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GGD Advice: Because I Feel Like It.

I’m helping out the Client Services department today over here at Entertainment Earth. Why? Well, the phones are busy (this is a good thing) and the warehouse is super busy (also a good thing) and I’m better on phones than forklifts. ::grin::

Now, to be honest..the EE phones are super cool to answer. I mean, it’s toys. Toy people are cool ;-)

But it got me thinking about some of my past jobs and it occurred to me that all of the years I spent in some form of customer service likely color how I deal with the outside world now.

How so?

Well, I approach most things directly, concisely and with the intention of getting a result. I don’t tend to pussyfoot. I ask for what I need but I still try to be respectful of other people.

The behaviors stem from the things that have made me just a bit nutty while taking calls over the years, so I thought I’d share:

Thinks that make me bonkers:

  1. Rambling. You know why you called. Why would it take you 5 minutes to get to the point?
  2. Not being prepared. You call your credit card company, but have no account number, pen, paper, or payment information handy? WTF? Oh sure, I’ll wait and wait and watch my talk time skyrocket.
  3. Starting a call with “You people”. Talk about a phrase that is immediately going to make me want to find some way to not help you. Yeah, I charged you that late fee. You know. The one you got because you sent the payment in 10 days late? I did that. I went to your house and changed your calendars. Yep.
  4. Being angry and unreasonable and swearing, all the while, not letting me get a word in to actually ask how I can, y’know, help? Your utter and complete certainty that I am wrong and you are right. About whatever. You called customer service to ask a question that you already knew the answer to or that you negate the answer to once I give it?
  5. You call because you have nothing else to do. Trust me, people do this. I will never understand it. But please, please, please…join a club or go to a class or something. Just calling CS because you’re bored is not a time filler.

Now, all of that said, I may as well offer a few thoughts that might help. ::grin:: I’ve been on that end of things for a long time. No fair ranting without a solution, right?

Situation A: You’re upset about a late fee, a charge you didn’t authorize, a service they said you’d get but didn’t. You are, to be fair, pissed the heck off and you want it handled NOW.

How “Crazy Caller” handles it: Anger, the “You people thing” I mentioned. Name calling may ensue. Call is likely escalated to a supervisor and so on. Or, the response is negative and utterly non-helpful. It’s happened. Trust me. Reps have feelings too and they’re not afraid to use them.

How I handle it: If I’m calling a call center because I’m upset about an issue, I inform the rep who answers that I am upset, that I understand it’s not their fault, but that I need to vent and I need an issue resolved.

Let me tell you, that always gets an interesting response. But, know what? They let me vent, they listen, I get helped. And I’m sure the rep appreciates knowing they’re not the subject of my tirade.

Situation B: You got a late fee on your credit card or utility bill or whatever bill you paid late. Maybe you even got defaulted on your APR because of the late fee.

How “Crazy Caller” handles it: (See most of answer to Situation A). Name calling, yelling, “you people” escalation, yadda, yadda and, oftentimes, neither late fee nor APR are adjusted.

How “Dog ate my homework” Caller handles it: Not being mean here, but you know the one I mean. You want to give the entire reason for the late fee and why it happened, how it happened, why it’s not your fault. Out of town, mail got lost, whatever. I think it’s because people feel like they need to explain these things because they feel like they did something wrong. Not sure.

How I handle it: I mention that I noticed the late fee and ask if it can be removed as a 1 time courtesy. As in “Hey, I saw I got a late fee. Can that possibly be waived as a one time courtesy?” Fast and to the point, right?

Now, you may say “Well, what if they can’t do a one time courtesy” Maybe you used that courtesy…Hey, it happens.

This is where the “reason”comes in handy. I mean, people aren’t heartless. If you had a justifiable reason (and, be fair, you know if you do) then asking nicely will, in most cases, get you a result. It’s possible that the rep doesn’t have the authority to do it. Again, if you’ve been nice to them, they’ll usually tell you. Once you hear that, ask for a supervisor and see if they can help.

For the record, that generally works with APR as well if it’s a default and it was a one time thing. Bit tougher, but still doable. ::grin:: Now, I’m not saying you’ll get your APR dropped just because you asked and there are times that APR just won’t budge. But, this is more about sudden changes caused by things like late payments.

Oh and, if you have late fees and APR jumps just because you don’t know how to pay a bill? Dude, don’t call and get cranky. You know you did it. Just deal ;-)

So, to sum up…here’s how you make your life and the life of the CSR’s you’ll talk to a bit easier…

Talk to them and treat them the way you’d like to be treated in that position?

::grin:: I know. Easy, right?

Maybe next time we’ll discuss things like how we all tend to treat people like baristas and gas attendants, but not now.

Then again, maybe I already covered that…

Feel free to add your thoughts and tell me I’m full of it. Just, yeah, be nice and concise about it. ::wink::

(allow me to add the disclaimer. The opinions herein are mine, only mine and this was all done while I was taking calls. I multi-task like a madwoman ::grin::)


  1. @w0rdinista You just made me snort my Monster with the “Shocking, n’est-ce pas?” comment.

    Ow ow giggle ow.

  2. Never worked in CS, but I did spend summers temping in reception/admin asst. positions, and eventually lost count of how many rude callers I dealt with on a regular basis. And I learned a very important… I don’t like to call it a “trick,” but I start out every call to CS the same way: “I have a problem and I’m hoping you can help me.” Asking for help rather than being rude, demanding, or otherwise behaving like a spoiled brat with entitlement issues *works*. Shocking, n’est-ce pas?

    But then, there are always gonna be people who are just rude, demanding, or who are spoiled brats with entitlement issues. ;)

  3. As someone who’s also worked as a CSR, I can tell you I really wished customers would have treated me in this manner! I HATED getting constantly bitched out, and the rare customer who called in with a problem and was reasonable with how they wanted the issue resolved and both a breath of fresh air and few and far between. I made it a point to go a bit overboard with the nice ones and only do the minimum of what the company wanted with the rude ones.

  4. I’m really glad that someone spoke up for others who either will not, or cannot. I know that in my company, a shouting, angry customer normally does not get more attention than a quiet, reserved individual.

    Then again, there are a lot of douchebags calling in for the heck of it. ;)

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