Customer Disservice

I have worked a few jobs that focus, in varying degrees, on making our customers happy. This isn’t any kind of unique experience in our day and age. Most jobs, in one way or another, involve customer service. This is probably one of the main reasons etiquette is so strictly beaten into us as we grow up.

As i’m sure many other people who have had the “opportunity” to work in the more direct forms of customer service have noticed, customers, as a whole, are horrible. This isn’t to say that I think all of them are horrible people, just as customers they are horrible. I like to imagine there is this little switch inside a person’s head that lie dormant during most of their daily machinations. When they get it in there head that they are going to buy something or inquire about a service they have, the switch flips and the seal breaks.

Where the once regular, average joe stood now stands a confused, angry and self-important little monster with a frightening roar.  This little cretin throws around it’s tiny weight like it were a 16-wheeler going 80 on the expressway. The thing that really defies reason, however, is the fact that our society teaches us from birth that we are supposed to cater to that monster. It’s the little things; “Kill them with kindness”, “You have to be able to hold your tongue to work with people,” and my personal favorite, “The customer is always right.” We are taught that it is O.K. for a person to act like that when they are a customer and might buy something from us or our employer. Basically they are paying not only for the goods or services rendered but for the opportunity to treat another human being like a lesser being. But that is acceptable. If it were in any other context, the majority of the same people would consider the same behavior wholly unacceptable.

So, on we all smile and offer them our most gracious and helpful appeasing gestures. After all, we need their money and support to survive.

But, let’s step away from the reality of it for a moment. Have you ever received really horrible customer service before? I’m talking about the really, really atrocious kind. You tell the waitress that you asked for no cheese because you’re lactose intolerant and they scrape it off, in front of you, and hand it back.A cashier messes up your order and starts swearing at you when you ask them to fix it. Now, imagine what those people’s work lives are like? They out up with 100s, if not more, angry oppressive customers a week (or even a day). They take all that flak day in and day out for months or years. Eventually anyone would grow numb to it and stop caring. It still isn’t acceptable to treat a customer like that, but in a certain light you can at least see why.

Now, just imagine if society as a whole taught a mutually respectful practice of customer/consumer relations? If everyone knew that it was mutually as intolerable to treat a worker disrespectful as it was for them to treat you that way. Perhaps if everyone treated the workers and servers who are there, making it easier for you to get what you want and need, doing their job like equals they would like their jobs better and provide better service.

This is, of course, a fanciful thought. Even if society as a whole did change it wouldn’t account for certain all too common “outliers.” No matter how we are told to act, some people just won’t care. This would stand on both sides of the counter. Some customers would still come in and take out their days frustrations on the poor, unassuming wage workers. Some of the service workers would still treat the customers poorly. The only real difference is that it is significantly easier, and more likely, to fire a worker for acting disrespectfully than it is to ban a paying customer for it. Perhaps just adopting the “Golden Rule” as a business practice would improve things. They treat you like second class citizen, you do the same back.

Wouldn’t that be interesting…

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Posted on March 1, 2015, in Daily Rantings and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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