Do You Get Good Or Bad Customer Service By Throwing A Tantrum?

Do You Get Good Or Bad Customer Service By Throwing A Tantrum?

I like to believe that you get better customer service when you play nice and aim for a pleasant interaction, but I’ve also gotten what I wanted by sounding like a complete lunatic. Does it matter how you act so long as you persistently request what you want? How do you get good customer service?

Photo remixed from an original by Andresr (Shutterstock).

The Huffington Post suggests bad customer service comes from bad customers:

You asked: “Why can’t I ever f*cking get good customer service?” Well, ma’am, that might have something to do with you being a vulgar, miserable, malicious person. Maybe you get bad customer service because you’re a bad customer. Did you ever consider that possibility? I get it. “You’re the customer so you’re always right.” They work here so they have to bend over backwards for you “because that’s their job.” Well, you’re partially correct about that. Yes, you are a customer and, yes, they do work here. But it’s actually not their job to deal with psychopaths.

You want to aim high and treat people well whenever possible — which should come pretty close to always when talking about customer service — but does it actually make a difference in the way you get treated? Tell us about your experiences.

Maybe You Get Bad Customer Service Because You’re a Bad Customer [The Huffington Post]


  • “Why can’t I ever f*cking get good customer service?” Well, ma’am, that might have something to do with you being a vulgar, miserable, malicious person”

    Yeah, that makes sense (note sarcasm).

    You’re giving me incorrect information in regards to a mistake that was made by your company because I’m a bad customer.

    I believe there are bad customers. I believe that the customer is not always right. I completely agree that businesses and their personnel are not obliged to bend over backwards to satisfy unreasonable (or non-paying) customers.

    However, I also believe that customer service departments are there to assist paying customers. Customers that have actually handed over cash for a product or service, and by RIGHTS they need to be provided with service.

    What is service?

    Well, that means being presented with correct information in an easily understandable manner. And unfortunately that’s what consistently does not happen.

    And the moment that the customer raises being presented with the wrong information as being bad customer service is the moment that they become the bad customer, and the defence walls are raised. A line is drawn.

    Customer service representatives, please, give us the right information.

    Don’t give us the wrong information, or no information, and expect us to deal with it. Yes, I do mind incurring costs because of the mistake that you made. To be honest, it’s a little frustrating having to call you for the 10th time because your organisation fails to rectify its mistakes.

    So, please, let me explain the issue to you, in detail, one more time. After all, I have nothing else to do today. My boss won’t mind if I take the afternoon off doing your job for you. My kids can wait a little longer to be picked up. It’s not a problem. I’m more than happy to accommodate your ineptitude.

    Let me point out where and why the mistakes have happened because I know that it will be too difficult for you to do that yourself. I will hand you everything on a platter just so that you can make a mess of it once more.

    That’s not good enough.

    We’ve paid for the products / service.

    We need the right information.

    If you don’t have it, get it.

    Don’t palm us off.


    Almost every customer service department will give the same results. There is no training. There is no work pride. Bad customer service is now the standard. Staff are here to perform basic, perfunctory duties, and anything outside of the norm will be deemed too difficult.

    Employees aren’t encouraged or rewarded to learn product knowledge. They’re trained to palm off and get defensive when faced by a “bad” customer.

    Supervisors are tasked not with assisting customers but with deflecting requests in defence of their ill informed staff. It’s not very helpful.

    It’s no longer only the overseas call centres that are completely hopeless.

    It’s unfortunate that the customer service reps face the wrath that they do. Really, it’s managements fault for under paying and under training staff that really don’t know what they’re doing and are unlikely to remain within the job long enough to learn.

    If you’re an under paid, under trained customer service rep that is doing a bad job because of management, stand up and leave. You’ll be doing all of us a favour.

    It’s unfortunate that Supervisors take the defensive approach that they do, and refuse to listen to the issue at hand, and refuse to attempt to rectify it. Why should they take a pro-active approach when it’s so much simpler to classify the customer as being “bad” and then refuse to assist due to the label given to them.

    Hi. My name’s davedrastic and It’s been 6 days since I abused a customer service rep. One day at a time.

    • While I completely agree.. It can be tricky in some circumstances. You don’t sound like a bad customer and i’d hope every effort was made to make you happy – but they do exist.

      A better example would be:
      “Hi sir how are you?”

      At that point the rep has two choices:
      “Well, thats what you used so you must pay it” or
      “Let me see what I can do about that for you”.

      • In my case, if I am given the wrong information, if I am not assisted. I will be patient.

        But, I will also be persistent.

        So I will recognise the wrong information, I will do my best to convey that to the rep, and then will ask for the correct information.

