We’re Now Sick And Tired Of Bad Customer Service
Customer service, when done right, can be an enjoyable experience for both customer and seller.
However, as we all know, there are some horrible attitude problems which can occur. Although we keep coming up with more ways to shop online, human interaction is unavoidable.
Once upon a time in San Francisco someone had enough of taxi drivers and came up with systems like Lyft. Following that came Uber a well known brand and most recently Didi from Beijing.
These apps allowed us to self-manage our ride and opened up an opportunity for sharing economy.
Most of us do not miss calling taxi companies on the morning we need to get to the airport and a Karen bluntly saying “I don’t know,” when asked for an estimated time of arrival.
And we definitely do not miss taxi drivers who take the extra long route without asking.
The rating system on apps like Uber have made it possible for anyone to achieve a better success rate instead.
If you get a low rating it’s usually because there’s room for improvement. Don’t beat yourself up and take it out on passengers.
Like with everything else in life, the good comes with the bad.
She Said What?
Once, many years ago, I walked into a men’s clothing department, thinking that the sales girl would be trained in body measurements.
I pointed out another customer, so she could help me get a shirt for my brother who looked about that man’s build.
Instead her response was “why would I know the size of his shirt? I’m not the one wearing it.”
Service quality is one of the many reasons why it is sometimes better to pay a bit more at an up-market venue.
Staff rarely take out their personal problems on customers. They’re usually well trained in customer service and possess better management skills.
The A holes
These are your typical mouse at home but a monster at work personality type. In South-East Asia, we call this “takut Bini”. It translates as “someone who is afraid of his wife so he takes it out on everyone at work”.
Same goes for all other genders. And it’s typically seen in people who feel powerless at home or in their personal life.
I’ve been to a popular aquatic center and the so-called supervisor kept bragging about how he completed his masters degree well into his late 50s and that nothing was impossible.
“Sir, I’m here to purchase an entry ticket to the swimming pool, not listen to your academic achievements” I thought to myself.
Little did he know that the rest of us are also striving to achieve success one way or another, be it education, career, business or family.
Learning On The Job
It was raining one night and I was out to dinner with an acquaintance. Both of us were in our early 40s and established.
We chose a Spanish restaurant that was barely surviving. Their Eftpost machine was apparently broken or needed to be properly connected to the Wifi.
As adults we wanted a solution that wouldn’t make us go back into the rain and look for an ATM. So we offered to pay extra on the card for their efforts.
The waitress immediately pulled a long face at me. Obviously, in her books “these people are trying to buy their way into this”.
She couldn’t comprehend how inconvenient it would be to go back out in the rain, look for an ATM – that may or may not work – and walk all the way back to the restaurant.
Maybe if we were still teenagers we would have done it. But as adults, we usually have body aches and pains so we would avoid it if possible.
The manager, however, was more pragmatic and understood the situation so he was accommodating.
I did not appreciate the waitress’s bad vibe so I ignored her. She clearly has a long way to go and some inexperienced people are simply not coachable.
Once someone has decided to dislike you and not have the level of maturity to process complex situations, there’s nothing much you can do but to speak to their supervisor.
And when you ask to speak to the person in charge, you then also have to take the abuse of them looking angry that you’re “difficult”.
But they’re not the decision makers, so customers go to their team leaders for help.
Humour and Reassurance Can Help
One youngster with bad body odor at a department store did not know where the management office was. So naturally I asked to speak to the supervisor, because the day before a staff member had mistakenly packed the wrong size shoes. The left shoe was a size 9 and the right was a size 10.
The look I got was unbelievable. She probably thought I was going to complain about her not knowing where the management office was!
Knowing quite well the gossip that might come from this, I told her not to panic, no one was in trouble.
Thankfully the big girls at the management office had a good sense of humour as I made jokes about the wrong shoe size being packed in a hurry.
Wearing two different shoe sizes wasn’t the look I was going for this season.
Long Faced Macho Dudes
Then you have the ones who blame the world for all their problems.
One afternoon I went to get a slice of pizza, and the dude looked like he was coming down on something or hungover. He seemed so annoyed at my smiling face.
In front of all the other guys I said, “brother, I’m not here to take your money, please smile you are making customers feel uncomfortable”. Everyone laughed at him like he needed to hear it.
In the end, I did not buy anything because I didn’t feel like spending my money in a place that treated us this way.
Gone are the days where people could get away with being nasty to customers. We can now order online so delivery guys can have a job.
A photographer once taught us that if it felt like too much effort to smile, then you should bring your mind to a happy place, like a food you enjoy or how much you enjoyed last night’s party.
Your expression would then usually light up and customers wouldn’t feel like they were doing something wrong when entering your shop.
There’s a reason why cheerful people are often at the frontline!
Airline Ground Staff Threats
Two bag drop off machines broke down and there were already two floor staff handling the situation.
So I went over to a member of the floor staff on the other end. I asked for assistance in the priority lane because some of us had waited in those two lines for an extra 20 minutes.
This means I’ve waited a lot longer than I should. Could you please point me to a machine that works so I don’t miss my flight?”.
“I need you to wait for an available machine, there’s only one of me!”
