There’s a special place in heaven for people who have worked in customer service. These jobs are not always the easiest, and oftentimes it involves faking a smile and dealing with some stressful situations. Whether you once worked a job like this or if you are currently working one right now like me, you’ll understand this article completely.
Anyone who works in customer service can relate to these struggles.
Customers In A Hurry
Your worst nightmare comes in. He’s impatient and he’s got places to be, but somehow he made enough time to squeeze in a few minutes to demand something big that may be out of your control. You’re trying to provide the best customer service you can, and you’re working hard to ensure that you are following all regulations and policies to satisfy this guy. But the pressure of a time crunch is giving you a panic attack at the thought of screwing something up.
What’s worse is having to wait for someone else to make the customer’s request happen. It’s not your fault that Bill is taking his sweet time in the back to bring the order up. You’re left alone in the lion’s den to fend for yourself. It’s the most horrible feeling to stand and smile and apologize for the inconvenience, especially when you’re the face of the business that takes all the heat from the customer’s angry eyes and the restless tapping of their foot.
This is probably the most obvious downfall of customer service positions. There is always a rude customer every now and then. Miss Johnson storms in and rolls her eyes because you can’t seem to understand her complicated request. She’s got an attitude because she’s had an awful day and you just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
You’ve got that fake high-pitched friendly tone to your voice, even though you just want to crawl into a corner and cry your eyes out. She’s cussing you out and all you can do is say, “I’m sorry,” but Miss Johnson doesn’t care how sorry you are, she just wants to speak to your manager about how you didn’t immediately greet her when she walked in. They say you should kill people with kindness, but you know that a rude customer can kill you with a sharp tongue and a death stare.
If I had a nickel for every time the receipt machine didn’t work for me, I’d be making more than minimum wage, I’ll tell you that much. Of course, technology is meant to improve our lives and productivity. Things are meant to function much more smoothly with the help of touch screens and digital equipment.
That all changes when there’s a glitch or when something shuts down. It’s not your fault, and you know that. But the customer is standing there awkwardly waiting to swipe his credit card, even though the pin pad has frozen on him. Then comes the list of questions: Is my card declined? Does this always happen? Can’t you just fix it? How long is this going to take? Is it free if I can’t pay for it? Curse you, technology. You’ve made my job harder than it has to be.
Customers On Their Phones
Are you speaking to me or are you speaking to the person on your phone? That’s the awkward question going through your brain with this next customer service struggle. Not only is this rude etiquette, but a customer speaking on their phone as they are being rung up makes for so much unnecessary confusion.
You don’t know if they’re ready or not when they’re standing near the register. You have no idea if you should interrupt them to ask if they plan on paying with cash or card. If they’re hysterical and in the middle of a dramatic conversation, is it even okay to ask if they are part of the rewards program that you’re obligated to ask all customers? You want to attend to their needs, but you also don’t want to feel like you’re being intrusive. It’s a fine line to walk in these situations.
Where are the parents? Unattended children running around the establishment is a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re working in customer service. Do you tell Little Tommy to get off of the displays that he’s climbing all over? Do you ask Little Susie to stop dropping the store products everywhere? Do you go straight to the mom and ask her to handle her kids? There’s no correct way to deal with this without coming off as rude in my experience.
However, it’s a common occurrence. Parents bring their kids to places they shouldn’t and put in no effort to stop them from terrorizing other customers. Even once they’re advised to settle down, they are offended as if you are telling them how to parent their own children, which I guess in some ways maybe you are. Either way, you are quick to get a manager because babysitting is not part of your job description.
Customers Who Refuse To Wear Masks
This is a new struggle in customer service, but a common one now, unfortunately. Since the pandemic, most customers are aware of how important it is to wear masks when conducting business and when entering establishments. However, there is always that one person who is practicing their God-given right to deny protection to themselves and to everyone around them in the name of freedom.
The newest craze seems to be when customers claim that they cannot wear a mask on account of a serious medical condition they have. Whether or not they have one, that’s none of your business, but it’s also not worth being infected by them for not being able to follow safety guidelines. You also know that if it’s a medical issue for them to wear a mask, why on earth would they risk being out and about at Target just to purchase a pair of jeans that they could have ordered online?
What are some other struggles you’ve dealt with in customer service? Do any of the ones I’ve listed hit home for you? Let me know below in the comments!
Featured Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/322570392062686199/
Scott Hill is a former middle school educator and current poet with multiple self-published collections. He has a degree in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Houston and resides nearby where he can be seen tending to plants at his job, snuggling with his dog on the sofa, or spending time with loved ones. He enjoys whiskey and wine nights and loves writing about other poets, personal life experiences, mental health, food, and sometimes Taylor Swift. Feel free to follow him on Instagram @scotthillpoetry!