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.