This statement shows that he was feeling overwhelmed, meaning he was unable to cope with the stress of the situation.
He told me off and thought he had done the right thing by shooing me away.
I then said “You’re not the one flying. I have to catch the flight; if I miss it then it’s on me.”
But he heard it as something else – he thought I was undermining his position. So he replied as he walked right towards me in a threatening manner, “I work here. I’m a crew member and I can get you thrown off your flight”.
“No you can’t, I have done nothing to you.” I told him.
He continued threatening me when he should have been helpful.
“I’m about to have a meltdown, please walk away. You cannot yell at passengers like this.” I continued repeating this several times, but he was too caught up in himself to listen.
He kept threatening and stood close to me, trying to make me feel intimidated, then got angrier when I wouldn’t back down.
However, he eventually walked away, shaking his head in disbelief that I did not cater to his feelings and instead, stood my ground.
A Lack of Training
Being in customer service, he should be trained to handle complex events such as emergency situations.
Regardless of the fact that customers are frustrated at lining up because of not just one, but two, malfunctioning bag drop off machines, he was in a professional environment and it was his duty not to aggravate and gaslight matters.
People have a flight to catch and it is not him who pays for the missed flight.
We know very well that the airline system is designed to take money from customers to pay for his salary. Therefore it is he who needs to walk away instead of getting into a heated argument with passengers.
His colleague, a lady at the other machine, was however, accommodating and experienced. She agreed that he simply didn’t know when to shut up or how to handle chaos.
From what I gather he was known for being incapable of handling stress.
In addition, he thought everything was about him. She was a lot more compassionate and understanding. I dropped off my bag and said thank you to her.
People who are new to the workforce should really be mindful of themselves and that in reality, no one has a crystal ball or a voodoo toy of you to give you hell on purpose.
In saying this, there are also those who become so comfortable in their workplace that they forget to be of service to customers.
They become territorial. You walk in to buy something and they give you attitude instead.
I’m sorry I walked into your place of work so my money can contribute to your salary. I truly am sorry.
The Inexperienced Pharmacist
With our beauty routine, women often tend to return to the same venue to grab supplies. So it was that I walked into a popular chain pharmacy recently.
In my case I visit nearly every other week because I go through my products quickly and the older I get, the more changes I see in my skin.
And coming from a large family of mainly women, it is usually easy for me to have an immediate rapport with the floor girls at this chain.
It’s called having a sense of “sisterhood”.
This one particular pharmacist at a venue in the CBD, was however stuck up. I went to her two days in a row asking for assistance and information. Both times her response was curt and unhelpful.
Not Just Once, But Twice
And on the second day, she proceeded to leave her high and mighty prescription counter, go to the front of the shop, watch me pay for my item and use the standard “it is our policy to do a random bag check”.
Usually I would gladly co-operate. However as women, one of the many things we are very good at is picking up on the “BITCH VIBE”.
She also wanted me to empty my bag. This is when I said “No. I don’t like your attitude and I’m not going to allow you to degrade me. I don’t care for you, go away”.
Feeling extremely insulted that she would imply I stole something, I walked away as fast as I could.
But after a few minutes I decided to return and ask for her name. This time she was back at her pharmacy desk, so the girl behind the check out counter apologised for her poor treatment.
Needless to say, they received a 1 star rating review on Google afterwards.
This may be unfair on her management and the other girls. But as a consumer, I’m not doing her any favours by allowing this type of behaviour and poor customer service etiquette.
Smiling and being friendly would have been the right way. However, in a big city, some people tend to go to work like the world owes them something.
And in her case, when I approached the prescription counter for assistance, both days her bad vibes were consistent with her long face.
The Possible Solutions
Self Care and self accountability will help you mature into different areas of life and we, the customers, no longer want to be the casualty in your growth process and professional development.
If you go to work feeling unwell or with a hangover, maybe ask to take on a different role that’s not in the frontline.
As with personal matters such as death in the family (and grieving), ask for paid leave.
Take time out when you feel burnt out. If you are new at your job, please ask for a badge that says Trainee so customers can understand that you are in indeed in training.
More and more of us, both men and women, are household income earners. You’re not the only one in pain, every one of us is just as exhausted as you.
Make Healthier Choices
According to the Sleep Foundation, when working the night shift, sleep in a dark room during the day.
Your internal clock is usually out of alignment and could be damaging to your sleep cycle. When you are on your feet the whole day, take Magnesium Glycenate or sometimes known as Magnesium Bisglycenate after consulting with your healthcare practitioner.
It is the best kind of magnesium for muscle recovery, joints and heart health.
You could channel your “angry teenager” energy there and spend the other days being your pleasant self elsewhere.
Lastly, others are also working hard like you are, so please give customers a good experience when we come to you for service!
Coming Up On Our Next Story
Security detectors in stores that go off for no particular reason when you know very well that you have taken nothing. Malfunctions of these machines when not fixed or maintained properly, can lead to unnecessary problems.
Security guards tend to get all excited at the wrong person most of the time and embarrass you in front of everyone even when you have your receipt to prove that you have stolen nothing.
Their hiring security management office often don’t care about maintaining those machines and do not send the security guards for proper training, instead allow problems to occur over nothing…
to be continued.
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