the company will try to make things right. Businesses have whole teams dedicated to social media to monitor what people are saying about the company and reach out to them. Social media is great at making businesses more transparent and helping customers to make informed choices. However, this isn’t a license to act like a spoiled brat to get whatever you want. The company does fuck up sometimes and absolutely needs to take responsibility and be transparent about it. But so do you.
Help us help you. Keep your story to the point and focus on solving the problem, not being a victim. We have a lot of customers in line after you to help, too. And believe me, their stories are the same as yours, if not worse.
Sincerely, your customer service representative.
By the way, if you’re wondering what in the hell customer service has to do with personality and self development, the answer is quite a lot. There’s a fascinating psychology in the way people behave in service situations. I may make my paycheck by flipping burgers, so to speak, but my business is in analyzing the underlying psychology behind it. So as long as I have something to say about the service industry and the way people behave, I’ll have something to consider in a personality context.
Be cool and decent, everyone!
Transcript for the above comic below:
Customer service representative: Thank you for calling [Business], how can I help you?
Customer: Um, yes. I had an issue with my order. I was SO inconvenienced by my experience and was wondering if I could get this particular fee waived? You know, because it was SO inconvenient for me?
CS Rep: Let me take a look at your order. …
CS Rep: Problem is, it looks like you’ve already gotten a number of discounts for your order. I can’t add any more at this point.
Customer: What? Isn’t there ANYTHING you can do for me? My experience with you has been problematic from the start and I want SOME type of compensation for my trouble!
CS Rep: Like I said, we’ve already compensated you quite a bit for your trouble. There’s nothing more I’ll be able to do.
Customer: You REALLY want to sit here and argue with me over THREE MEASLY DOLLARS? Is it THAT important to you?
Rage face rep: I don’t know, lady, that’s a good question!