Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Unappreciated World of Working in Customer Service

It was very very quiet at work tonight. By that I mean there was on average, about one call every 20 minutes per representative working in Winnipeg. That's just unheard of, but it's been like that for the past two nights. I know why, but I won't get into it because it won't mean a thing to any of you. It's just a big change from the last two weeks during RSP season.

Anyway, all night the people who sit in my area pretty much "screwed the pooch" all night because there weren't many calls coming in. Usually late at night, the general type of call is to pay one or two bills, or just to get an account balance. Most people don't usually call their bank at that time of night with a big issue. Unless they're crazy. So, I took a call at 12:53 a.m., and the customer wanted to know every transaction in her account, including date, location, type of transaction and the amount from February 22 until today. And of course, there were pages and pages of transactions. So, I started listing off what was in front of me, and each time I told her a transaction, she'd say, "pardon?" So, clenching my teeth, I'd repeat what I had just told her.

My shift ends at 1:00 a.m., and by that time, I'm more than ready to go home. The clock was ticking away. My teammates left for the night, waving good-bye as they walked away from the vicinity, and there I sat trying to "help" this customer (did she really need this information right now??). There was one co-worker still there at the time, so I even turned to her to somewhat complain (without the customer knowing, of course). So, finally at 1:15 we were finished.

Then something happened that has never happened to me at my current job, and rarely happens to anyone where I work.

The customer thanked me for being so patient. She asked me for my name because I guess she didn't catch it at the start of the call, but I can't begrudge her because who really does retain that information anyway? Then she asked if I had a supervisor she could speak to tell them what a great job I did.

I felt so bad. I told her that my supervisor had left for the night, but if she would like, I could transfer her into her voice mail. The customer agreed to this, and I thanked her because that just doesn't happen in every day life, whether you've done a stellar job for someone, or just a good job. Anyway, she told me I deserved it because I work hard. How bad did I feel for complaining? I mean, she didn't know it was the end of my shift. She was calling the bank because she knows we're open ALL THE TIME, and she needed help. I had to remind myself of this for a few reasons. Number one, it's just not nice to be like that. Number two, maybe I've called somewhere in the past where the person on the other end was rolling their eyes or thought that I was stupid for something I've needed help with. And number three...I don't know. I guess there are only two reasons.

I know I didn't sound frustrated when I was talking to her, but there have been times when I've called somewhere and received a very condescending tone from the other end of the phone, and I just don't want to come across that way.

The people who answer phones for a living, or work in the customer service industry, have to keep one very important thing in mind, and that is each caller or customer they deal with doesn't know that you've answered the very same question they're asking you about a hundred times before them.

Sometimes it's hard to bear this in mind, but it is so crucial. As a customer, you never want someone to make you feel like you're bothering them, and as an employee, it's just bad karma to try and make someone feel that way.

What my customer did tonight is something more of us should do. Our first instinct is to call the manager of the pizza place to complain about service, delivery time, driver's attitude, etc. Why isn't it our first instinct to call to commend someone on a job well done, or praise a company for a fantastic product?

I think the world would be a happier place if we took the time do spread compliments rather than complaints. Or VD.

Seriously though, I'm going to start making it a priority to pass on to a manager of a store or restaurant that their employee was great.

What goes around, comes around..........


At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 7:25:00 AM, Blogger Jenn said...

I have been there a thousand times too! Where you get sooo frustrated at your customer who really dont know the procedures or just asking some questions that you have answered a thousand times that night. It is a bad feeling when you mute your phone and say some rude comment to your fellow employees then the customer turns around and is thankful for your patients, or your kindness. Makes you feel pretty bad after. But.... in our line of work it gets pretty repetitive and who can really blame us for getting a little frustrated sometimes?! I will make sure I make more of an effort to compiment people in the service industry more often when they do a good job. One more night Char and we are off for a few days!! Yipppeee!!!!

At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 9:34:00 PM, Blogger rubbing said...

that was an awesome blog. its funny how writing things down makes you contimplate what is wright and wrong.
on the other end of the spectrum is pure unintentional ignorance such as what happend today....
I was try ing to be funny at a house today as i noticed this lady's big fat gargantuan cat accross the room. So i says " ...whew ...i didnt even notice your dog sitting there..."
The lady looked confused and a little set back ..and i said "ya your dog..tee hee"
She goes on to say oh im sorry its just that my dog died last week and i ddint know how to react when you said you see m y dog.
then her eyes started to swell up and i high tailed it out of there.

ask me about this sometime

At Wednesday, March 08, 2006 10:17:00 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

OMG!! Is this a true story?? Only you Chris

At Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:33:00 AM, Blogger Char said...

So how did your foot taste?

This WOULD only happen to you ...

At Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:54:00 AM, Anonymous Kenny said...

Hi Char,

I am thinking she could have veiewed her transactions on line instead of wasting your time...screw her lol so what is she thanked you..they all should!

I know how you feel Char. Good Job!


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