Where Do I Go To Complain About A Crappy Customer?

I work in a customer service industry. This particular one for fifteen years, and prior to this, another ten years of miscellaneous customer service jobs.

Every single day that I go to work it is necessary for me to go in with a good mood, regardless of what is going on in my life. I have to ignore it all, and focus on the most important thing for the next nine hours - my customers. Like the people who are going to be helped by me today, I have stress, and sadness, and fatigue and anxiety regarding whatever is happening in my life. But NONE of it is important for the next nine hours. I am an expert at customer service. You would LOVE me.

However, every day I am mindful of the knowledge that one slip-up from me, one "not-up-to-snuff" response, one turn of phrase misinterpreted and I could be fighting for my reputation. I have been screamed at, cursed at, threatened, lied about, lied to, and complained about. These events happen rarely, but they happen. It's the nature of the beast. I am always ready to accept responsibility if I'm at fault. I'm not stubborn or hardheaded, or hardhearted. My reaction is always to understand what the customer wants, know what I'm authorized to offer, and try to exceed their expectations. I do this so seamlessly that I rarely get a disgruntled customer. I like to head 'em off at the pass before anything escalates.

Here's my gripe. You can be obnoxious to me, pissy with me, cop an attitude and be disrespectful. You can be nasty, sneaky, and belligerent. I have no one to complain to about YOU. I don't get to ruin your reputation, and have you jumping through hoops explaining yourself to your superiors. You can walk into my department with a massive chip on your shoulder and unload all your frustrations on me because someone else has pissed you off today. I get to be the person you dump all that on. And I have no recourse.

The Internet is full of consumer sites where customers get to sound off about any business, or any person within a business, rightly or wrongly. It's an utterly one-sided futile argument that is so often grossly unfair, and yet others see it and think it must be true. I wish there was a place for us to complain about YOU when you screw up!

You, as my customer, are the reason I have a job everyday. And I do my utmost every day to make you happy. Just please understand that you are dealing with humans who feel just like you. Give us a chance to solve your problem, by giving us time to think of a solution. Ranting and raving like a lunatic gets many people frozen, unable to think fast enough. Cursing and pitching a fit, especially in front of other customers is not helpful. I see so many younger, less experienced people get berated and verbally abused by customers so often. Do you understand that it takes years to have a solution for everything? Give people a moment to catch their breath and see if they can help you in a satisfactory way.

Lastly, people in customer service jobs are there because they LIKE people and ENJOY helping you, (well, most of them, anyway!). Show a little respect to them too. It's not "customer slavery", it's "customer service". They're not beneath you, or less than you. And remember, the computer programmer can go into work everyday, with whatever crap is going on in life pasted all over his face. Nobody cares. But the person who has customers to face has to squash it all down to help you, make you happy, and pray to God they don't get a bad "Yelp" review.

Thank you for listening.
SKeshvari SKeshvari
46-50, F
1 Response Jan 14, 2013

I love you XXXXXXX.
This use to be my life too, for over 24 years ! And may be again .
Thank you , for sharing this , i could have said the exact same thing.

Certain times of day would often bring in the people who had just finished work and i knew that i would be their first "target ". They would unload on me, before heading home.
As Manager i often had to defend my staff from the same treatment , and console the ones who were in tears over something they didn't do.
Often, i was the one who was elected to handle the nasty customers, when everyone else was too scared to deal with them. I actually had quite a few apologize to me, once they had come to their senses.The rest were just idiots.
The upside of being the poor customer service worker who had just been abused by an angry customer, was getting a front row seat to the action that came next. More often than not, other customers turned on them and defended me or my staff for doing a great job.
It always stunned me, how someone would be so rude and abusive, to the very people who are preparing and serving their food ????Not the best idea , i would think.

How wonderful it would be to Name and Shame the really nasty ones.
Kind of like a shop owner, posting photos of those who have stolen from his business, on the front windows of the store ! NICE.
The only way we were able to handle repeat offenders was to serve them in pairs , print duplicate receipts , repeat and check the orders as they watched, then wait for them to return a little later to claim that they were missing items. They didn't expect me to pull the copy of their receipt from my pocket and put an end to their game.

Here's to all the dedicated, long suffering, customer service workers.
Well done SK.