Thursday, January 9, 2014
The customer is always right...and by always, I mean almost never
If this blog post someday turns into a best selling novel, I will have to dedicate it to my cousin Sarah, for her Facebook status, which prompted today's topic: Customer service and complete & total morons.
My cousin's name is Sarah Stacey. You know, because my mom's family has a first name for a last name. And that can be very confusing to those people in the world who are the aforementioned breed of complete & total moron. It's hard when your last name is a first name, or even when your mom's maiden name is a first name for a last name...because sometimes you have to use your mother's maiden name for account security, and then the customer service rep on the phone gets mildly agitated and says, "maiden name meaning, maiden last name." Well no fucking shit, that's why I said Stacey instead of Annette.
Sarah's beef yesterday was that people keep referring to her as Stacey, even though her name is Sarah, and her work email, to which they are sending an email addressed to Stacey, is Sarah.Stacey. Now I suppose your work email address could very well be last name dot first name, but what kind of last name is Sarah? I mean, is she more likely to be Sarah Stacey, or is she more likely to be Stacey Sarah? Regardless, I understand exactly why she was irritated. It isn't because this one complete & total moron called her Stacey, because really, Stacey's a nice name and at least no one called her, hey you.
The problem is, for those of us who work our asses off in customer service and are constantly beat down by the ass holes of the world, a lack of respect and a lack of attention. If you ignore her Sarah.Stacey email address and call her Stacey, you are simply telling her that you don't care what the fuck her name is, as long as you get what you want and continue to have her, the customer service driven employee, at your beck and call. And it is the complete & total morons out there, the ones who truly believe that the customer is always right, that make it harder and harder to offer superior customer service, because in reality, you don't deserve it.
I have worked in customer service for 15 years. 15. That' half my life! And I have been on all sides of it - I have worked in retail, food & beverage, and now, property management. And it never changes. People suck. The customer is always right mentality has destroyed the world of customer service because a bunch of entitled ass hats come along and treat us poorly just because they can, and then we are expected to bend over even further for the next person.
When you work retail, people think that they can get mad because they had to stand in line, or because you are taking too long, or because they want something on sale with an expired coupon. Well guess what...sometimes, you have to stand in line for things because the store is busy. Deal with it. You don't have the right to be rude because you chose to shop at the same time as other people. When you wait tables, people think they can be rude because of any one of about 750 thousand reasons, including things taking too long, or my favorite, the fact that they chose to order something new and they don't like it. In a restaurant, you can choose to punish your server for the horrible, sub par service by withholding a tip. Seriously who does that? Do you feel proud of yourself for that? And in property management, people just like to be rude because everything is my fault, including the fact that you did not pay your rent. Wait a second...did you give me access to your bank account, blank checks, and the legal ability to pay your bills for you? No? Ok then you are wrong! See? The customer is not always right. If you are a customer and you think you are always right, trust me, you're not. And with that attitude, chances are you are almost always wrong.
What I find the most frustrating about the whole equation is, after I spend my 40 hour week kissing ass and being nice to people who don't deserve it, I stop at the store and someone behind a counter is rude when I ask where something in the store is located, or I grab a bite to eat and the server is annoyed that I am not immediately ready to order, or I call Comcast to pay my bill and they act like I am inconveniencing them by not paying online. Well, your rep set up my account wrong and you won't help me fix it, so I can't get online. Don't you think I'd rather pay online than wait on hold for 30 minutes just so you can be a bitch to me?
What's your mom's maiden name?
No her LAST name.
What's your date of birth?
You're right, I am lying. I made up that birth date and have falsified all of my documents with it because it's funny that it's 8383.
People suck. Most customers are wrong. There is a lot of really shitty customer service out there, and for those of us doing our jobs well, being nice, kissing ass, and bending over backwards for our customers, there's not much patience left for bad service when we finally get to be the customer. Your job as the customer service rep, or the vendor, or the supplier, or the employee, is to know our name, especially when our full name is included in an email. Your job is to address us politely as a customer or as an employer. Your job is to maintain the mentality that the customer is always right...even though we are not always right.