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An Open Letter To Customer Service Representatives

Dear Customer Service Representatives (specifically those of you who manage customer calls for your company’s 800 number),

I understand that you field all kinds of calls from all kinds of people in all different kinds of moods every day, and I know that you have a tough job.

However, when I have to explain my problem five times in order for you to get to a place where you stop interrupting me to offer solutions that have nothing to do with my needs because you didn’t let me finish, it’s annoying.

It’s also annoying (to say the least) when, in response to one of my complaints about some of your company’s terms, you tell me that I have incorrect information and that the terms are actually a hundred times more favorable than I thought they were, only to come back five minutes later–after putting me on hold so you can check on something else–and dash my newfound hopes by telling me that you were wrong and that I was correct in my interpretation of the terms after all. Believe me, this does not help me rebuild my faith in you OR the company you represent.

In addition, I understand that you have a script you must stick to closely and that it’s important for you to be friendly as much as possible to keep a customer calm, happy, and engaged, but when you show absolutely no sympathy for my irritation because you are trying too hard to keep the smile on your face, it sends me further over the edge. Good customer service is a mixture of politeness, calmness, a show of understanding, the desire to make it clear to your customer that you are sorry they are having issues with your company, and giving the impression that you truly care about your customer’s happiness. This is not to say that customers should have the power to get whatever they want regardless of the company’s policies or current offerings and prices, but many a customer is soothed by a great customer service agent who at least acts concerned that they might lose business if they don’t try to relate to the customer in a human way.

When I have to hang up with you and call my local store to speak to somebody else that can give me more concrete answers, it’s ridiculous. When that local rep not only calms me down, but gives me all of the time I need to explain my issues, aligns with my feelings, takes it upon herself to pull up my information on the computer so she can give me clear, accurate information and helpful tips on how I can make adjustments to my account that are better for me, as well as having the perfect mix of calmness, pleasantness, sympathy, respect, and appreciation for my business, I realize that I should have called her in the first place. You, my dear, need to be trained by her before you are allowed to answer any more customer service calls.

©2010 Suburban Scrawl

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • TheNextMartha November 2, 2010, 1:50 pm

    see?! Scripts are ruining the world. Why aren't we having "Script burning days?"

  • NYCPatty November 2, 2010, 2:14 pm

    Sounds like a certain phone company that starts with a "V" that I used to deal with until I cut them out of all services!

    Breathe…I hope its over.

  • Gene November 2, 2010, 2:16 pm

    I think some people are just naturally gifted when it comes to dealing with irate customers. Customer Whisperers, if you will.

  • DaddysFishBowl November 2, 2010, 2:28 pm

    Beautifully written. I move to have this post printed out and hung up in all customer service call centers as part of their mission statement!

  • Heather November 2, 2010, 5:22 pm

    Oh… there are so many points I could go with here but.. I like Gene's comment best– YES, there are "Customer Whisperers" for sure in every call center (or at least the ones I've worked at) where they can smooth over everything. I can be that type of person, but usually I choose not to be. hahahahah. It all depended on the customer's attitude.
    (When I was on the phone.)

    Some companies need to learn to treat their customers (and employees) alike in order to have better service!

  • Together We Save November 2, 2010, 9:06 pm

    Great post!!

  • As Cape Cod Turns November 3, 2010, 10:33 am

    Send it to the person you are talking about!!! Or at least include it in your bill payment…

  • PJ Mullen November 3, 2010, 11:12 am

    It kills me when they state over and over again "I'm terribly sorry and apologize for your inconvenience" 400 times, yet do nothing to fix the issue that is inconveniencing me. I usually respond with "I don't really care that you're sorry, I just want you to fix this". Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.

  • WeaselMomma November 3, 2010, 12:39 pm

    I can't wait until we talk again so that I can hear the story behind this one.

  • Liz@thisfullhouse November 3, 2010, 11:07 pm

    Having worked customer service for 10 years (before kids) and having dealt with my fair share of irate and inconsolable customers (besterds and beyotches alike) I can safely say that it was A WHOLE LOT easier for me to be THAT Customer Whisperer!

  • Outsource Call Center November 30, 2010, 9:00 am

    In my opinion, Good customer service is necessary. I believe that treating the customer so politely makes them so comfortable with your services. Thanks for sharing.