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  #21  
Old 09-17-2010, 01:48 AM
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EricKei EricKei is offline
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I prefer to be kept anonymous, as well. Feel free to think up a suitably preposterous pseudonym for me ^_^

Sometimes, one of the best ways to cope with a job that you don't enjoy working at is to remember that Respect goes both ways -- if your higher-ups treat you like trash, and allow the customers to do the same, then you should treat the job itself (NOT your co-workers) as similarly disposable. Always remember that, unless you have a contract, there is often little or nothing preventing you from simply walking without any warning at all. It's unprofessional, and it can cause problems for those left behind, but there are times when you *must* do so in order to maintain a firm hold on your sanity. I've had to do this exactly once, ever, and I hope I never need to do it again. This was a job where I was regarded as a fairly long-timer, too. That being said, if the need arises, I will not hesitate to do so in the future.
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"Our psychic powers only work if the customer has a mind to read" - me
"Never assume your users are stupid, but never forget that they are." ~ anon. engineer
“Last night, you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again.” - Morticia Addams

"Sexual intellectuals. They're f@%#ing know-it-alls" - Chuck Yeager
"Good men don't need rules; today is not the day to find out why I have so many." - The Doctor
"[Friendship,] like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself … has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ~ C. S. Lewis


  #22  
Old 09-17-2010, 02:39 AM
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Oddly enough, I cope by taking pride in my job. Whenever I'm getting yelled at, or treated as though I'm a lesser being (becuase, let's face it, any job that interacts with the public at a retail or sales level has people thinking that the employees are undereducated, underachieving halfwitted robots), I tell myself that they probably couldn't DO parts of my job. I have to smile, I have to try and find a solution to their outlandish requests. I don't have to like them. but I will do the best damn job I can, becuase in the end, I want to say that I did everything I could, and if they were unhappy or pissed, then it isn't my fault. I was competent, polite, well mannered and capable of helping them. THEY were the ones who were unwilling to listen or to compromise. Yes, I work retail and the pay sucks, but I'm damned good at what I do, and no one can take that from me.

Further, I try to let it all go when I clock out. I don't think about work unless absolutely necessary. I come to CS and will vent and share stories, yes, but I don't think about that one shipment that was so screwed up it took 3 phone calls to a publisher to fix it. I don't think about the 4 pallets I just received, or the deadline I have for returns. Remember, your job is not the be-all end-all of your existence, it shouldn't be. Even if it is a field you love, it shouldn't be all consuming.

When all else fails, bake bread. Punching dough is very therapeutic.

Excuse the rambling. Here's hoping something sensible came out of that. Feel free to tweak as needed and yes, I'd like anonymity. I keep my online handle of Lupo pretty hush hush IRL, but still, my company frowns on any kind of hint of unhappy employees or publicity, regardless of the situation. Blegh.

  #23  
Old 09-17-2010, 03:13 AM
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The worst customer service job I had was when I worked at an outsourced call center (but still in the US), for a credit card company's Retention department. I had to convince 60%+ of people who spoke to me that they should keep their credit card open, despite their $59 annual membership fee, $300 limit and/or 29.9% APR. As part of this job, I was required to "connect with" and "empathize" with customers, which my employer interpreted as "Make them think your life is just like theirs." I was encouraged to fulfill this requirement by telling my customers things like "Your husband is in the military? So is my husband!" or "You live in Colorado? I used to live there!" even if it wasn't true. I created several personas that acted as a barrier between myself and the customers.

I also coped by drinking too much. I probably could have handled the customers without the drinking, but the customers plus the way we were treated by management threw me over the edge. The realization that I needed to drink to get through the week led me to quit the job.

  #24  
Old 09-17-2010, 07:10 AM
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On the anonymity thing, I gave some background about myself to direct potentially untoward attention in my direction. I did point out that I'm not the focus of the article. (Nearly offered some of my more flattering photos, actually - not the sheepskin rug in front of fire ones, though...) I've PMed some of you in this thread the email address of the reporter.

Rapscallion

  #25  
Old 09-17-2010, 07:23 AM
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Having a sense of humor really helps me.