        Then if the rep fails to present that (which happens close to 100% of the time) then at one stage, sooner or later, and despite my best efforts, I will lose patience and become a “bad” customer.

        I don’t start off being a “bad” customer.

        I start being utterly reasonable and present the issue as clearly as I can.

        But, when you get thwarted, and thwarted again, it’s entirely reasonable to lose patience.

        It’s almost inevitable. It’s certainty to be expected.

        What’s the other option?

        To accept the wrong information.

        Oh no worries, I’ll just wear these incorrect charges because that’ll make it easier for you Mr / Miss untrained CSR.

        No need to fix the issue, Mr/Miss CSR, I’m sure I’m being a pain by wanting to receive my entitlements.

        Let’s ignore my needs and I’ll toodle off so that you can waste the time of another customer.

        We’re bad customers because we’re getting bad service.

        If it’s a matter of a customer being unreasonable for no good reason, then the CSR/Supervisor/Organisation has every right to deny assistance.

        But when issues are caused due to the organisation concerned, and are not rectified, then of course the customer is going to become impatient, frustrated, angry, fed up, annoyed – and of course that will show in their speech.

        Unless we’re expected to give up every time. Which is what I’m doing more and more often.

        Been over charged $20? Worth spending an hour on the phone getting into an argument? Not today. So I’ll let them over charge me.

        What a great solution.

          • There is if its misleading as you say. And there are regulations regarding what they are required to provide you in nearly every industry.

            In the end though if it truly is just bad customer service.. Take your business elsewhere 🙂

          • I’m 100% certain that bad customer service is not against the law.

            Yes, some issues can be addressed to an appropriate ombudsman or the department of fair trading. However, this article is about bad customer service and bad customers.

            Taking up the customers time, and the ombudsman time is really a last resort option and in no way goes to rectify bad customer service.

            Yes, taking your business elsewhere is quite often the right thing to do – however, there are now so few companies that do provide good, or even reasonable customer service, that the customer is essentially going to be frustrated no matter which way they turn.

            If it were the minority of companies that offered bad customer service then the customer would have the upper hand. That’s just not the case any more.

            Personally I’ve chosen to avoid the cheapest option for most services if that means that I’ll stand a better chance of getting better service, however I’m learning that bad service is everywhere. It’s just a matter of how bad the service is.

          • You wouldn’t be dealing with a CSR unless you have an issue you want resolved, so i’m suggesting that if the CSR or a supervisor has not been able to resolve your issue then there’s no point in having a hissy fit. I’ve delt with too many [email protected] over the years so I give a warning and then if any aggression continues just call security and have them removed. I understand people’s frustrations but at the end of the day I wasn’t the one that caused the problem.
            Simply notify the CSR that you will be pursuing the matter further through the appropriate channels and leave it at that.

    • You’ve got a great point there!

      CSR’s should definitely be trained better in product knowledge and how to work within their system to provide the best possible outcomes for customers – it’s what I strive for at least. Although, when a customer who is just being an ass for the sake of it and basically won’t listen to what I have to say or they start threatening me, that is when I won’t serve them. It’s absolutely my job to help, but I’m not getting paid to be treated like garbage… an outlet for their anger. I’m glad to say this has only happened a few times in about 4 years!

      I can definitely understand that a lot of the time, customers will get screwed around because most CSR’s don’t really care about their issues, they just want to make their own life easier rather than going out of their way to help the customer. So the next CSR in line gets the abuse. The problem is probably that a lot of CSRs’ incentives are not really customer focussed… The industry needs a massive change!

      When I am dealing with customer service myself, I am always pleasant. If I get screwed around I’ll just be persistent and take it further if I need to. Generally speaking, people will be way more willing to help and go out of their way if you’re being nice to them.. If all else fails, just contact the industry ombudsman!

      • In my experience, most customer service departments have a palm off culture.

        If the rep can do nothing, they will do nothing.

        If the supervisor can do nothing, they will do nothing.

        It is becoming the exception, and not the rule, that a rep or supervisor will take control of an issue.

        To listen to the customer, and to know their products, services, procedures well enough in order to be able to ascertain the cause of the issue, and a feasible resolution.

        I used to work in Customer Service, and I would take pride in saying to a customer – leave that with me and I will come back to you with a solution. And that’s exactly what I would do.

        I would look into the issue. I would refer to those that would have relevant information. I would understand the issue. And I would get back to the customer. (On a side note, half of the supervisors I would refer to would have ZERO clue about anything).

        That NEVER happens any more.

        It used to.

        But now, as I say, the predominant culture within Australia is to not be thorough. To let things slide. Let the customer wear the issue.

        Is that because all CSRs’ are evil?

        No. It’s just that that’s the culture in which they’re being trained.

