Entertaining the Beleaguered

Where I found it (couldn't find original)
Where I found it (couldn’t find original)

There seems to be a trend of people dropping their empathy in lieu of unleashing their anger at customer service representatives. Sometimes people will even succumb to xenophobia in their frustration spiral.

I get it, it is absolutely frustrating to deal with customer service at any given company. But please, oh please, remember, it’s not the representatives fault…well, most of the time. The problem you’re facing is not the fault of the service rep with whom you’re interacting. Often, when you’re frustrated with the customer service end of things, it’s the fault of the bureaucracy, not the person. I don’t care what country your call is being funneled toward, the thing that’s frustrating you is not the accent, it’s the structure, it’s the minimizing of everyone’s problem into a script.

Once a consumer is able to step back and realize/empathize, “this poor customer service representative is assaulted by angry end-users all day,” you can adjust your approach to test the “attracting flies with honey” routine in a way that makes it fun for all parties. My philosophy is that most representatives are assaulted daily with petty grievances and blistering stupidity while also being underpaid and untrained.

Image Source
Image Source

Recently, I needed replacement wands for my window blinds. You can’t find those in stores, so, I contacted the company knowing I was contacting the person lowest on the pay scale who probably gets assaulted with complaints all day. I tried to break up what must be a depressing day of a customer service rep by reframing my concern. Here’s what I wrote:

“Hello Brave Keepers of the [Corporate name REDACTED],

“We have the majestic blinds from [REDACTED] throughout our humble peasant home, yet we are vexed by the chronic breaking of the blind wand–the twisty doohickey that turns the shades up and down (you probably knew that but I really wanted to use the word “doohickey”). The problem is, we can’t seem to find just that part for sale.

“Where can you, the holder of knowledge, direct me, the lost lamb in the darkness, to purchase spare blind wands? Should I instead invest in a 3D printer to create one? Ought I befriend a master of woodwork? Or maybe train adorable chipmunks to twist the mechanism with their tiny precocious paws? Or invite myself over to our neighbor’s house and, while he’s in another room, steal–Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol style (NOT Rogue Nation style!)–his gorgeous [product name REDACTED] blind wands OR train in the ways of the Force thus risking my predilection toward convenience that will ultimately lead to the Dark Side? Your help is greatly appreciated. I beseech you, show mercy upon us all!” ~End initial contact.

image source
image source

I thought, the worst that could happen is that I’m in the same predicament, potentially having to buy the whole kit, but maybe I made an otherwise bored service rep crack a smile. Maybe what I wrote was silly, but it’s better than funneling my anger toward an undeserving person. A couple of more emails later and having a little bit of fun and being silly, got me what I needed gratis.

When dealing with customer service reps, no matter where they are from, try remembering they are humans, deeply, profoundly under-paid and beset upon from all sides humans. Try being silly, the opposite energy of what every other person they have to deal with in their vocation and, probably, life.

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10 Comments

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  1. lol, I worked in a call center for 8 long years, I am a true masochist 😅. Very cute, I’m sure you’ll get at least a smile.

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  2. Your email was funny and brilliant, Pickleope! I’m sure you made someone’s day — probably more than one person’s because I’m sure that email got passed around!

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  3. Very clever of you. My granddaughter works in a service area, and she is always so thrilled when she gets a compliment on the phone or an email from a customer she has helped resolve an issue. You are right, my friend. We need to practice more patience, and time to put ourselves in another’s shoes.

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  4. I sped to work today hoping to be entertained by a decent blog post and THIS is what i get?

    I want to speak with a manager.

    You green people are all alike.

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  5. Well done. I’ve had my share of problems with customer service reps, and I’ve complained (bitched bitterly) about it on my blog. I had a customer service rep who departed from the script a few months ago. She wiped out everything on my phone, and no one could figure out where she saved it. She probably didn’t. When I get someone good humored who actually helps me–and goes out of her way to do so–I take the time to leave positive feedback. It can mean the difference when it comes time for a raise. I also say something nice, such as, You are a blessing. God bless you. You are so nice. You really helped me. Invariably the person replies, You made my day.

    Love,
    Janie

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  6. You are indeed wise, oh Pickleope.

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  7. I love it! The most pleasantly interesting conversation I’ve had with a service rep came when Netflix arrived in Australia. We were deciding between it and some of the home-grown streaming services, so I decided to call Netflix and ask if they had the particular shows we wanted to see. My call went straight to the American office (I guess they don’t have an office in Australia) and the guy I talked to had no idea what was on the Australian version of the service. So he pulled up a list he did have of the movies and shows that were being added that month and read down the list adding comments like “That’s a great show,” and “That one’s pretty cool…” We eventually ended up chatting about the differences in Batman films and Tim Burton’s skill as a director. My question wasn’t even close to being answered, but I hung us feeling like I’d made a friend.*

    *And like most of my friends, I’ll never see or speak to this person again.

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