Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Customer Service Season-Let's Talk About It

If you have a J.O.B you are in customer service. Unless you work completely alone and never deal with a single human being ever, as Bob Dylan would say "You Gotta Serve Somebody!" I am in the Health Care industry. I do not have direct contact with patients, for which they should be forever grateful.  Who wants a health care giver that can't quit saying.."Ew ICK", "that's disGUSTing" or "I ain't touchin that"?  I work in the finance end of health care,nothing to do with insurance, so don't hate me and no I am not rich...that would be the bosses.  I deal with customers all day, they're not buying anything from me but they need something.  My customers are my fellow employees, the executives of the company, the vendors who sell goods and services to us etc.  I have also been a hairsylist, a grocery clerk and a Travel Consultant so I feel somewhat qualified to talk about customer service.  Most importantly, I have been a customer and I know how I want to be treated.
If you have been treated like crap as a customer or if you have been treated exceedingly well, I would love to hear your story.  I want to talk about some of my pet peeves as a customer, of course and unfortunately I have experienced some of these attitudes in my very own office, some when I have been shopping and some when I have called a so-called Customer Service Help Desk!

1) The CS Agent who answers the question you didn't ask.   This agent is so experienced and so clairvoyant that the minute you start to describe your issue, they interrupt you with a resolution.  Unfortunately, since their hearing aids weren't turned on, the resolution has nothing to do with the problem you are having.  I will call this one the ASS-humor -they assume they know everything and they just want you off of their phone so they will humor you.
2) The CS Agent who talks down to you because you don't know how to ask the question.  This person is the Gamer...they like to play the little game where they will tell you the answer as soon as you get the question right.  They don't know that you don't actually work there and you are somehow not in tune with their buzz words and terminology-their corp-speak.  They won't offer any information or assistance until you are on-board with asking the right question in the right way..for THEM.
3) The CS Agent who makes assumptions about your income level or level of intelligence based on your clothing or accent.  Just because a person doesn't dress up to go shopping does not mean they may not have 20K stuffed in their wallet!  Maybe that's why they are shopping..they need a wardrobe. The accent issue is a particular pet peeve of mine as a former travel agent.  Speaking with a foreign accent does not mean the person is deaf...quit yelling at them.  They are also not stupid, obviously they know at least two languages. Sadly, in my own office, I have heard time and time again customer service agents making fun of people calling in with southern drawls.  Give me a break!  These are our own employees...being from the South does not lower the IQ one many US Presidents are from the South?  This is a great corner of our country...KNOCK IT THE HELL OFF!!  I call this CS Agent-the Blue-Blood, they obviously see themselves as better than the people they are supposedly helping.
4) The One Word CS Agent-The agent answers the phone with a very monotone company...that's it?  No Name, no "how can I help you?"  "I was calling about a problem I am having with blah blah blah"...silence...pregnant pause..."Do you need my account number?"  Computer goes click click click in the background..."One moment ma'am"  the warmth abounds like a hotel carved in ice!  I will call this one Mr Roboto.
5) The CS Agent chewing gum or eating in your ear-Seriously...that is rude for anyone! EW! I call this one "too young to have a job or just plain...FIRED"

There are other things that are irritating about the state of Customer Service these days too...what about the phone system that circulates your call to various recorded messages never allowing you to speak to an actual human being.  Press 1, press 4, no press 0  - PSYCH!! That almost makes me cry!
Fortunately not all customer service agents are like the ones I have profiled...there are many that are excellent.  They treat you with respect, listen to your problems and find ways to solve your problems.  Your company needs to pay you a great deal of money, you have a difficult job.  The customer is not always right but they should be made to feel like they are not always wrong or a nuisance.

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