        Their supervisors know no better. Nor does management.

        No one listens.

        No one applies common sense.

        No one actually DOES anything to resolve issues.

        If it’s broken, why fix it.

        Why do a proper job when we can be sloppy.

        Why focus on customer service improvement when we can get by hiring untrained staff that will stick around for no more than 12 months.

        My feeling is that most managers have given up.

        They don’t know how to train staff – or rather, they don’t have the budget to train staff – and they don’t have the budget to retain their staff for very long. So no matter how slick the Training Consultant that they hire is, it’s inevitable that this years crop of CSRs will be just as bad, if not worse than last years.

        • Dave, You’re right. Please put your passion about this topic into a book or something. I am sure that you are skilled in towing down these tools that try their hardest to do the least amount of work possible. Ive worked with difficult people but ive learnt that it is my responsibility to keep myself under control, not be scared of hard work, not get pissed at borderline retarded customers who think that aggression is the only way to get what they want. People will revert to their asshole routine if they percieve that you are a wanker who will not help them. Then they spend the balance of their interactions with you punishing you for your bad attitude as a fail CSR.

          As for the corporate side of things, it is more economical for the company to properly train and pay CSR’s sufficiently. Ill give you my example. Telstra….

          I bought my sister an iphone 5 on a repayment option with a contract. I did the math and it was working out well. She lost the phone the first frigging day. Had insurance but it didnt cover the circumstances (because i was honest in my police report. Never again). APPARENTLY putting something down and forgetting it isnt ACTUALLY included in LOSS THEFT OR DAMAGE INSURANCE!!!?!?!? DAFUQ?!!? Aaaanyway. My sis wanted another phone and went into a telstra shop to get one. Instead of selling her another phone, linked to her contract on a Mobile repayment option (MRO) she advised my sister to get a whole other contract, new number the whole lot. So now there are two 80$/month contracts. But only one customer. Bad advice from a CSR. I put a complaint in. It took me 6 months of Indians calling me and threatening me with legal action for not paying the bill. Id tell them “Read the notes on the file, There is a customer complaint ticket. Ive already been in contact with credit management over this issue”. But id still get phone call after phone call, waking me up when im trying to sleep (i do shiftwork). I thought I had it all sorted (after three months of refusing to pay bills and calls) when a credit management consultant contacted me and I explained the situation to her. Two weeks later the calls begin again. Eventually I got a direct number for complaints and it was all sorted but this sort of shit is what drives old people crazy and they just pay the bill, despite the substandard service. I hate telstra. PLS DONT VOTE FOR LIBERALS THEY ARE GOING TO RUIN OUR ABN AND PERPETUATE THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS MONOPOLY OF TELSTRA!!!!!!

          • “People will revert to their asshole routine if they percieve that you are a wanker who will not help them. Then they spend the balance of their interactions with you punishing you for your bad attitude as a fail CSR.”

            Yeah. This pretty much describes my interactions.

            I won’t think that the CSR is a wanker just because they’ve not bothered to put their brains in gear, afterall, that’s how most people live their lives – like automated zombies.

            I will however think that the CSR is far worse than a wanker IF they want to play games AND REFUSE to help. Refuse to listen.

            Of course that will annoy the living shit out of me. And of course they’re going to be shown their stupidity.

            I don’t mind ridiculing these fools when I’ve done my best to be patient and they’ve thrown it back in my face. And don’t worry, they will be ridiculed.

            If all they have to do is listen and identify an issue, which they should be able to do given that they’re being paid to identify issues, then when that does not happen they are letting themselves down, and of course the customer, and of course the employer (who probably could care less and is ultimately likely to blame).

            To be clear, that’s not my primary aim.

            My primary aim is to get the issue at hand resolved, quickly.

            But, as we know, that rarely happens.

            Of course some of you will pooh pooh my justification of aggression, but then what do you expect? What are the other options?

            It’s not as if the customer requested an unhelpful CSR. Probably.

            RE: Insurance – wow that that wasn’t covered.

            RE: Having to pay 2 Telstra accounts. Yeah, you’ve been burned.

            I’ve been burned too. I won’t go into my example(s) but I have been burned. And guess what, I don’t want to be burned again, So when I deal with a CSR I try to get correct information. Because I know, from experience that:-

            a) CSRs are quite capable of providing incorrect information

            b) Incorrect information can be extremely costly. Financially or otherwise.

            So when a customer is faced by a CSR that is handing out sub-standard, incorrect information should anyone be surprised that we get a little concerned, frustrated, disappointed, annoyed, enraged by that?

            Again, it’s just common sense.

            CSRs’, if it’s your first day on the job, please have some slack, but refer to a more experienced employee. If you’re now settled in the position and are handing out bad information left, right and centre, please resign. Stand up, say goodbye, and walk out. You don’t belong there.

