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Old 09-16-2010, 02:39 PM
Irving Patrick Freleigh's Avatar
Irving Patrick Freleigh Irving Patrick Freleigh is offline
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In my experience, we act as syrupy nice to the rude customer as we can face-to-face, then talk about them behind their back. Could be in the breakroom away from customers, could be at the bar later, but we're going to vent and get it out of our system.

And on the off chance this gets used, I'd prefer to be kept anonymous.
Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Study hard. Be evil.

"I never said I wasn't a horrible person."--Me, almost daily

Old 09-16-2010, 04:35 PM
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Gawdzillers Gawdzillers is offline
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If your job doesn't require you to say very much to the customer, then don't, otherwise you're going to say something you'll regret. I was a courtesy clerk (bagboy) at a grocery store, and all we were required to do with customers was bag their stuff and say, "Have a nice day/night". If I got a nice customer, I would chat a little, but if I got a rude one, I shut my mouth.
"We were put on this Earth to fart around, and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise." -Kurt Vonnegut

Old 09-16-2010, 06:49 PM
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iradney iradney is offline
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I find letting the customer get it all off their chest first - interruptions make em even more angry, as does the phrase "calm down".
Lowering the tone of your voice also helps you sound more authoritative and soothing, and using empathic phrases like "I understand" That is very frustrating"
Or as I like to say EAR - Empathise, Acknowledge, Resolve/Respond. You will get the occasional assnugget that just wants to bitch for the sake of bitching. With experience you can generally tell who those are, and you can take control of the situation by offering solutions; if rebuffed; ask them what they would do and if it's something wholly unreasonable, tell them that you are unable to assist and terminate the call. But that's just my experience really...
The report button - not just for decoration

Old 09-16-2010, 06:55 PM
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CrazedClerkthe2nd CrazedClerkthe2nd is offline
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I've spent my last 5 years in customer service, both at retail and in call centers. It was the call center experience that really made me grow a spine and I've since come up with a list of truths about customer service.

1) Some customers will never be happy.

2) Some customers will have totally unrealistic expectations

3) You should never be punished for following policy, even if that means upsetting someone.

Dealing with difficult people really isn't that hard. Like someone else said, you learn not to take it personally and all you can do is offer as reasonable a solution as possible. If the customer continues complaining, escalate it to another manager or supervisor to deal with. If you are the manager or supervisor, make your final offer and give them the chance to stay or go. The threat of "I'm never coming here again!" is practically worthless in the eyes of a front line worker. We really don't care because we're not paid enough to care.

The problem that customers seldom see is a lot and I do mean a LOT of service workers not only have to put up with a bunch of crap from customers, they have to up with a bunch of crap by their superiors as well. Go ask a desk clerk if they feel respected by the higher ups, you'll rarely get a "yes" answer I guarantee it. The "morons in management" forum on this site is more the rule in business, not the exception.

Of the management decisions that have come down in the past year where I work, I can count the number that seem logical and reasonable on one hand.

What this means if that if we are overworked and underpaid and under appreciated by the people we work for, we aren't always in the best of moods or the most motivated when it comes to dealing with customers. It's a combative environment out there these days.

I try to limit the stress by doing as many non stressful things as I can when I'm not at work. Sites like this that allow me to gripe anonymously help too. I also work with a great group of people which really helps.
"If we refund your money, give you a free replacement and shoot the manager, then will you be happy?" - sign seen in a restaurant

Old 09-16-2010, 07:39 PM
NateTheChops NateTheChops is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Salem, Mass
Posts: 1,344

I wrote a series of articles about my experiences in the workplace. Here are a few excerpts that apply to pretty much every workplace situation, especially direct customer service.

If your job is just a paycheck job then that's how you have to treat it. Punch in on time, work your shift and go home. Do what's asked of you, of course and collect your paycheck at the end of the day.
Just remember, when going above and beyond what's required of you, you're doing it for you. But in all likelihood you aren't going to make employee of the year. And it's a very rare thing to actually be rewarded when a customer compliments you because frankly, that's what's expected of you.

Old 09-16-2010, 08:08 PM
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Rapscallion Rapscallion is offline
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Location: Wiffletown
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Quoth jedimaster91 View Post
ETA: Hey, Raps, how anonymous is this publication going to keep the comments? I work in a pretty specialized field and I would hate for my company to figure out I post here. If this publication is as popular as you say, I don't want to chance my boss reading it and thinking, "Hey, that sounds like Jedi. Star Wars related screen name? Yeah, that's definitely her."
As far as I'm aware, this is more or less about coping with situations, rather than specific examples and names. We may gain a few more members out of this, but I'm more interested in people reading it realising that they could act better.


Old 09-16-2010, 08:35 PM
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Dragon_Dreamer Dragon_Dreamer is offline
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Don't be afraid to stand up yourself in certain situations. Cowering will only encourage the bullying types to ramp it up. Firmly get a manager, firmly tell them they will need to calm down, and remember: Unless you are management, you are NOT paid to get screamed at. The manager might not enjoy it either, but they are there to take the flack.

And if your manager continually doesn't back you up, it's time to find a better job.

Old 09-16-2010, 10:26 PM
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ArcticChicken ArcticChicken is offline
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Location: Philly
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I just had a lovely interview with the journalist. I told her all about the night I quit the Pathmark, and I just realized I'm shaking a little from remembering it.

Anyway, this article sounds like it's going to be very good.
The High Priest is an Illusion!

Old 09-17-2010, 01:26 AM
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Wenchie Wenchie is offline
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Posts: 526

I worked for a company determining state funded health insurance for 7 1/2 years. Finally quit when it got to the point that I was coming home from work, crying, and throwing things because I was too stressed... that was 4 years ago.

I'm lucky that my job now doesn't deal with a lot of stupid when I have to talk to people on the phone... I won't go back to a large call center job like I had previously.

I always tried to remember that the people weren't (mostly) mad at me... they were frustrated/upset at the situation. The mute button was also my friend, though I became adept at hand motions and eye rolling. I listened to music while processing applications to relax, and also read ebooks between calls to distract myself. When you work in a company that is contracted to the state, you can't exactly vent... or have to watch yourself (and I hadn't found this site yet) so I also taught myself relaxation techniques to try to calm myself after an angry call.

And sometimes you just have to get out of your seat and walk away.

Do you know what finally got me to quit? I was getting at least one death threat (or threat of violence) per week.

Last edited by Wenchie; 09-17-2010 at 01:29 AM. Reason: typo & added a couple of sentences

Old 09-17-2010, 01:56 AM
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ralerin ralerin is offline
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Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,341

I've worked in my pharmacy for about 3 years now and I've not yet lost my innocence that most people are basically good. It's always the rude ones we remember, always the rude ones we come here to bitch about and always the rude ones we wish a swift death on. I've been bled upon, touched inappropriately upon the breasts, dealt with pee soaked money and have people who come in at 8am on a Sunday morning with hundreds of dollars and expect me to break them because we're the only one open. But I've also been hugged, thanked, and become the preferred cashier to go to for the customers many other coworkers despise. You know why? Because I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. I want to be that customer's preferred cashier because it means that I'm doing something right. I believe I also have a lot more patience than the average young adult, but my God sometimes I do want to punch people's lights out because they are just not comprehending what I'm saying or get snappy at me when I ask for their card or for a donation to our affiliated charity one too many times or even if they simply hate who I am. At the end of the day, Customers Suck is not only a place to vent, the community puts salve on the wound.

(I'd prefer to be kept anonymous)
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.-Winston Churchill
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