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Is Poor Customer Service an Epidemic?

Updated on October 1, 2012
Poor Customer Service
Poor Customer Service | Source

First off, for all of you kind and patient customer service reps out there who do a great job and truly try to help people, this hub is NOT talking about you. I appreciate your hard work and give you praises because honestly, I don't know if I could do your job... I know it MUST be challenging at times, dealing with dissatisfied or even sometimes abusive customers. I truly thank you :)

So, I really am not the type of person who likes to complain but something happened to me last night that infuriated me so much that I just have to get this out!! Here and there, over the past few years, I have encountered customer service reps who were just flat rude when I have called for help. I don't call often for assistance but when I do, it's because I genuinely have a problem. The very few times I have called and encountered this attitude, it makes me wonder what is going on.

When I worked in fast food in the 90's, I was told that I was to be polite and be of service to the customer, that was my job. Something else they told us was that the customer is always right. Now, I realize that times are changing and that doesn't fly at every place BUT I would expect that since someone is employed in customer service that they are supposed to in the least be respectful and helpful, you would think, right??! Unfortunately, nowadays, many times times that just isn't so.

I know everyone has their good days and their bad days, even Customer Service Reps, but I'm a super easy going person and to have had this happen to me as often as it has, it has me wondering if being rude is pretty much the norm these days and if that is the case, how sad it is that it's so acceptable.

What happened last night was that the electricity when out here again, the second night in a row. The night before it had gone out at 3am in the morning and I immediately woke up because my fan went off. I can NOT sleep without a fan and unfortunately, I'm not exaggerating. The minute the fan went off, my eyes opened and that was it. It was on after a couple of hours but it was still irritating as we are in the middle of a move right now and I was already so tired. So I was SUPER irritated last night when it happened again. It was storming last night but the storm had pretty much passed and all the sudden the electricity went off again at 11:30, just when I was finally getting to go to bed.

I waited about 30 minutes and decided I would call the electric company and just see if there was a recording saying they were working on it and maybe an estimate of how long it would be out, because if was going to be hours I had already decided to go to the 24 hr Wal-Mart and buy a battery operated fan if it was going to be out for hours like before. So I call but a man actually customer service rep actually picks up the phone. Here was the conversation:

Me: Hello, Sir, I wanted to report that our power is out.

Customer Service Rep: Ok, What is the name on the account?

Me: Jamie Brock

Customer Service Rep: And what is your phone number?

Me: And I tell him..

Customer Service Rep: OK, Thanks and the man tries to hang up!!

Me: WAIT! Sir, am I the only one who has called? It's been off for over 30 minutes now?

Customer Service Rep: NO, you are like the 50th. Thanks. Tries to hang up on me again...

Me: WAIT! Sir, Do you have any idea when it may be back on or if they.....

Customer Service Rep Interrupts me and says: No I do not and he HUNG UP ON ME.

I just sat there and cried, I was so tired already and the man was not helpful at all and actually just plain rude. I really felt like there was no call for that kind of behavior.

I finally decided I just needed to go to the 24 HR Walmart and get a battery operated fan but decided I would try ONE more time. It was about an hour and half later and I was praying that I would get someone else. Unfortunately, it was the same guy on the phone.... I said, "sir, I just would like to know if anyone has even been dispatched and if there is a chance it will be back on soon otherwise I need to go to Walmart to buy a battery operated fan or I will not sleep tonight". He says, "They have 4 different crews working on it." I said, "Thank you, that is a huge relief to hear that." and then I said thank you and hung up.

Sure enough, within 30 minutes it came back on.. but WHY did that man have to be so rude? I usually blow things off but like I said earlier, it's just happening so often now.

I was telling my husband about it and he said, " you do realize there are people that go without electricity for days". I do realize that.. it wasn't the fact that the elecricity when out, I mean, stuff happens. It's the point that the people at the electric company do not have to be so rude about it. Electricity is high.... I just feel like a paying customer should be treated better than that.