            A job isn’t just a means to pay you some money for sitting on your arse. A job is payment in return to providing a service to the employer, and if you can’t do that properly – whether that’s entirely your fault or not – then you do not deserve payment.

            Are you the type of person that takes payment that they don’t deserve? Then what does that make you? A fraud? A thief?

            Either way, do your job, properly, or please. find something else to do with your time.

          • What really pisses me off here about your comment is the fact that you just had to mention the race of the people over the phone. I work as a csr for a telco and anyone who says “I was on the phone to Manila/India…” really shits me up the wall. Now I do agree with bringing our call centres back here, but the attitude that most people have towards the staff of offshore call centres is ignorant and unnecessary.

          • I’ve found that the o/s call centres can be more helpful/polite than the ones based in Australia. Not sure why…. maybe it’s the sample of one…. but either way, I’m happy to keep the call centres off shore if they’re being more helpful!

    • As a person who works very closely with customer service in a, primarily customer service role, I find this to be a little offensive.
      Each day I do my very best to help every customer who walks through the door/calls on the phone. I go above and beyond to ensure they receive the best possible experience they can. After all, without them, I would not have a job.
      Please remember that not EVERY customer service agent is unhelpful & rude – there are some of us out there who truly care about our customers.

      • Then you are in the minority.

        Of course there are good CSRs out there. In call centres, retail and other environments.

        But the problem is that they’re becoming harder to find.

        Why? Training. Culture.

        If the CSR is told by management this is what you need to learn, learn it or you don’t have a job. And, this is how you need to deal with customers, do it, or you don’t have a job. Then CSRs would perform much much better.

        Instead management say :-

        hey Mr/Ms 21 year old supervisor, take on this small project of being solely responsible for the training of 12 new staff over the next 2 weeks. To be generous, let’s make that 3 weeks. No, we won’t be providing assistance. You’re a big boy/girl now, you’ve been with us 3 months now isn’t it. What’s your name again? Hop to it Jack/Jill, but remember we won’t be monitoring your progress at all, and you’re only being asked to do this because you have a nice smile. There’s no need to worry about it all going horribly wrong as we’re not going to be paying attention, and even if we were to discover the issues we’d find it impossible to do anything about it as we barely know what this company does. We sell balloons don’t we?

  • Working for a telco, I have seen just about everything. From my experience 90% of the time charges on a customers account they are contesting are legitimate charges, and of the 10% that are due to an error I’d say 8% of the time thats rectified painlessly. A lot of the contested charges are due to the customer not educating themselves as to what contract they are signing, not educating themselves about whats included and not included in their plan or not monitoring their usage, they just want their hands on the shiny new iPhone right now!

    You only ever hear of the people who have bad service or problems, very rarely will you hear tales of people where the salesperson/CSR have waived $600 in upgrade fees, or $1000 in overseas data roaming (don’t tell me you don’t know about overseas roaming, it’s in the media practically every week and you know its expensive so don’t do it!). I saw a guy who was downloading movies in New York while data roaming, rack up a $50k bill and contested it saying he never downloaded the movies, he aggressively denied it . After some investigation it was found through his iTunes account 20 or so movies downloaded. He was even getting excess usage notifications but ignored/deleted them. After he realised he had been found out he became very sheepish, but still the CSR/supervisor waived $45k off the bill having him only pay $5k. $45k of legitimate charges! Waived!

    I’ve had people tell me straight out “Yeah don’t worry about that I’ll just yell at them to credit me, they always credit me when I get angry with them.” What kind of attitude is that!? I know I’m doing the wrong thing but going to kick a tantrum so it doesn’t cost me.

    The honest, nice customers who are fair and reasonable in their requests I will call customer service on their behalf and contest every day of the week for them. The scammers who just want something for nothing I’ll put you on the phone and you can deal with overseas call centres yourself or heres the number for the ombudsman.

    Moral of the story, know what contract you are signing and what it entitles you to. Monitor your usage and make sure you’re keeping within those bounds. Pay bills on time to avoid late payment fees and if you don’t like it, don’t sign it!

    • WIth my former employer part of my job was to go over the telco bills each month and ensure that we were being charged according to the contract.

      The telco almost always got something wrong.

      Admittedly we tended to sign somewhat nonstandard contracts, but out of four or five different telcos, only one got it right first time and kept it right.

      That said, if you’re disputing a bill or getting poor service there’s almost never reason to be rude. Any problem you are having is almost never the fault of the person you are talking to; and in my experience most CSRs will try to be helpful if you are polite but firm. In dealing with telcos in particular, mentioning the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman) will often work wonders.