One time many years ago at the " Stop and rob" , gas station c-store job I had a customer yell at me for refusing and alcohol sale after legal cut off.
Her exact words. "You're a bitch" and my response "Yes, I am" nice and proud of the fact. It was just one of those moments where I could not give the customer what she wanted.
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  #26  
Old 09-17-2010, 07:45 AM
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I take pride in the job I do, I do my best to give my customers the best service and attention that I am capable of. I do get angry customers at times because that is just the way the food business works. I have learned to treat their concerns with empathy and to do my best to address those concerns. I do not allow a customer to verbally abuse me or any of my employess and I am lucky enough to have back up from upper management and the owners on this. When a customer starts to swear at me I will tell them that I will not help them if they continue to swear and generally I use a calm manner, I find that more than 90 percent of the angry customers will start to feel ashamed of their behavior and apologize and as a result we are able to come up with a solution to their problems. I don't let the rude people get to me, I never take it home with me. I have found that generally most people who frequent my establishment are nice and the nasty ones are infrequent.

  #27  
Old 09-17-2010, 02:39 PM
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Has said reporter taken a gander at the War Story thread? After all, the intro to the section says something to the effect of "epitomizes customer service" and other things that describe war stories. ... That and they're just amazingly... something.
EDIT:
I consider myself blessed beyond measure that I haven't had any of the ... mean or rude people in what customer service jobs I've had. I'm not a quick-witted, outgoing, or stand-up-for-myself person-- and the stories on this site have made me grateful for the production job I have currently. I haven't had bosses who were cruel or who stole money from my paycheck; I haven't had coworkers who were useless (or worse!); and most of all, my idea of a stressful day at work is having an hour to do a four-hour order. If I had to put up with being belittled, derided, and undermined by my coworkers and managers... I would be a wreck. I honestly believe that if a customer screamed at me, for any reason other than an emergency (like the cash register's on fire sort of thing), my 'coping mechanism' would be bursting into tears right then and there. I understand why people can be mean-- but it doesn't mean I can effectively cut them off at the knees and show how much of a jerk they are. Please, Reporter-person, reiterate that whoever is behind the counter at your local grocery is 1) human, just like you 2) most likely is in school 3) is most likely not mentally deficient 4) or emotionally deficient and 5) most likely has another job, just to make ends meet.
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Last edited by teh_blumchenkinder; 09-17-2010 at 03:49 PM.

  #28  
Old 09-17-2010, 04:20 PM
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Deadline's over, folks. This is an article for the Wall Street Journal. wsj.com, I believe. I said I'd heard of it.

Sue's thanked everyone through me for their responses - hope it's a good piece

Hopefully we'll have a link to the piece on their website shortly, but I'm away for the weekend.

Rapscallion

  #29  
Old 09-17-2010, 04:47 PM
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I'm looking forward to seeing the finished piece.
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  #30  
Old 09-17-2010, 09:58 PM
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EricKei EricKei is offline
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I spoke with her a short while ago on the phone, really good little interview, mostly concerning the incident I referenced above, and what I've learned from it. It was after the deadline, but she is working on more stories in the same vein, so we'll see.

I did make her promise that, IF she uses it, she can either use my real name (her editors prefer real names, presumably because anonymity seems to carry less weight at times), OR reference CS. Not both in the same article. ^_^ I also impressed upon her the desire of both the site and all of us to have all users remain as anonymous as possible (for obvious reasons)

I also got in a few good words about the site here and how the boards work -- she lurked a bit already, and she commented that the boards are definitely more civil than what she expected (I'll admit, I was trepidacious about that myself when I first joined). I directed her towards some of our more interesting areas for further reading (War Stories and Praising...), as well.
__________________
Acts of Gord – Read it, Learn it, Love it!
"Our psychic powers only work if the customer has a mind to read" - me
"Never assume your users are stupid, but never forget that they are." ~ anon. engineer
“Last night, you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again.” - Morticia Addams

"Sexual intellectuals. They're f@%#ing know-it-alls" - Chuck Yeager
"Good men don't need rules; today is not the day to find out why I have so many." - The Doctor
"[Friendship,] like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself … has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ~ C. S. Lewis


Last edited by EricKei; 09-17-2010 at 11:15 PM. Reason: clarified
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