Thank Goodness there are still some very nice and helpful people out there in customer service but I really feel there are fewer and far between. Nowadays, it really does seem that so many business could care less if they had your business or not. It's just very sad to me.

OK, that's enough for my rant. I just want to take the time again right now to say THANK YOU to all of you reps out there who truly care and try to help your customers. I know you are still out there and I APPRECIATE people like you and PLEASE, please, PLEASE keep up the good work :0)

In conclusion, I would like to mention one particular company. As much as I hate having to call anywhere for customer help or support, I have had to contact them on a few different occasions over the past couple of years because of problems with my account but I have YET to encounter any rude or unhelpful person on the other end of the line. The company I am referring to is PayPal. Anyone I have ever spoken with there truly seemed to care about resolving the problem and were extremely helpful to me and I really appreciate that.


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    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Learn Things Web - How unprofessional.... . I'm sorry you had that experience.. you would think a property owner would be more respectful than that. I hope everything worked out in your favor. Thank you for stopping by :)

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      J Jahan 

      7 years ago from California

      I actually had a really bad experience with the owner of a property management company years ago. I lived in a condo at the time. I couldn't believe the owner of the company would be so unbelievably rude and unhelpful when I called him about a billing mistake. I had to go to the condo association to deal with him.

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      cclitgirl- My goodness.. I had no idea there were other hubs about people being rude lately.. it must be in the water LOL! Seriously though, I wish I could say it surprises me but it doesn't. Sadly, it seems (for the most part) kind and understanding customer service is really starting to be a thing of the past. I guess people that own these companies are going to be rich one way or another so what does losing business matter because of rude customer service... maybe I'm wrong but it really does seem that way sometimes.

      About the fan, it's ridiculous I can't sleep without it but I've been sleeping with a fan since I was a kid because my mom never could sleep without it so she always put fans in our rooms too.

      I'm sorry to hear about TSA, I don't get to fly much but you would think major airline employees would be polite.. it sounds like you have had your fair share of grumps, too! I hope that you had a good experience at the airport and have a great time on your trip! Thank you for stopping by :0)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      Yours is about the third hub in as many days that I've come across that talks about the rudeness of people. Wow! What's going on with people? I am actually headed out to the airport, but I've had a dull nervous stomach about it all day - because I know exactly how TSA can be. They do have a crappy job and they see zillions of people, but I always have to think: what if this were your last day on the planet? Sheesh. I'm sorry that happened to you and it's a bummer you can't sleep without a fan, too. Other little things wake me up at night, but I can tell you had a lot of sleeplessness going on when I read this. I'm glad things are getting back to normal and you won't have to deal with the grumps at the electric company for awhile. :)

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Bedbugabscond- Wow, I have been on hold for a long time but never for 2 hours and how pitiful that they couldn't even apologize. I know what you mean about complaining to a higher level- that brings me to another point I forgot to mention in the hub-- I have done that a few times but what really infuriates me is when they say they are the only supervisor in charge or that so and so is out of the office! Thank you for reading and commenting, take care :)

    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Collins 

      7 years ago from United States

      I am sorry you experienced that. I one sat on the phone, on hold, for 2 hours. I was trying to get my internet fixed and hanging up would only put me at the back of the line. Even after they finally talked to me, they never apologized for my wait, even after I asked if they knew I had been waiting that long (and they did). Now, when that happens I just complain to a higher level.

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      teaches- Yes, I just couldn't believe that he had no empathy or compassion for the situation. To me it just seemed that he was wanting to get me off the phone as quickly as possible and he did, by hanging up on me. It hurt my feelings as I was just wanting some kind of assurance that the problem was being taken care of and he wouldn't even give me that. You are SO,SO right... a good rep can really make a difference in profits. I wish that companies cared more than they seem to. Sometimes I wish I grew up in the old days.. somehow I feel like it people were probably much more respectful then. Thanks so much for reading and stopping by!

