Customer service jobs are not easy, at all. Elderly people in your face, entitled tourists, and impatient, annoying questions are no fun. Don’t even get me started on arguing over the price of something that you CLEARLY have no control over! Misery loves company, which is WHY these customers act the way that they do! This article is one I have been meaning to write for a while now. I consider myself to be a very compassionate, empathetic person who treats others the way I want to be treated. The reason I say this before introducing the content of this article is because not everyone has compassion, and not everyone has a heart.
1. Treat Others With Respect!
I work for a large company in the communications industry, where many employees handle a variety of different tasks; so miscommunication is inevitable.
During my time at this job, I have experienced a number of inappropriate situations. Given that it is a standard 9-5 office job, I do have customer interaction, face to face. As a college student, sitting behind a desk in a comfortable office chair for a paycheck seemed acceptable at the least.
I have been sexually harassed, insulted, yelled at, and so on and so forth. My time at this job started out simple, handling basic financial tasks, and given the fact that I was new, nothing horrifying happened to me in my first few months, making me feel a level of comfort and confidence.
A customer service representative does NOT mean we can take abuse. There have been several inappropriate interactions that have brought me to tears.
First of all, if you are coming to someone’s work, expecting a service, you WILL treat them with respect. This means, if a line has formed and the previous customer has not walked away, it isn’t respectful or kind to just aggressively walk up to my desk and demand that I look up your account. Seasonal residents are the worst; not knowing what patience is if it hit them in the face. Respect means if an employee asks you how you are, it is respectful and polite to say “good, HOW ARE YOU?” Instead of just “good.”
2. Lose The Entitlement: We Don’t Owe You Anything
There is a very false notion that if you work in customer service, a customer can treat an employee horribly and still have it be ok, well not anymore. In certain office environments, standard mutual professionalism is required. I will not be yelled at, and you will not bark out orders at me as if this is boot camp. We’re all adults, let’s act like it, and when the customer doesn’t get their way, stomping your feet won’t help.
There is a certain level of entitlement, especially among the elderly. Because I was born in the late ‘90s and I look young, it does not mean I’m not mature, intelligent, or capable of doing something correctly. A lot of elderly people are ignorant and resent young people in their 20s (partially for their youth), but partially because they assume we’re lazy. (Thank you, generational stereotypes.)
Of course, there are some customers that are wonderful, but there are some that make disturbing comments and don’t even make the job worth it. As a 22-year-old white female, I have been touched on the shoulder, grabbed, among other things. I have received comments like, “I’m sorry for staring at you, you are so beautiful. Your husband must be one proud man.” I’m not married, thank you, and leave my boyfriend out of it. In case you haven’t realized, it’s not appropriate to make comments about people’s romantic lives, especially in an office setting. Didn’t we learn that in …. 2nd grade?
3. We Are People Too… WITH FEELINGS
I have been harassed, personally sought out, by customers that take my general kindness as an indication that I’m flirting with them. Customer service reps are required to be pleasant, and no, by handing you a receipt I do not want you to tell me I’m beautiful. This particular man put his hand on my shoulder and told me I am beautiful, as well as asked me about my plans for the future. Not appropriate, and I can’t help but wonder if those were his intentions of coming to my work, instead of pretending to have actual business to take care of.
I have experienced a number of rude and disrespectful customers, and it’s embarrassing when a 22-year-old has to be their voice of reason. I’ve had people comment on my appearance, and I’ve had to say “I’m not comfortable answering that.” Or, “it’s not polite to comment on people’s looks.”
Doing what I do for work can be exhausting. I can’t imagine going into an office and treating the employees this way. In my experience, I encounter a wide range of things, people that are very lonely and look forward to their monthly visit, people who take interest in me personally and don’t hide it, people who take out their personal problems on me, and so on. I actually had a customer start crying, balling her eyes out, because of issues within her marriage.
This type of behavior just isn’t right. In the summer, when all of the seasonal residents come to my town, it is disgusting how they think the world revolves around them. Snobby and pretentious doesn’t even begin to describe the level of intolerance they have for normal day to day experiences. They want to be waited on immediately. I’ve had people from New York, of course, cut a line full of people who had been waiting. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Florida residents that summer here is the absolute worst. I hope they are reading this right now because no, the world does NOT revolve around you.
4. Being Rude Won’t Solve Your Problems
Does walking into an office and treating the employees with disdain make you feel any better about yourself? Does making a young female feel uncomfortable and unsafe at her job make you feel like a big man? Or does yelling at me about your account help solve the problem? Working in customer service can be brutal, mentally exhausting, draining, and overall unpleasant. Unfortunately, there are certain people who live to make others miserable. There are certain people who feel better about their sad lives by making other people feel poorly or intimated by their awful personality.
I’ll never understand how being mean will get you what you want. I dread the seasonal residents. I dread waiting on all of the elderly people who have no concept of common sense or personal space, and just want to brag about how many homes they own. Congratulations, your world must be pretty sad!
The way I look at my job is like a stomach ache. It is uncomfortable, unpleasant, and most people try to avoid it. Most people feel the same way about customer service jobs, their draining, and unpleasant.
Customer service jobs are really draining! I hope everyone enjoyed reading this article about my experiences. Have you ever worked a customer service job? Comment below! Thank you so much, everyone, for reading!
Feature Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/703968985485494540/
Senior at UMass Dartmouth with a minor in communications, writing has always been a part of me. I believe writing is a powerful form of self-expression, and I couldn't have found an internship more aligned with my goals to pursue a career in this field.