MY EXPERIENCE AS A CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

All through my years of training, interactions and experience as a customer service representative. I have never heard that the customer service representative is human and should be treated with kindness. If the customer is not bashing you, your boss is telling you there is nothing special about your job. ‘Something about anyone can be a customer service representative’, but not everyone can.

You open your social media page and you read a long post by a customer ranting about how he has been treated poorly. Your reasons are valid, you are right ‘customers are always right, Customer is King’. But don’t you think you are a bit unfair, did you actually tell anyone who is ready to come to your defence what actually happened. You just conveniently left out that part.

I have met different types of customers. The lordy customer. The flirty customer. The talkative customer. The timid customer. The know it all customer. The obnoxious customer. The lying customer and the one that beats all of them hands down the angry customer.

You see the lordy customer, he tells you outrightly he pays your salary and you should suck up to him and take any bullshit he is throwing at you. I usually categorize him with the obnoxious customer.

The pushy obnoxious customer because he is a manager himself feels a customer service representative is below him. He always request to speak with a manager. You hear words like,’ I want to speak to your manager’. I have heard statements like ‘you are just a front desk person, please transfer my call to one of your tech guys’.

The angry customer has been let down by a process failure within the organisation. He is angrily taking out the frustration on you the unfortunate advisor. Of course, he is justified in his anger and wants to offload on you, but you can be polite in your anger. I have had customers who ruined my day using the f**k word just to pass across their anger or call me stupid, inconsiderate, wicked and all manner of words. I remembered chatting with a customer. We were unable to resolve her issue on time and I had to hand over to the next person.

I get it, she is not tech-savvy, but she wants to learn in a day what it took her IT director (she said her IT director resigned and she wants to take up the management of her site)4 years to learn. So I told her I will get back to her soon which was a colossal mistake on my part. ‘Soon’ to her means 10 minutes, she called back only to be told I had close for the day. This got her angry and she sent me an angry message. An hour later, I opened the chat and saw her long angry message. She called me wicked, evil, inconsiderate, a liar from the pit of hell and trust me that’s a few. I read the chat and almost cried but am I being paid to get emotional or fix issues.

Her issue was resolved and I informed her by responding to her chat. The next morning, I heard that she has been calling and requesting to speak with me. After I was fully settled, I called back informing her that the issue has been resolved. Then she started with the name-calling again, how I am a liar, I promised to get back to her, and I did not. I told her I did, she said no, she did not see any message(you need not check further why her IT director resigned).

I told her to check her email, then she went on about me responding after how many hours. Do I expect her to be online waiting for me? I told her I was sorry, that was my second mistake. I do not need your sorry, you people say sorry after you are wrong . Why don’t you do the right thing in the first place and cut the crap of saying sorry. I am a business owner, I know how it feels when your company loses a customer, it does not affect you. They just pay you a huge sum of money for doing nothing, you people…I just zoned out, this was a clear case of transferred aggression.

For every customer service course I have taken, I hear it is not personal, don’t take it personally. Remember, the customer is not angry with you, they are displeased with the performance of your product or the quality of the service you provide. Your personal feelings are beside the point. How is that possible, I am flesh and blood, I am human, I am at the receiving end. Sometimes I feel like crying, finding something to eat(I eat when I am down, angry or happy))and other times I feel like yelling back. Their anger might be justified or not but you are told you are paid to serve your customer no matter how rude.

The overly friendly/flirty customer; ah I dread these ones, you need to be professional with these ones. This kind of customers does not view their behaviour as inappropriate. I could remember one time a client started talking about the issues he is having then he switched to BBN, to Naija politics, to my spec in men. Ah gawd it was a long talk not leaving out how he is coming to pay my bride price. Then there are the ones that always want to have your number. Some of them it is either to ask you out or use you for their selfish purpose after working hours. Imagine calling me in the middle of the night when I am off duty to tell me your site is down when there is someone online that can attend to these issues.

Talkative customer: These ones are generally very friendly they never stop talking and always keeps you longer on the phone than usual. Time is costly in business, however, that maybe, you are paid to do a job.

The Know-It-All Customer: These customers have done their research and will challenge the advice that you give them, using an internet search to tell you that you’re wrong. The ‘I have been in this industry for 100 years, don’t give me that crap’, they always want to show their superiority.

What pisses me off is the ones that say foreign companies do not treat us this way when you tell them to follow due protocol. Seriously, tell me about a lying customer. When they see that their lies do not work, they bring up your competition. The impatient customer is always in a rush, he gets frustrated when he does not get an immediate response. You will think the timid customer is easy to handle as the name sounds. However, he is as manipulative as the angry or impatient customer.

Always remember a customer service representative is no less human than you. It will not take anything from you to be nice to them. I know customer service representatives who have been frustrated out of their jobs by their bosses and/or customers. I know a guy who walked out of his job and deleted that phase out of his life. What about those who are unable to walk out but go into depression.

I will like you to share your experiences as customer support representatives. I will also like to know why you are rude to customer service representatives.

jumoke

29 Responses

  1. Customer service reps are doing a great job . It’s really not easy being one in this country where there’s anger and frustration everywhere. God help us. And finally,I like the fact that you eat when you’re tensed. Wondering how you’re able to tho…lol

    • I always have these snacks on my desk, my newest fave is one bread roll, I love it glazed with honey. *licks tongue.

