Wednesday 10 May 2017

Customer is always right...?

Customers. Without them, a business could never thrive. So while they frustrate many employees when things go wrong, and we all sometimes wish we could break free of our regulations and tell them how we really feel, it's never possible if we want to keep our careers intact. Plus, without these customers, assholes as they sometimes may be, said career wouldn't even exist - let alone have any risk of being in jeopardy should you misbehave. However, too often do some customers take things too far, resulting in maddening stress for employees.

I've served customers of many categories: monotone, harmless people who come and go with no real impact, lovely people who make you feel like you've done a good job and thus increase future confidence....and then, of course, the rude and abusive ones. These customers respond with such an attitude for many reasons - they may think you're being rude, they've been messed around by previous staff and now you're just unlucky enough to be taking the heat for it, or they're simply not getting what they want (even if for a good reason) and think going into a tantrum is the way to resolve it. Probably my favourite moment is when they request to speak to the manager.

Customers, in my and many others' experience, become angry in different lengths; some just become blunt, rude, and quite cold, snapping and patronising the staff member as if they're stupid and useless, as if they're trying to break you into, again, giving them what they want in order to avoid an argument. However, I've had many go one step further and bring personal concepts into it, with some threatening to slit my throat, fuck my mother with a dildo (I'm dead serious), burn me alive, and continuously request my full name so they can find me and "shank me". One had even wished my partner dead so I would know how it'd feel to lose someone you love - words spoken only because said customer didn't succeed in starting a product application due to failing the security process, and thought she'd bring up the recent death of her boyfriend as an irrelevant, pathetic attempt at a guilt trip. Kudos.

Can't say I've never done this at my desk at work.
What's more upsetting is I've worked for companies where the management continue to side with the customer, trying their best to nitpick my actions and locate my wrongdoings and using even the slightest faults to justify why a customer reacted that way and thus negating the need to take action against them. In fact, what's hilarious is while the customer can say whatever they like to a staff member, as soon as the staff member replies with maybe something as little as "oh just stop embarrassing yourself" or "get lost", the customer then wishes to raise a complaint for rude service. I'm not trying to justify or even promote rude behaviour towards loyal customers, but sometimes they press and press for a reaction and when they get it (and still nothing major really happens), it comes as some sort of surprise.

Customers may also go down the route of serial complaining; those who find any personal fault with a company's procedures and policies, even if they are fair and legit, and raise formal complaints in order to...well, we never really know how serial complainers work. Maybe they just want something for free, maybe they just like to express hatred, maybe they just want to make the lives of staff members difficult if they don't get their own way. At the end of the day, most would agree that they should simply get a life and grow up, and it's satisfying that most companies choose to remove serial complainers from their business if their behaviour doesn't stop, under the reasonable explanation that they're obviously not happy with the service being provided and so should seek similar services elsewhere.

But alas, customers. Such abusive ones are, admittedly, rather uncommon, at least in my experience, compared to those who come and go or those who, again, are incredibly kindhearted and increase your confidence. Don't get me wrong, some customers have a right to be angry and genuinely upset if they've received poor service, but expressing it professionally and calmly is the way to get a sensible and beneficial outcome - entering, again, an angry tirade solves nothing. It's always these bad ones that stand out, and we always like to rant about them because they leave a lasting impression - not in the right way. If you sometimes call up companies and act abusive, hurl insults, shout mercilessly, or complain about anything a staff member does, then let me just remind you of one key fact:

You're speaking to a human being.

Thanks for reading!