Sunday, September 25, 2005

A little schmaltz with that?

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.


DCveR said...

You have the blood of innocent costumers on your hands! Well, if not the blood at least some of their hard earned money...
You say you are but the grease in the big machine? Well, isn't the monster's hand part of the monster too?
But you wanna know something else? Those 'poor costumers' are themselves, most likely, part of another monster. Did you ever stop to think that someone who complains to you at a given moment may be someone you complain to regarding some other service?

shortensweet said...

Customer Service is a hard job. Also, you have to remember that when it comes to peoples money, they get irate. I think we all do. Some people can do customer service, some people can't. Also, good point Dcvr. Very good point. When I have a customer screaming at me, I try to think of them as my Mom or my Dad and try to treat them as kindly as I can and try to fix the issue. So fellow customers, think of the other person on the other end of the phone as a parent and treat them kindly.

bunnyjo georg said...

DCvR: You bite at the center of the tootsie roll tootsie pop when you say that the monster's hand is part of the monster, too. I've sold my soul to the corporate monster and let me tell ya, I sold at a mighty low price!

Shorty: Exactly why you are so good at what you do. While I am also patient and honestly care about my customers, I often find that my hands are tied in terms of doing what needs to be done for the customer by the nastily entangled web of regulations.

DCveR said...

Yeah, but what is your alternative? Become another piece of the monster's anatomy? Become a piece of another monster’s anatomy? I am not blaming you here.

bunnyjo georg said...

No, I shall vanquish the monster! Otherwise known as quitting my job and looking for something a little less ghoulish. :)

DCveR said...

Don't rush into a decision you may regret. Not that I am telling you not to quit, but think things over and assess all possible outcomes before making your mind.

bunnyjo georg said...

Biggest concern right now is not OUTCOMES, but INCOMES vs OUTGOES


bunnyjo georg said...

Although outcomes are being considered. Of course!

SuperDad said...

"This is not just a place to work, it's a place to feel appreciated. And it is balm to my soul."

Remember, you love your job.

Chai-rista said...

Hey BunnyJo -

One of the definitions of a stressful job is one in which you have to take responsibility for all the bad shit but you have no input or control to improve or change anything. That sums up Customer Service and it is a very stressful job, as a result. It'll age ya, gal! Find something more in line with your heart - it might just come with a bigger reward too.

bunnyjo georg said...

SD: YOU love your job. I love orgasms.

Chai: YES!! Following your heart may not make you happy, it may not make you rich, but at least you'll never sell out. Big heart highway it is!

Marcheline said...

Excuse me while I chuckle into my almost empty can of SlimFast. You really, really believe that face to face customer service is easier because people don't want to make an ass of themselves in public?


Sorry - if you've ever been a police officer, a flight attendant, or a waitress (I've been all three), I can assure you that people LIVE for making complete assholes of themselves in public. The more people watching, the better.

Also, the more of an asshole a person is to start with, the more likely they are to desire a very public display of their opinions, dirty laundry, unhappiness with society in general, or the services of your company, the color of your hair, you name it.

Other professionals who can back me up on this: airline gate agents, nurses, hotel receptionists, restaurant hosts, and the list goes on....

Unless you really want to be forced to fine tune your customer service skills to the "nth" degree, stick to over-the-phone c.s.... you can always claim "we got disconnected" when things get rough!


SuperDad said...

Hey Laura, I just copied your post. You were saying how great of a job you had.
I love my job... at times. I love orgasms too. It's ok with a partner too.