Customer service representatives and front desk officers are eternally stressed. They are abused, looked upon as inferiors, and expected to solve all issues even if they are not authorized. The end result of all this is a customer service gone wrong. Here is a personal account of how it works and how it could be fixed.
Yesterday I went to a Mobilink franchise. I needed to port back my mobile number from Ufone. It had been a bad day already thanks to mighty sun and a tight office schedule.
My frustration got higher the moment I entered the franchise. There were heaps of customers trying to get their way through the crowd. Some were shouting. Others kept moaning about the running time. And yet, some were only brawling with front desk officers for reasons of poor management.
The ticket system had failed. It was a complete chaos, with help desk officers acting as circus clowns – happy from outside, crying within. I realized that those people were treated like machines rather than humans.
Customers were so frustrated and they flushed all their anxiety onto the front desk officers. The unending disturbance in the system and network kept delaying the process. Stress overtook one of the officers who fainted for some unknown reason. Maybe it was just a drama. Maybe it was stress. Maybe both!
Reasons Behind Customer Service Going Wrong
Whatever the reason, the basis for all this customer service going wrong comes from an attitude of ignorance and failure of empathy. If only we could put ourselves into the shoes of that help desk officer, we would have realized that we all were passing on stress to raise our own selves.
We fail to appreciate the fact that workers in customer compliance do one of the most challenging jobs than most of us. They work tirelessly for almost the whole of their 8-10 hour shifts. And most of our feedback and problem resolution becomes a source of their bashing.
We simply see them as computerized human models for solving all problems, even those which they have no knowledge or capacity to resolve. I also came to realize that it is the same situation we all are facing in our work places. Yes, up to some extent, we all feel humiliated, frustrated and downtrodden. And we feel comfort in passing on all of this anger and frustration to a person we take for granted, in this case front desk officers working in franchises, banks, hospitals, schools or any other workplace.
But as we flush off all this negativity onto these poor fellows, it just adds to the chain effect of stress accumulation. Those (customer support officers) will then tend to find a person to bash on, and the chain continues.
Tips to Make Customer Service Just Right
I guess before expressing our anger to these fellows which are just employees like we all are, consider these following things.
- There is always a shortage of personnel needed to address customers. All employers are just like your employer, running after profit through short staffing and cost saving.
- They are often not authorized to solve your issues. They are merely there to report a respective problem to the concerned department, (to some extent we all are in the same position at least once a day).
- They are like us. They could be our sisters and brothers. In fact they are!. Our problems are not created by them. It is often the mistake or negligence of policy makers (in the whole) who did that. A customer service employee is generally a poorly salaried person like most of us.
- Many of us would want to create a competitive environment for customer service staff by speaking to them about any problem. We must learn to cooperate, not compete. Talk to them politely, try to understand the circumstances, remember it is the aggregate frustration which makes all of us a psycho.
- Try to address the top management, the policy makers, because they are the actual trouble makers behind most customer service issues. If you have any serious concern, address the higher level management. A manager is usually the right person to take your frustration rightfully.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, talk politely with people, and try to appreciate their efforts. We all are missing this value in our respective jobs.
He is a gold medalist from University of Karachi and a regular contributor for Awaz-e-Pakistan.