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      rajan jolly- Yes, that is what I am finding.. it's getting more and more rare to find someone who is truly helpful and seems to really care. Any rep that I am truly impressed with, I always make it a point to thank them and get their name so that I can report how helpful they were. I want to always give credit where credit is due. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Wow, that rep was truly rude. Customer service is a lot art. It's sad that businesses do not understand how a good rep can make the difference in your profits.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      7 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      These guys are almost everywhere. I find dealing with these quirks quite irritating. If only they realize they are on the other side of the fence when they call up for some service.

      It's a relief when a real helpful one comes along. A thing that is becoming rarer by the day.

      Voted interesting.

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      kashmir56, Yes, that is what I've been thinking about.. it just seems to be happening so often now. It makes me wonder if it's not something that's just becoming the norm and I hate to think it is. A little bit of kindness really does go a long way.. As always, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Hope all is well with you!

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Shaddie- I get it, I really do. I know it's probably not an easy job and I'm sure the pay is probably not near enough and I am most definitely sure that you deal with your fair share of rude customers. I don't think I could do the job, truth be known. I've just noticed a general decline in how customers are treated in general as compared to past years and the whole electric company thing just pushed me over the edge the other night.

      Anyway, thank you for sharing the other side of it.. your input is appreciated and it does shed a little bit of light on the other side. You do seem to see the other side of it as well and you are right, it probably does work both ways. Thanks for reading and take care!

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Jamesm1968- Wow, it's insanity that a company is losing so many customers because of the employees. I had a feeling that it must have been going on everywhere and not just here in the US. Thank you for reading and commenting... Take Care :)

    • Shaddie profile image


      7 years ago from Washington state

      I don't know the reason for other people in customer service to be rude, but I do know why -I- am rude, and that's because I deal with disgruntled people all day who, for one reason or another, are unhappy about their lives or the lack of a product or the fact that I am not a doting slave to their beck and call or that I cannot magically procure every item they dream of or that our company policies do not grant them unending power and 90% discounts for whatever damn reason they want.

      Dealing with this kind of idiocy hourly, daily, makes us cold and hard. Sometimes we take out our impatience on people who honestly mean well or who are innocently asking questions - because those questions may have been the 30th, 50th, or 100th time we've heard those same ones that day. Another truth is that customer service reps aren't paid nearly as much as they should be to be bitched and complained at and treated like dirt all day.

      I would like to believe that horrid customers shape the face of customer service today, but in all reality it probably works both ways.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jamie,It's amazing that these people have jobs and don't even treat people with respect but yet still keep their jobs. The whole system is going down the toilet with all these rude people.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from UK

      Nice to know that duff C/S isn't just limited to the UK.

      Over here it is quite common to enter a shop and see the staff standing there talking to each other and ignoring the customer. They forget that when they are in the corporate uniform they are representing that company.

      We have a telco over here called 'TalkTalk' and their sales people are really aggressive. Their C/S and T/S are so bad that they lose customers at an alarming rate.

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      mollymeadows- Wow! I wish I could be a mystery shopper.. that would be so cool! It's just sad to me that it seems to be so much the norm these days. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Jeannieinabottle- Thank you for reading and commenting and yes, I SO agree! In general, it seems like customer service is just not what it used to be and it's scary it seems to be the "accepted" way to deal with people. Some of the things I have had happen to me, I would have been fired for back in the day. To me, it felt good to try and make the customer happy.. I know there were days were I encountered very rude customers but it wasn't a free pass to be rude back to them. I could cuss them all I wanted after they drove off (haha, I worked in a drive through window!) but until then I had a smile on my face.

      I figured I wasn't the only one experiencing this. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 

      7 years ago from The Shire

      Jamie, you're not imagining it. There are rude reps everywhere. I used to be a mystery shopper and I got to report it ;-)

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie Marie 

      7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I've noticed a steady increase in grumpiness in general with many people I've encountered lately. I think too many people are stuck at jobs they hate and they take it out on customers. Then those customers take it out on other people, such as customer service reps, and then the customer server reps become even more grumpy. It is an endless cycle of grumpiness. I am considering writing a hub about it. Thanks for sharing your experience. You are not alone, Jamie!


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