Thursday, February 3, 2011

No Mr Customer you are sooooo WRONG

I read a lot.  And lately one of the windows in my browser has been Not Always Right. One of the things that this website of anecdotes has made me realize is that I’d rather take a beating than work customer service again.

I’ve said before that I’m not the best with people.  Some of these stories…  I’d get fired.  Or arrested.  And the thing is, I’ve experienced some of this crap! 

When I was working tech support for IBM, I had some guy demand a male manager because I couldn’t possibly reset his password.  Others would call good and pissed and demand to be sent to the “next level” of tech.  Excuse me, but what makes you think I’m paid enough to put up with this CRAP?!

Food service during a lunch rush customers made fun of me raising my voice to get the herd of sheeple to move forward.  And that particular shift they had me running back and forth, prep area to front counter, the only nod to food safety was that I was putting on new gloves – there was NO TIME for anything else.

I worked in a bar and grill during the pope’s visit to Denver.  It was packed for THREE FREAKING HOURS and there were only TWO waitresses on the floor.  The cook messed up my orders on purpose and my customers thought it was cute to leave me a penny as a tip when I was only getting $3 an hour. 

In case you’re thinking “wow, that really sucks!” it’s completely normal for waitstaff to get below minimum wage if they’re earning tips.  So what if the economy is in the crapper and people aren’t as willing to give a good tip.  Management isn’t suffering.  At the time I was just a dumb kid, but it still annoyed the hell out of me.  Having to “claim” my tips at the end of the day seemed a huge invasion of my privacy.

My point?  If you’re pissed and going to be a jerk, keep in mind that NO ONE in customer service is EVER going to make enough to put up with you.  Many times they’re super lucky to even get benefits.  Except the DMV.  The people at the info desk are asking for abuse.  No no no, not even the trolls that work at the DMV deserve to be snarled at (an action that I find myself now guilty of as of last year).

I’ve also decided that if I’m ever able to run a booth at faire, I’m not going to go by “The customer is always right”.  That is a formula for the humiliation of one’s employees and a sure way to give a sense of entitlement to people that are, many times, cheap, rude, and stupid.  I’m going to stand behind my employees, because as a boothie, I won’t be able to give them great pay and most definitely won’t be able to give any benefits other than food breaks and a free pass to get on site.

I guess what really strikes me is that more managers need to stand up for their employees.  And that more employees need to feel confident enough to say “No, THIS is how it’s going to be, and my manager WILL agree with me.”

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