  2. Omo, being a customer service representative is not easy. Everyday comes with a new drama. Some customers are lovely, very understanding and patient but some other set of customers, chai!!! Once you hear their names, your heart will start racing, headache will come from nowhere. Customer is King but Customer service reps need to be treated better by customers. When the conversation is mutually respectful, the customer rep will be willing to go the extra extra mile to solve your issue.

  3. Being a customer support rep has changed my view in dealing with other customer support agents, i understand that there is only little they can do to change the situation of things, most support agents aren’t even the ones that’ll fix the issues.

    • You get, these customer representatives have to escalate and your shouting will not resolve the issue but instead make you a nuisance.

  4. Hmmmm…Been a customer service representative is not an easy task at all because some customers just want to dumb der garbage on u,some r just so annoying dat dey talk to u as if u r nothing but in all one just have to be patient..I can remember one experience I had with a customer den wen I was speaking to him den d next thing I could hear is,u r very stupid,u r dis n dat..I got angry and replied him politely,sir I am not stupid please,it wasn’t funny tho but my response bk to him gave me a huge relief…… Customer service representative is not really easy but with patient u r good to go

    • With patience, you can be fine. How can you be patient when angry words are flying over your head. Companies have to put policies in place to blacklist rude customers and show that they respect their staff, that way customers will behave!

  5. Nice article.Being a customer representative has never been easy and never will it..
    More professionalism,More patience and we would notice a better service delivery.
    This is particular to both customer as well as the customer service representatives.

    • Both the customer representatives and customers in Nigeria really have a long way to go. And the companies and bosses who employ these people.

  6. My dear, my experience as a customer service rep has taught me to be more patient. Some customers are just rude. But there are the calm ones who, even when unsatisfied, they still talk politely and make their complaint as clear as possible. These are the kinds of people I was very eager to support, honestly.

    • Patience is the keyword here. Yes, there are polite customers, friendly customers, appreciative customers that even go the extra mile to send you a ‘little something’ for your stress. I have met them all.

  7. Being rude or polite in the public is actually the exhibition of what we’re in our private cycles. Everybody wants to show superiority especially in the presence of others to make their presence felt. Also not necessarily because they are in a hurry but attention seeking,
    to distabilize the process/system.

  8. You nailed it. Being a Customer Service Personnel is cool, I have my own way of dealing with different customers and they always come back to say thank you after all

    • I am somebody who flares up when shades are thrown at me but because of my enthusiasm for Customer service ,I have grown to be immune against insults.
      Imagine waking up on the wrong side and the first call I picked was that of a customer who referred to me as a bastard all because of his failed deposit.
      Hmmmm i apologised for his failed deposit and checked. I discovered he mistakenly credited a wrong account and I informed him accordingly.
      Now the table has turned round and he needed my help.I assisted him and it was sorted but he apologized and even requested for my personal contact to apologise again.

      • I don’t know why they have to throw insults around, companies should also have a policy that protects their staff to avoid this unruly behaviour.

  9. As long as you own a business or manage a business you are already a customer care rep. In the course of this we meet and interact with all manner of people just like it has being categorised .
    In all of these have learnt to be patient.

  10. To be honest, working as a customer service rep is not for the weak minded. I can remember dreading calls as me that have heart of fish like this, I wee just be apologising up and down and i have kinda noticed that the angry ones are mostly the ones that are not tech-savvy or don’t know what they are doing both men and women and they expect you to be superman and just boom! fix their issue out of the blue

    you left out the entitled customer, they feel entitled to your time and support and if you tell them you will get back to them, they will tell you that what else do you have to do then answer them.

    My biggest lesson is Patience is a Virtue

    • True ooo my sister ‘customer service is not for the weak-minded’. The entitled customer can also be categorized under the impatient customer.

  11. Customer Service is a lot of work…People expect you to always smile and be professional even in your worst emotional state. CS staff are usually underpaid in Nigeria and the amount of work that needs to be done is usually a lot.

    I had good and trying moments as a CS staff. I guess that happens in every field. It’s fun when your customer is reasonable and responsible. It’s horrible when your customer isn’t. But these are the times to show why you were employed; Your empathy and emotional intelligence to handle the situation.

    • It is a lot of work! The customer service representative pay is a little higher than the janitor, the reason being the company feels there is nothing special about the job. Anyone can be a CS staff, they say.

  12. Customer is always right yen yen yen and all the bullshit they say. I will not forgive the person that coined that phrase. Inasmuch as not everyone is fit to be a CSR not everyone should also be considered a customer. Bad market dey purge belle.

    • ‘Customer is king, customer is always right’, I am still looking for the person that coined the phrase to ask him why he gave the customer all the power.

  13. 1. I think that customer service reps do a great job regardless of what anyone thinks.
    2. Customers are not always right! That’s just a dumb saying! My opinion!
    3. The ones that shout were always my favourite because after the shouting, they will ask if you’re there and still explain in a lower tone no matter what. Worse case they cut off!
    4. If customers are nice, rules can be broken on your behalf to go an extra mile.
    5. I learnt from experience that those that request for the manager do not always need the manager, they are either to arrogant to state their mission or too impatient or they have some friendly connections with the manager.
    In summary, customer service reps deserve to be respected because we are all human Beings and we deserve to be kind to one another.

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