      When working on the other end of the line, doing technical support, dealing with a rude/irate customer would often result in poorer service rather than better. If the person at the other end of the line is being a rude jerk, you may think that the CSR will want to help you ASAP to get rid of you. It doesn’t always work that way. The most efficient way to get a jerk out of your hair is to put them on hold and leave them there.

      • “That said, if you’re disputing a bill or getting poor service there’s almost never reason to be rude. ”

        Being provided incorrect information, and not being listened to is being rude.

        “Any problem you are having is almost never the fault of the person you are talking to”

        It would be correct to say – Any problem you are having is almost never TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY the person you are talking to

        But, remember, the person that we are talking to are now tasked with resolving the issue. So guess what they must do?

        “and in my experience most CSRs will try to be helpful if you are polite but firm”

        Trying is, in many cases, not enough.

        The issue needs to be resolved.

  • From the service end of things, I think it’s usually dependant on whether the level or abuse or frustration is actually justified.

    If the customer is clearly screwed over and rightly pissed off about it then they will probably get a good result. If the customer is being unreasonably abusive over something trivial… well I suspect they probably deserve a “time out” in the call waiting queue.

    • Yeah – what you’ve said would be fair enough IF CSRs’ are able to identify issues correctly, which largely they are not.

    • True that. If someone comes to me raged up and justifies their rage because they are clearly in the right, as soon as I agree that they have been wronged and will endeavor to fix it, most will cool their jets immediately.

  • @Matt0

    “The honest, nice customers who are fair and reasonable in their requests I will call customer service on their behalf and contest every day of the week for them. ”

    This is the brunt of the issue. CSRs’ not understanding reasonable requests.

    • Fair point. I guess I’ve been around long enough to very quickly work out if it’s reasonable or not.

      tldr; Stores are becoming more customer service driven and should see improvements in the near future.

      I work at one of the major telco’s and much to the frustration of our franchise owners, the stores are increasingly becoming a service point over a sales point. We used to be ‘sales only’ because it was all that counted to our store ranking which pleased the franchise owners, but there is now a big target for customer service.
      The telco is actually buying out franchises across the country so they can have ‘One Voice’ and are turning it towards customer service. Obviously they feel that providing the best customer service will lead to more sales, but I’ve actually found it to be the opposite. All my time is taken up fixing problems with phones or teaching people the features of their phones or transferring 10gb of photos/vids from their old phone etc. While a customer wanting to sign up is standing there for a rep to become available. It’s a very difficult balance. The stores have recently got a lot more tools to assist with customer service enquiries such as access to billing (never used to be able to look up bills) and they plan on introducing more tools in the near future. Hopefully this kind of action will drive the industry to a more customer service friendly industry.

  • As someone who has worked with customers his whole working life it comes down to a simple formula.

    Negative, narcissistic and angry people will nearly always be dissatisfied with customer service levels. They will demand that a certain action is carried out but if completed will still complain that they had to complain.

    In life there are 3 types of customers, those that love you, those that are indifferent and those that hate you.

    Enjoy the first group, over service the second and mitigate the third.

  • On our business account, we have a lot of mobile phones. I wanted to upgrade one of them as we were consistently going over the cap. I called [insert telco name here] and got put through, explained that I would like to upgrade, and asked what options I had. I got put on hold. 20 mins later, I hung up and called back. I asked whether I could speak to that person again. Apparently not. I explained again that I wanted to upgrade and asked for my options. I got transferred to someone else. I was on hold for a little longer. I was asked the same questions again. I was given a long winded reason as to why the bill was so high. I explained that I wasn’t contesting the bill, I simply wanted a higher cap which the company was happy to pay for, I just wanted to know what the other plans/caps/contracts/whatever were. Transferred again. Finally able to upgrade our $70 plan to a $90 plan.

    Not easy.

    • Go in store and build rapport with the local guys! Give a block of chocolate or something to them if you believe they’ve done a great job because they most likely get recognised by their employer for their (hopefully) good customer service. Then you’ve got a great business relationship, and you know you can always go in to ask for honest advice and get stuff sorted when you need to.

      • “Go in store and build rapport with the local guys! ”

        Yes, give up on the Call Centres. They will not help you.

        “Then you’ve got a great business relationship, and you know you can always go in to ask for honest advice and get stuff sorted when you need to.”

        Wouldn’t it be great if that were the case, however who’s to say that the person you spoke with will be there next time, and that they’ll be able to assist you next time. The odds are against it.

        • Man it sucks you feel that way! You must’ve had quite a few bad experiences. But maybe you are putting too many people into the same box…?

