Sunday, September 23, 2012

Soapbox Sunday: How NOT to Be a Jerk to Your Customer Care Agent

One would think that a person would know better than to call and yell at a customer service agent. 

Why in the world would you want to be mean to someone who has full access to your account and has the ability to help solve your issue?  A customer service agent is far less likely to help you out if you are yelling at them, cussing them, calling them stupid… 

Here are just a few suggestions and examples on how to make your phone call go smoothly:

Please don’t call us and put us on a speaker phone. You have to remember we are in a call center with tons of other agents, talking on their calls, and trying to hear you on our headsets.  Also, if you call on your cell phone and for some reason you feel the need to start hitting buttons, it’s PAINFUL to our ears. I am not exaggerating about this.  The sound gets amplified and it’s someone is playing cymbals on our ear drums.  If you do this and I politely ask you to please stop because you are making me deaf, don’t get mad at me.  I am a person too, not your personal play toy.

People, rules are NOT meant to be broken! Companies put rules and limitations in place for a reason.  It does not matter if I agree with them or not.  They sign my paycheck so I am going to do what I am told.  I cannot and will not break any rule because you feel the need to scream at me.

I cannot poop out specials. Sorry, I’m not that talented.  I cannot give you something that is not available, no matter how loud you scream at me. 

If you ask for a supervisor, you have to expect it will take some time to get one on the phone.  There’s usually only one, maybe two, that is taking escalated calls and you have to wait in line like everyone else.  Everyone else wants to tell a supervisor why they think they deserve special treatment just like you.  You have to wait your turn.

Prices do get increased.  It’s a fact of life.  And no, I did not personally raise your bill.  I know you would like to think I am a villainous customer care agent who goes around randomly price increasing bills and I targeted you specifically.  Same goes with sales tax.  It’s a fact of life.  No one likes it. We all pay it.  Get over it.

If you are sick and can’t talk, don’t call us.  You know we can’t understand you. So, don’t call and get mad when we can’t hear and/or understand you.

Don’t call with a mouth full of food or when you are eating.  It’s just gross. No one wants to hear you smack on your big chicken leg or slurp your beer.  Don’t say, “Sorry, I’m eating. I hope that’s ok.”  You know we can’t tell you it’s not ok.  You know we are at your mercy.

Do not boast about your education.  No one cares.  All you do is make yourself look ignorant.

Do not tell the rep that “I could do your job better than you!”  Good. Come do it.  Let me scream at you for 45 minutes because of something you did that was your fault.  If you think I am so bad, then hang up and call back and speak with someone else.

We have access your account and to all the notes in your account.  We can tell if you are lying.  I applaud for trying, but it’s not going to work.

Please have all your information ready when you call.  Most agents have to keep their calls below a certain time and face being disciplined if they don’t.

We are required to say the complete opening and closing statements. Sorry. Just shut up and let us do it.  The time you took to complain about it, I could have said it and been done with it.  We get monitored for quality and get points deducted if we don’t say it. We have rules we have to follow too, you know.  Let us do our job.

Please don’t threaten to sue.  It’s just silly.  When someone says this to me, I hit the mute button and laugh.  It’s ridiculous and it makes you sound foolish.

Would you yell at your mother, friend, dad, child, etc. like you are yelling at me? Would you be ashamed if you behaved in such a fashion in public where people could see and hear you? Think about it. I am someone’s daughter, mother, friend, aunt…  Would you want someone speaking to your family the way you are speaking to me?

People if you don’t pay your bill, it will be turned off.  We are in the business to MAKE money, not give away our stuff for free.  And yes, we DO have the right to turn your stuff off if you don’t pay.  Don’t call me and whine when it’s turned off.

Be very careful before rating your experience. You need to remember that how you rate it, reflects bad on the person who helped you.  If you feel like the person deserves a bad rating, then go for it, otherwise ask to speak with a manager and file your complaint about the process, not the person.  I am speaking from a very recent experience where I almost bend over backwards trying to help a customer out.  I will admit her issue was extreme and I would have been upset too.  I was able to fix her situation.  She was asked to go a survey about her experience and she rated it as poor.  It did not matter how much I helped this lady or how much butt kissing I did to help her, because she labeled it as poor, I got the coaching.  I could have as easily told her "sucks to be you lady" because the outcome was still the same.

It is things such as this that makes people not want to be in customer service and the ones that do it, are just so beat up and worn down from being screaming at all day.  There is only so much a person can handle before they snap.

My last and final thought for you is simple.  Be nice to your customer service agent, and they will be nice to you.  Remember, we have full access to your account and we can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  

I am reminded of a call where I spoke to a lady who upset about her bill.  In anger, she accused the tech of stealing her jewelry.  I guess she thought this would make me credit her account or turn her service back on.  “Did you call the police?” I ask her.  I thought this a valid question.  I would call the police if something was stolen and I suspected the tech of doing it.  “Well, no.” She answers.  As politely as I could, I responded with, “I think you need to call the police, rather than your cable company.”  She responded with, “Well, I didn’t see him take it.”

Are you a customer care agent with a story about a terrible call? Share it!


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