Thursday, October 21, 2010

Customer Service - really?!?

Think back to your past 5 dealings with a person who is in a job labeled “Customer Service”. How many of those have been positives experiences? Why do employers even add that to the job description anymore? According to my own experiences, to effectively do most jobs today that deal with the public, one must simply take up space and do the bare minimum to avoid being fired. I feel justified in speaking on the subject because I have worked in several positions that deal with the public. I completely understand that any job in which a person must provide some service to people in our society is very challenging. These jobs are often the hardest jobs there are. Not only do these people usually get paid the minimum but they are also expected to multitask and often take the brunt of nasty customer attitudes. However, that being said, I still expect to receive good customer service when I’m paying for it and I don’t believe that my expectations are too high.
God’s word says to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing: in everything give thanks; for this is
God's will for you in Christ Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Abiding by his word, we should rejoice in our work, no matter what the job. Most people seem miserable in their work for different reasons. Whether or not a person is overworked or underpaid has absolutely nothing to do with the customer so why is it the boss that’s often respected and given honor? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that an employee disrespect the employer; I’m only implying that the anger is being directed towards the wrong person. I’ve tried several angles when interacting with a less than desirable customer service worker. Nothing seems to work. Then I only make myself resentful wondering why I should be the one trying so hard to get something which I’m paying for already. My point to all this is “Why are we so accepting of less that the best?” It’s almost as though we’ve come to expect poor service in most places so we accept it. I don’t believe a person in customer service should have to deal with a disrespectful attitude. I do think they should treat me with some common courtesy when I have a polite attitude. That brings me to the next point. Why then, when I politely suggest to a person who is treating me poorly am I considered to be the bad guy when I am assertive about getting what I’ve paid for, whether it be a product or a service. Why is that I end up having to apologize and feel uneasy when I’m only trying to get what I am owed? Someone please enlighten me on this. If this were an infrequent happening, I’d chalk it up to an intermittent bad day or bad apple. However, considering how often this happens and how many people I’ve heard complain, I’m sure this isn’t just an occasional occurrence.
Now, I’ll try to get to the bottom of all this. Perhaps I am the only person who feels like this is so common. If that’s the case, maybe God is giving me these opportunities to display his love and kindness. Therefore, I need to take advantage of these times and do as he would have me do. I am reminded of a woman who worked for a company with which I had a loan. Because this company did not send out statements or set up automatic payments, she would call me each month to set up the payment. (Not common but it worked for both of us) Each month, I knew when to expect her and we would set up the payment as usual without any excess conversation but we were polite to each other. One month she called and the payment arrangement was different and not what I expected. When I questioned it, she became impatient and almost rude. So, me being me, I questioned her mood. I said to her “You are usually so polite and kind! Why is there a change in your attitude today?” This statement completely took her by surprise and there was a long silent pause. After a moment, I heard her say, “You’re completely right and I apologize. I am having a bad day and should not have taken it out on you. You see, my son was in a terrible accident about a week ago and the doctors are saying that he was lucky to survive and that now my Charles may never walk again.” At that point, the conversation became personal and God’s presence became so evident. After talking in depth for several minutes about her situation, we ended the call on a sweet note (after making my payment of course). She thanked me for listening and caring and most importantly for reminding her that the situation did not have to define her. I believe we both learned a lesson that day which I’ve never forgotten. Expect the best from people and accept no less. While doing so, be patient and understanding because we may not always know what’s going on in the lives of the people we encounter. In those times that the experience ends on a bad note, realize that you have still shown the love of God to another, as commanded. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” 1 Corinthians 13:4

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

I enjoyed this, and you are so right. I've read many times to always smile, and be polite to everyone because you never know what they may be going through. A smile from you may be the only thing that gets them through their day. It is very HARD to keep that attitude when someone isn't being polite or respectful in return, but if we do hold on to God's word in our hearts we will find it easy or at least easiER) to "... not bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD(Leviticus 19:18)Luv you lady :)