What Your Customer Service Representative Wants You To Know
#1 You Called Me ... I Just Answer The Phone
What does this mean? Well, it means that you had a problem and you dug out the tollfree number for your customer service line. When you dialed it, you had a specific thing you needed someone to help you with. That someone ... is me.
When you called me, you didn't want to be on the phone any longer than I did - so that means that you should know a few things about me:
I am not paid enough for you to scream at me and blame me for your problem. I did go to college for psychology, but I never finished, this means that I am not licensed to listen to your depressing life story. Perhaps I can send you a bill? I have been in my job for going on nine years, which makes me pretty knowledgeable and I will likely be able to help you. If you let me. And finally, I respond well to kindness, politeness, and respect.
#2 I'm Sorry You Don't Like The Robot
Yes, I am aware that the robot who answered your call sounds like a real person. She's not. In fact, contrary to popular belief, this computerized voice is not as smart as you would think.
I understand that she didn't hear your request, she doesn't take kindly to cursing at her, and you can't throw her across the room like most electronics to make them magically work. She is prejudice against anyone with an accent or a lisp or a slow response. She has no patience.
What happens when you complain about her? Well, you see, our company cannot fire a robotic switchboard operator. She doesn't have kids to feed or bills to pay, it wouldn't affect her even if we could fire her, and believe me - I wish we could just as much as you do.
#3 Here's A Hint: Be Prepared
When you got the notion to call that toll free phone number for customer service, you had a question in mind. In order to get to that question, I will have to ask you questions. It;s a conversation that is inevitable when you call me.
I don't ask you these questions for my own amusement and certainly not to annoy you any further than you already are. I am required, if I want to keep my job, to ask you the questions that I ask.
Your call will go faster if you have these answers readily available. If you answer more questions than I am asking for, it is unnecessary and though it might make you seem clever ... in your head ... it is simply prolonging the actual need for your call. It will also go better with fewer sighs of impatience in between.
#4 We Sent You Mail, Don't Paraphrase It
If you are like most people, you dismiss your mail as junk. You take one look at it, find its not a Hallmark full of cash or a package you ordered on Amazon and toss it in the trash. This is a bad idea. Seriously.
Why, you ask. Let me tell you why. I am more than happy to. If you had read that mail you would have known that you already have the answers to your questions before you call and yell at me.
If you are like the other 10% of people who actually do open the mail that they get, you skim over it to see if it applies to you and then you start forming potential problems in your head. You start skipping over words and adding words and making the whole letter something completely different.
Then you call me.
Save yourself the headache. Read your mail properly.
#5 Don't Ask Me Stupid Questions
Of course, if you read #4 correctly, you won't be asking me stupid questions. But in case it didn't sink in. I will say it again. Don't ask me stupid questions.
I am kindly asking that you do your research before you call me. Look through your paperwork, search the company website, ask a friend, Google it. Google knows just about everything. I am convinced of this.
If you still can't find the answer, by all means call me. I would much rather have your questions confound me and confuse me, than make me want to pull your head off because you have the answer and you didn't bother to use the resources available to you. Or ... you called about it an hour ago, didn't like the answer and called back.
Your call was logged, noted and recorded. If our representatives are doing their jobs correctly, you will still get the same answer. Please don't waste your time.
#6 Don't Talk To Me Like I Am The Stupid One
You have called for my help. You must have thought that I could help you when you picked up your phone and dialed the number. You sat on hold for twenty minutes (which is in your head, it was likely five minutes) and you went through the hassle of answering my questions to verify your identity.
Why ... what would possess you to think that it was such a fantastic idea to disagree with my answer to your all important question. I have been employed with this company for eight years, I like to think I have been fully trained in the area in which you are questioning. So the answer I give you is correct.
#7 It's Not Polite To Interrupt
You don't like it when people interrupt you and I most certainly don't like it when people interrupt me. I am doing my duty as your customer service representative by giving you the respect you deserve as a valued member of our customer base. Perhaps it is a good idea to wait your turn to talk.
If we need to get out the Talking Stick I will hand it to you when I finish speaking. Not only does this annoy me and cause me to want you off my phone as soon as humanly possible, but it also means I will have to repeat myself fifteen times before you get it. If you ever do.
For the love of all things holy ... Don't interrupt me. I am trying my very best to help you with your question and you are doing nothing but prolonging the frustration on both ends.
#8 The Reasons You Are On Hold
The hold button has two distinct reasons for existing, and thank the good inventor who came up with this ingenious little red button on my phone.
Reason #1 is simple. I need to research something and I need to gather all my information before I can confidently and correctly relay the information to you.
However, there is Reason #2 which is a little less simple. If you are put on hold in the middle of your sob story and you're ranting, it is likely because I can't think and I need you to cool off. Basically, I am giving you a two minute time out. Like a three year old, you need a moment to take a deep breath and you will have to let it all out before I can properly help you.
#9 So, You Don't Like Your Options ...
Well, that's just too bad. If I am doing my job correctly, I have listened to your concern, I have empathized with your situation, and I have apologized for any and all invconvenience. In the end of all this kissing of your round behind, I have given you the options to choose from in which to get a resolution.
At my level, I have given you everything I could possibly give you. Mind you, it might be through your temper tantrums, your interrupting, your stupid questions, and your sense of entitlement, but don't blame me, when you still don't get what you want.
Its out of my control and likely, its out of your control as well. Its just not how things work. Pick an option, out of the handful I have given you. Its the only way that you will ever be able to end this call with a resolution. Which I assume is the reason for your call.
I am not a miracle worker.
#10 And You Want To Speak To My Supervisor
By all means, by the end of this, I am more than happy to give you a supervisor. Please keep in mind that you will be put on hold, against your will. Likely the supervisor is busy with another customer just like you and you will have to wait.
Listen to the beautiful, relaxing hold music and wait your turn. If by chance you are still on the line when your turn comes around, you will be speaking with a supervisor. TaDa!
And they will tell you the same thing I did.
Have a nice day, Mr./Mrs. Customer. We appreciate your business.