I’ve had it with customer service, and people not doing the jobs they were hired to do.

Like reading.

Having worked in customer service for quite a few years, I am prepared to cut CSRs quite a bit of slack.  I know they have a difficult, boring job in which they are expected to tolerate high levels of stress while sounding cheerful throughout.

However, could they at least listen, or read, depending on whether they are on the phone or using a chat interface?

I am a bit unusual in that I don’t expect the CSRs to fix everything, I know their limitations, but I do expect them to understand a problem when I have taken the time to lay it out for them.

For example:

I need to get into an old email account through Cox.  I’m aware it’s over the 180 day deactivation period.  However, the OTHER customer service people, with Star Wars: The Old Republic, insist that they need to use that address, and only that address, to help me with an issue I have, and they refuse to change it because I’ve already changed it once.  I could write pages about THAT interaction but won’t.  This one is about Cox.

Anyway, I let the chat rep know, fairly succinctly, that I just want to know if the account can be reactivated or recreated so I can use that old address.  I answer all his questions, I use complete sentences, and even proper punctuation.  I think he’s US-based, or at least has a good command of the English Language.

So he acknowledges my problem and sends me a knowledgebase article that purports to fix it.  I click on it, hopefully.

Nope!  My issue isn’t solved.  I explain it again, using even shorter sentences.  He says he’ll go research.

He sends me the same damn KB article.

After more discussion I finally pry it out of him that nobody can do what I”m asking so I’m pretty much SOL, since I can’t spoof a account and they aren’t allowing any new user-created ones at this time.  And, of course, the old email address would still be considered “taken” even though no one else can use it now.

At this point I’m pretty disgusted and I tell him thanks for nothing, and express my wish that he’d just read my original question and told me the truth from the beginning.

So, this brings me to my futile plea.  Considering that as a chat tech support rep, it is literally his job to read, why couldn’t he at least do that?  It would have improved his score and my opinion of the company, greatly. 

I shouldn’t feel like a freaking rock star just because I can comprehend the printed word.



If you are still unfortunate enough to be toiling in the galleys of customer service or tech support, I promise you that if you take the time to truly understand the customer’s problem you will be a DEITY among CSRs and will actually improve your metrics considerably.  You will also have to deal with far less trouble from customers, most of whom just want someone to give a crap, whether they can help or not.


By the way, If you’re wondering what I mean by “customer serviced,” think about cattle breeding.

An Archaic Thought

Courtesy Meme.png


Perhaps I should share a bit about why I was moved to make this meme.  Right now the people of the US are beset by divisiveness.  There are many groups trying to “stir the pot” and cause more contention, because not only is a house divided more likely to fall, but it’s easier to make a profit from.  Unhappy people buy more goods, trying to buy happiness.  I see this in Democrats and in Republicans both, so I’m not pointing fingers in either direction, but rather thinking about what’s good in the world rather than what’s bad.

At my favorite coffee shop, there are some guys who are from Africa.  I don’t understand a word of Swahili and they understand a few words of English, but smiles are enough.  I like those guys. They are sweet and polite, despite the language barrier.

At my favorite grocery store, I see recent immigrants all the time.  They are mostly refugees from various war torn countries.  I love hearing them speak in their native tongues, and once again, smiles and polite gestures aid in communication. The people who run that store are Vietnamese – and I don’t speak their language either.  Little bows are good though, gestures and more smiles.  I speak a bit of Spanish and use it at my local carniceria along with much laughter.

Once when I was new to Arizona, my battery went dead in my car.  I had no money for a new one and no way to get a jump start.  I hoped for someone to come along to help me out.  Finally I was in luck.  There was a young guy in a brand new truck who parked nearby.  I politely asked for help.  And got turned down flat – he was worried that his new truck would be damaged by jump starting my little sedan.  He left.

Along came another truck.  Not shiny, quite dented, with a work rack on back.  Out came a deeply suntanned fellow with a wide hat.  I think he knew two phrases of English – please and thank you.  We  understood each other though and he helped me get going again.  With a hearty muchas gracias, and a vaya con dios, we parted ways.

Language was no barrier.  Perhaps the young fellow really would have damaged his truck to jump start my car – but I’m not so sure.  His heart was a bigger barrier to helping than language, as he spoke perfect English.

A smile, a bow, a handshake, a fistbump – they are all part of our common language that does not depend on words.




via Daily Prompt: Archaic

Courtesy is Power

Courtesy is one of the best ways we have of affecting the world around us!

With courtesy, politeness, and good cheer, we can have a measurable ripple effect that has lasting consequences. A cheerful smile, a kind word, a sincere compliment, unexpected forgiveness for some small slight, all have an impact that is incredibly powerful. The best part of it is that it spreads. Being angry or sad is contagious too so if we consciously choose a positive attitude (even if we don’t feel it) we can gain better lives for ourselves and benefit everyone around us.

I know I am repeating myself a bit here but I can’t understate the importance of this idea. Consider going through a checkout line. Everybody is tired and hungry. It’s rush hour, and people just want to go home. Think about the difference, and the ripple effect, of behaving in an impatient way versus behaving in a calm, polite way. If everybody is grumpy, everybody stays grumpy. It leads to a worse day with more stress for everyone.

Now, what if ONE, just ONE person in line smiles, says a kind word to the checker, thanks the bagger for their hard work, and makes way for the lady with the walker? Everyone’s day is brightened, just a tiny bit, with no added effort. Maybe the checker with the sore feet smiles at the next customer. Maybe the bagger takes a little more care with the next customer’s eggs. It pays forward and helps everyone.

At work, I do a lot of customer service. 9 times out of 10 I am able to calm an angry customer simply by letting them know that I care about their problem and I want to do anything I can to fix it. Then, even if I can’t fix it, they are often satisfied with me because they understand I did my best. I have seen so many times when an angry person calls up tearing my head off. I listen, I demonstrate understanding and caring, that human connection is made, and we end the call amicably. Then, at home, they have a good memory of someone helping them, they have less stress, and they might be nicer to the next representative they talk to. If I had been rude, that would have been an endless chain. The same is true of my fellow employees. A little friendliness spreads.

It’s a really amazing thing once you start noticing this. People are more positive toward you, you have more people behaving nicely toward you, you get more opportunities, and most importantly, you have an impact on how people treat you. You are no longer at the mercy of the world, you are changing it for the better, just a little bit. Sure there are other ways to make a change but this is a great start.