Everybody Needs A Little Customer Service Experience.

Now I’m not talking about actually receiving good customer service but rather working in customer service. Yes, thats right ! Working in customers service might actually do you a world of good when it comes to your people skills.  And also perhaps make the world a little nicer if everyone had some experience in the industry at some point of their lives.

Coming from a predominant customer service background I’ve had to deal with all types of people, whilst most are pleasant there are the fair few who are rude, obnoxious and down right disrespectful. If you’ve worked in customer care you’d know the type; the customers that are unpleasant from the get go.

Now I’m not saying that people shouldn’t get upset when something goes wrong. I do, and of course I’ll complain about it.  I’m saying that there are people that need to learn a few lessons in communication because of the way they speak to others.

Working in the customer care industry changes the way you respond to people. It  makes you realise that there is a person (with emotions, just like you) on the other end of that phone. As Summer Beretsky who’s had experience in the industry points out “despite our (occasionally) robotic voices, we’re humans”

Let me give you an example. I had a customer swear at various staff members because his delivery did not arrive complete. Fair enough I hear you say, well yes and no. Believe me when I say each person that spoke to him was courteous and willing to assist as best they could. It got to the point where no one could talk to him as he was swearing and screaming and wouldn’t let anyone get a word in edgewise.

Eventually after speaking to (by this I mean swearing at) a few of my team, who basically gave him the same answer and tried to assist without escalation, he got to me. I was a supervisor at the time so it got to a point that someone with ‘authority’ had to speak to this person. Again, I gave him the same answer that everyone else had given him (it wasn’t going to change, the customer isn’t always right).  I tried to explain the situation to him as calmly as I could. Well, he swore at me too and then proceeded to do the same to my manager.

Now if you think thats bad, imagine hearing this day in day out, not by everyone that speaks with you, but it’s enough to make you think whatever happened to good old fashioned manners?

Again, I get it when something doesn’t go right you need it fixed pronto!

My point is customer care representatives deal with a lot of angry, rude and obnoxious people (one of the reasons for the high turnover rate in the industry and also the grumpy customer service person you’ve currently spoken with-perhaps!).

When you’ve worked in the industry and you’ve listened to the way some people speak to others (not with others, because that would constitute a conversation), I can guarantee you you’d be appalled. As the saying goes ‘you wouldn’t speak to your mother like that’.

A stint in customer care especially in online retail or a call centre will inevitably make you aware of how people treat others, and how you in turn treat people.

This is just an opinion and I know most people are nice. But, I have to argue that working in the industry does give you better people skills. It allows you to develop patience, understanding and confidence to deal with stressful situations, as well as the ability to think outside the ‘box’.

Worst case scenario (if you want to call it that), you end up walking away with a realisation that if you don’t want to be spoken to like that, then you wouldn’t speak to others in that same manner.

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