          “Yes, give up on the Call Centres. They will not help you.”
          I didn’t even say they won’t help you! Sure.. they do speak English, but their comprehension is not always that great & it can sometimes be hard to explain what the problem is. I think your negative attitude is showing btw…

          “Wouldn’t it be great if that were the case, however who’s to say that the person you spoke with will be there next time, and that they’ll be able to assist you next time. The odds are against it.”
          I think you’re focussing too much on the “what if’s”… If you are honestly worried that they won’t be around for long, speak to the manager & even if they can’t solve your issue instantly, give them a chance. Also, wouldn’t you rather keep the money and business in Australia rather than offshore companies and wages?

          The problem is, is that everyone needs to earn money & unfortunately you do get some unethical people in this role. You just need to discern who is just out to make a sale & who is actually there to help people. It’s probably a rare breed, but don’t give up on us!

          • “Also, wouldn’t you rather keep the money and business in Australia rather than offshore companies and wages?”

            Actually, I could give two hoots about that. It’s really not my concern.

            As mentioned in another comment, I am generally happy to pay more money for services for good service – and that used to mean paying more money to those companies that keep Australian customer service.

            My feeling right now is that that is no longer the case.

            The Australian call centres can be just as bad as the overseas ones.

            Again, it’s not all about communication.

            It’s (also) about mentality. Culture.

            If the culture is to UNDERSTAND and to ADDRESS ISSUES and to PROVIDE RESOLUTIONS then customers will be happy as issues will be resolved.

            If the culture is to palm off, not listen. not go to any trouble into resolving issues, to be defensive, to lack knowledge, then the customers will not be happy.

            Take a look around your work place.

            How many of your colleagues know what they’re doing?

            How often do mistakes happen. How often do your colleagues give out incorrect information, knowingly or otherwise.

          • Take a look around your work place.

            well there’s 2 people. myself and another. we know exactly what we are doing and if we don’t know the answer to a question we would both be the first to admit it, but find the answer ASAP. Good thing we have been well trained though!

          • Yes. I think smaller companies have the potential to have a more dedicated and well trained work force. Not necessarily of course, but issues will be more apparent to managers and owners and as such more likely to be adequately addressed – unless the managers / owners are half asleep (and many are).

          • Raise your hand if you’ve actually hit commission in the last 6 years…. *sits quietly in the corner*

            From a store point of view, it’s often pretty difficult to hit commission. I know from experience…

      • My local store is at least 10 minutes walk in each direction, plus the time I spend there. That’s half an hour out of my work day for what should realistically be a 5 minute (tops) phone call.

  • I have a general rule of thumb.

    Never piss off the people that handle and prepare your food.

    There’s always the board soccer mum that has to make a fuss over trivial things

    being on both sides of it all I will say 80% of the time customers will forget that you are human and treat you like shit.

    If I was the waiter in the scenario above there is no doubt that i will spit in your food (that’s just me)

    The soccer mum could have handled it this way *hmm my food is cold, they must be busy back there* “Hey excuse me sir, sorry to do this but am I able to get my dish heated up it’s a little cold, thankyou”

    simple nice request,

    People forget that there is a difference between demanding and requesting, both will give you the same outcome but one could be tainted lol.

    PS: Don’t ever work in retail, it will only destroy your soul and make you loose faith in humanity day by day.

    • “the time customers will forget that you are human and treat you like shit.”

      That is such a reactionary thing to say.

      No – they don’t forget that you’re human. You have 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 eyes and are approx 5 to 6 feet tall, right? They know you’re a human.

      If you go to a restaurant or take away, and pay your hard earned money in order to buy hot food – guess what you should receive – HOT BLINKING FOOD. It’s not that complicated.

      No it is not acceptable to expect the customer to wear it.

      Waiter:- “Look Mr/Mrs Paying Customer. You have paid for hot food but that’s a little complicated for us right now, so can you please be less demanding and accept a sub-standard meal as we’re trying to run an inefficient business here”.

      Mr/Ms Paying Customer:- “Oh dear I’m ever so sorry. How dare I expect to receive what I paid for. Silly me, I didn’t realise you were busy providing other paying customers a shoddy service. Do beg your pardon. Should I clean this messy table whilst you charge me twice as much as you could”.

      Yes, don’t work in retail. It’s massively under paid and puts undue stress on under trained staff. Don’t do it to your self or the customers that you give shoddy service to.

      • I agree with some points.

        however the definition of what’s ‘hot’ food is different for everybody, the chef could have thought that the food was sufficiently hot enough to be served however the Mum thinks it’s not maybe her kind of hot is where you have to wait 5 minutes before eating it kinda hot.

        Consideration is the key when dealing with issues.

        Your not using what I mean in context in regards to customers ‘not’ treating you like you are human, [in dse] I once served a customer up at the counter and accidentally overcharged
        him by $1.00 for a pair of $20 headphones.. I did what I could I went to refund the $1.00 mistake but he did not want me to do anything.

