I have had an epiphany. A minor one at that, but an epiphany nonetheless. Let me give you a little background into how this epiphany occurred.
Last Friday I spoke with a woman who had authorized an $80 credit card payment over the phone because she had been told it would keep her service on. However, that was not the case. She had already been shut off and the CSR would have known that if he/she had been doing the job properly. Discovering that her service was not going to be restored, she called and got me, demanding that the company return her payment. When I explained that the company would not refund her payment because A.) she legally authorized the payment and B.) she owed the money, she became irate and told me what a POS I was to work for such a company and then informed me that she'd be suing my company and myself and my supervisor. And the flea on the hair on the wart on the frog on the bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea.
I have discovered that being a customer service rep is akin to the grease that keeps the pistons from seizing up in your car's engine. We are the grease that lubricates the friction between a ginormous corporation's terrible policies, the incompetent employees and the reasonable customers who are getting bitch slapped. And we are hired to use our "customer service skills" to explain why the customer should be enjoying the experience.
Coming to this realization also made me realize another thing. I don't have any customer service skills. I think the giant corporation is akin to the 50's science fiction monster BLOB that engulfed everything in its wake. I hate making excuses for this company, and I think the customers are rightfully angry - most of the time.
One other thing I would like to note. If I ever work in customer service again, I will make sure it is in face-to-face customer service. Generally, people will avoid looking like an ass in public. They will make a greater effort to keep themselves under control. They are much more likely to use manners, exercise the Golden Rule and refrain from making threats. However, people generally do not make such efforts in the comfort and sanctity of their homes. They will scream, they will cuss, they will call names and they will get very, very personal. And in the end, they still get f*cked. Poor customers.