What is Customer Service?

I think when most people think of customer service they think: the customer is always right and the Customer Service Representative must know this as a fact and treat the customer as such at all times.

I don’t agree and let me explain why. When I started working in retail at the age of 18, the above theory was my motto. I worked to serve the customer 100% with my time and energy. At that time, the job meant that the customer was always right and for the most part, they are and have to be. My first boss even told me that if a customer ever complained about me, I would not be questioned and instead they would always make right with the customer. 

These days, I don’t believe in this theory too much for certain Customer Service jobs. Currently, I am the Front Office Associate at a small office where I don’t have to worry much about “pleasing” the customers, only being friendly when booking appointments or taking their phone calls.

These are things that I believe to be true about today’s Customer Service:
1) I am here to serve you, but that does not mean that you can treat me like I’m insignificant. You will respect the authority that I do have over when can make an appointment.

2) I look young, but I’m not a child anymore. This means that I do not appreciate any comments you may feel like throwing my way regarding the way I “probably” live my life. I don’t party all night, I don’t live at home with my parents and I am capable of making life decisions without advice from strangers. This also means that you speak to me and respect me as adult no matter how old YOU are.

3) I will do anything to help you but I will not put up with attitude, being cursed at or being blamed for something I did not sell you, manufacture or have any responsibility for. The only responsibility I have for you is booking your appointment and making sure you fill out the correct paperwork. So let’s direct the blame to the correct party.

I am very fortunate to have a little backup. After spending an entire Monday getting yelled at and blamed, I found out today that my boss said something to the customer who gave me such a hard time. The fact that my direct boss acknowledged that you were rude to me says a lot about the company that I work for and I appreciate that!

So, the next time Customer Service doesn’t quite meet your standards maybe you should check your approach and attitude. There is terrible service out there – I have experienced plenty of it recently, trust me! However, a lot of representatives are merely responding to the bullshit from the customer that they have to deal with. Is that okay? Probably not but damn, let’s not make people cry over getting an appliance fixed or getting a cheaper price on something that’s already marked down. Because let’s face it, no one wants to work in Customer Service.

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