        HE kicked up a massive fuss about it demanding to see my manager, my manager came over and rectified the issue by giving him a dollar out of his own wallet (in a sincere way) but nope the customer was still pissed off about it he then demanded that the 2nd item he puts through should be Free due to some *bs consumer rights policy he was preaching* the 2nd item was a $1500 plasma tv.

        My manager said “No, and explained why we can’t give him the TV for free>

        The customer ended up making me refund the headphones and TV and stormed out of the store.

        This bloke would have been in his 40’s – Middle class.

        I could go on about all the ridiculous experiences I have had working in retail.

        Things like customers having a hissy fit because you put through a violet potato as a purple potato, it’s your fault how dare you not know the subtle difference, my god son you work here you should know every little detail about that specific item, you spent 4 years in potato collage and have a PHD in potaology.

        • I’m pretty sure that most of us are quite aware of the definition of “hot”.

          Right, so that guy with the TV was a scammer. That’s not the norm. That’s clearly a bad, if not fraudulent customer. Hardly a typical example.

          The potato example is better. I agree, in some cases customers need to give some lee-way – because we’re aware that some customer service reps are incredibly poorly trained.

          Sure, the difference between a violet and purple potato seems trivial to me, but there are many many cases in which a subtle difference can make a significant impact. For all I know this might be one of those cases.

      • Waiter:- “Look Mr/Mrs Paying Customer. You have paid for hot food but that’s a little complicated for us right now, so can you please be less demanding and accept a sub-standard meal as we’re trying to run an inefficient business here”.

        Mr/Ms Paying Customer:- “Oh dear I’m ever so sorry. How dare I expect to receive what I paid for. Silly me, I didn’t realise you were busy providing other paying customers a shoddy service. Do beg your pardon. Should I clean this messy table whilst you charge me twice as much as you could”.

        HAHAHA! that is amazing!

  • As a CSR, sometimes you know it’s your company at fault. Someone in another department screwed up. Freaking inbound mail stripped the explanatory cover letter off your payment (again). Billing put somebody else’s info on your bill (again). The web team can’t design a site that doesn’t fall over and die, and none of the managers will prioritise “Understandable: can be read by a human” over “Legalese: can only be read by a lawyer.”

    None of this is something that we have any control over. None if this is stuff that we can admit to, on pain of being raked over the coals.

    And, just quietly, none of this is business as usual. 99% of the time the fault is client side. It is. Read what you sign. Try to engage your brain before you call me to hold your hand. And for the love of Mulder, don’t scream at me, because I will drop you in a fifty-minute call queue or add penalty interest to your account, because:

  • I work in retail and it is true, the nicer you are to me the more inclined I’m going to be to help you. My store doesn’t necessarily provide product information (it is mostly clothing, so there is only so much we can say about each item), so we don’t have a lot of issues in that respect. But we do get people raging over the slightest error.

    On Sunday for example, I was helping a customer and a woman asked for my assistance, I assured her I wouldn’t be a moment or if she preferred I could get another staff member to help her. She then began to rage because I shouldn’t keep her waiting (I was clearly preoccupied with someone else). I assured her I wouldn’t be a moment, and when I was done I would provide her with the same time and attention I was giving to the woman I was currently with. She continued yelling.
    It isn’t my responsibility to manage her schedule, and her attitude certainly made me less inclined to help her.

    • Yeah that’s rough.

      The other week I was in a shop in which I purchased about $800 worth of items a few months prior. There was only 1 worker and he was dealing with a couple, and half dealing with another couple. He caught my eye and said he won’t be long.

      I waited 20 minutes.

      He resolved my issues in 20 seconds.

      I was so annoyed. I won’t go back there again.

      To be fair, it wasn’t his fault. But that doesn’t mean that my time wasn’t wasted.

      There should have been a better way to handle the customers – be that another member of staff or whatever.

        • Maybe I should have been, but the reality is that the 20 minute wait was far too long. So, overall, no I was not pleased.

          I know it wasn’t his fault – but that didn’t stop me seething with every passing minute.

          He didn’t muck up, but the company did.

  • Bad service often goes right up the management tree.

    I applied for a loan with U Bank, and after getting a call in the middle of the business day, asked to be contacted only after 6pm on weeknights. They called again in the middle of the next day, and I repeated my request and asked if notes had been made from before (“no”).
    I then got a SMS while out on a weekend evening, to which I replied with a reminder of my weekday evenings request. Then I get an email from a manager saying they were having awful problems contacting me, to which I replied with my experience to date (no answer). Then I got an email from a senior manager saying they were closing my request as I was impossible to reach. I responded (politely and instructively) to that.

