When Customers Misbehave

We all have read countless articles and blogs about Customer Service Representatives (short: CSRs) behave outrageously towards customers. Inappropriate responses, stubbornly sticking to a script that doesn't even relate to the request, insults, terminating a phone call, etc. The list is practically endless and is usually justified. There are a number of CSRs out there who have no clue what they are doing, lack sufficient training in customer service and treatment and most importantly the treatment of an angry, annoyed, upset, disappointed, frustrated or complaining customer.

I myself have had numerous bad customer service experiences with various companies that have let me to making drastic decisions such as choosing to no longer use the service of certain companies.

What about the other side though? Let’s turn the tables for a moment here and look at those CSRs who are extremely helpful and would transfigure rain into sunshine for their customers if they could What about those CSRs who know how to deal with an angry customer, who know how to provide detailed advise, solve an issue for the benefit of all parties involved and just generally make the customer feel like they're the only one who matters? Contrary to popular belief great customer service still exists and some CSRs genuinely love their job and their company's reviews and profits are clear evidence of that.

Despite all that customers still behave most unreasonably towards these agents. They make demands that simply cannot be met and if a justified 'no' is given which is appropriately explained more insults are thrown at the CSR.

Some insults I have seen or heard over the years are out of this world. Surprise, sheer bewilderment and utter disbelief are just some of the initial reactions I've felt when confronted with some of the insults customers through at CSRs.

This is the prime reason that triggered this blog. I firmly believe customers need to wake up and realise that they're not always king. Customers are not always right. Customers are not entitled to make unreasonable demands and insult CSRs when these demands are turned down and adequately explained. Customers are not entitled to call up a Customer Service hotline and use this as an opportunity to release their anger and frustration because they have had a bad day. CSRs are generally willing to help where possible but if you contact me and yell and curse at me before you have even made your point I will hang up on you and you will have no foundation to make a complaint about me. On that note, written abuse is just as bad and even worse because it'll just give me black on white proof of a customer's inappropriate behaviour.

We are all customers at some point. I therefore urge all of us to think twice before snapping at CSRs in hope that your issue will get resolved faster. If you unbelievably angry about something please go for a walk first, drink a coffee/tea or vent to your friend. Then, when your head is clear, make a move to sort out the issue. In saying that, if you have been genuinely mistreated you are allowed to make your point however that is not the issue I am trying to cover in this blog post.

Unreasonable customers who belief they can get away with murder more than annoy me. It is not justified. You do not have an excuse because there is no valid excuse to go about and insult somebody because you are not happy about something or other. I stress yet again, if it is justified you are more than welcome to voice your disapprovals as a customer. I would even encourage it. But unreasonable demands are not the basis for your to take the liberty to take your anger out on someone who is actually trying to help you and who will do what they can (within their power) to assist you.

If you are told 'no' you are not entitled to throw your toys out of the pram and scream and yell obscenities. You are entitled to state that you are not happy with the resolution however please do make every effort to take in all the information you have been provided. If you don't understand, ask. If you would prefer to deal with a more experienced member of staff, state so clearly and give a reason. Insults (of any kind) will not be tolerated and are downright unacceptable.

If we all made the conscious effort to be a little bit nicer to each other the world would be a better place and helping one another would be less of a hardship and more of a pleasure. All of us are customers at some point. You cannot deny that. If you have misbehaved towards a genuinely helpful CSR before, I urge you to take a moment and think about our actions and just maybe you will realise that they actually weren't all that justified. It doesn't take much to be polite and friendly. To put it bluntly your bad day is not the CSRs problem. The problem / question, etc. you have with the company the CSR works for however is. They will help you but not if you insult them.

You may have guessed it, I am a CSR. I have been for more than five years and I have seen it all. The good, the bad, the hilarious and the downright inappropriate. I am however also a customer. I have complained and I have been unhappy with a service. But I keep my own background in mind and how I feel and would not take the liberty to mistreat someone because the company they work for isn't doing what I want them to do.

I really hope I can make a few people stop and think twice the next time they have to contact a CSR. If you are a CSR and have been mistreated by a customer whom you genuinely tried to help, I'd love to hear your story but let’s keep this professional - no names, no products, no specific companies. :-)