    Never heard from them again.

    • It’s always about management.

      They’re the ones that determine the culture.

      I used to sell technical items worth 10s of $1,000s of dollars.

      I used to secure $100k+ deals.

      The owner of the business would, without fail, go about disrupting the delivery of those items.

      He would do whatever he could to save a few dollars, and if that meant that the client would have to wait weeks for the items that they’ve been told (by me) are in stock, then that’s what would happen.

      On top of that, the owner would insist on hiring junior and inept staff. If they have a horrendous track record – not a problem, let’s keep them anyway. They’re cheap.

      Things would go wrong ALL the time.

      But that’s the common attitude nowadays.

      Let the customer wear the issue. There’s no attempt to do the right thing. To stick to promises and agreements.

  • Interesting read.

    Part of the issue is to do with the difference between Customer expectation and Company expectation (at the point of purchase).

    @Matt0 I have slight exception with your comment re: contracts; “Moral of the story, know what contract you are signing and what it entitles you to”

    Whilst you are right, and most discerning Gizmodo/Lifehacker readers will be careful to do so. That is not the majority of the customers. The majority are fairly uninformed ‘Jo’s’ who have been seduced into signing a contract by a slick sales person, who is more interested in their commission than the well-being of the customer. These salespersons are aided by the Telco they work for who collude into misleading the customer with confusing documentation, difficult to understand plans and multiple exclusions and asterisks. The cards are stacked against the customer and their expectations of a gold plated plan which costs virtually nothing and yet gives them untold wealth are soon dashed with their first bill.

    The anger of the customer is due to a completely unreal expectation that they have about the product that they have committed to buying, it’s the CSRs that then have to wear it.

  • “On top of that, the owner would insist on hiring junior and inept staff. If they have a horrendous track record – not a problem, let’s keep them anyway. They’re cheap.

    Things would go wrong ALL the time.”


    Unfortunately even “willingness to learn” does not equate to “has enough real world knowledge to make appropriate judgements”. I’ve worked in billion dollar companies and for sole traders who make the same cheapskate mistakes in their employment practices.

  • if you’re a dick, you will get treated like one, i’ve been in customer facing work most my life, Sales, IT support, removalist, call centre’s, IT shopfronts….
    I’ve gotten VERY good at making ignorant or stupid people feel real small without being unprofessional.

    you’re time is NO more valuable than mine, its all about mutual respect, i will greet and help you to the best of my ability, just wait you’re turn and be respectful im there to help.
    But if you’re a dick or in the wrong and refuse to acknowledge that then you’re fair game.
    NO job is worth putting up with bad customers, and i’ve never been fired or reprimanded for the way i work, in fact i’ve had irate and difficult customers that no-one else wanted to deal with tell me how refreshing it was to have someone tell them bluntly what is needed and then get it done.

  • I have worked in retail for years, for big companies too.
    If someones relaxed and easy going I will discount without them asking as a compliment to them for being a good person, which I don’t have to at all.

    If your a ‘lunatic’ having a tantrum or yapping at me like an animal thinking you know more than me I will get my satisfaction from proving I am more civilized, well mannered and more mature than you. There is a reason I work here and you don’t. I know my policies and how things are run and done.

    Hot tip people, act like a neanderthal and you will get nothing. We will get satisfaction from knowing you walked out knowing were wrong and you’re day was ruined. Because like we give a f*ck at the end of the end, someone is gonna come in 5 minutes later and buy the same thing.

    • I will get my satisfaction from proving I am more civilized, well mannered and more mature than you.

      Absolutely! It is amazing how well this works! If dealing with people on the phone that are super rude I just say nothing. Eventually they tire themselves out!

  • Not sure if anyone noticed but the pic for this article looks rather funny. Did anyone say phallus in ear!

  • I know that everybody get’s bad customer service every now and then, but if you’re complaining that you always get bad customer service, or even that most of the time customer service sucks – I suggest you take a long hard look at yourself because you probably come off like a dick.

    Aggression, sarcasm or talking down to the customer service rep does not make it more likely you’ll get great service, it means you’ll either get a “go away” settlement which will be the minimum needed to get rid of you, or you’ll get a “sorry, it’s the company policy” style response. Be nice and we’ll do our best to fix everything. It’s amazing how many people seem to think that bullying is the way to great service. The thing is, we have a lot of experience with customers trying to bully their way to a win and it just doesn’t work on us.

  • Haha davedrastic is the biggest whiner I have seen in a while! There is nothing more annoying than someone who thinks they know everything and over reacts to genuine mistakes (while subtlety demonstrating their infallibility). Ever wondered why all the bad things or poor customer service happens to you?

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