The Customer Service Paradox

There’s a reason why there have been no posts for over a week–I’m thinking about whether or not I want to stick with this blog, and I’m leaning towards no.

I wanted to share something I figured out recently, though.

I’ve been reading a few things about working in tech support and other customer service-oriented jobs this past week. As you probably already know, customer service generally sucks. And I’m talking about when it’s being provided to you. As someone who has worked in support positions and currently works in tech support, I know that providing service sucks for the employee, as well. Well…usually.

See, there are two types of people who are best-suited for public service jobs and endure in those positions for a long, long time. One is the type of person who is seemingly always cheerful and nothing bothers him/her because he/she always has “the right attitude” or “the right response.” There are some people who are like this by nature. I don’t understand them, but they exist.

The other type of person?

The asshole.

Yes, you read that correctly. Assholes and bitches are well-suited for service positions.

Why is this?

Well, some of you are probably the reason why. See, assholes who work in customer service know how to deal with assholes who need service. In short, assholes speak asshole. And, boy, do a lot of assholes need service every day (and don’t be a perv here, haha). If this weren’t the case, assholes wouldn’t cut it in service positions. But as you probably know, there are plenty of assholes out there providing service and not getting fired. Some of them even get raises and promotions.

Also, assholes don’t care what you have to say or how ass-ish you get. So, they’re not going to take anything personally. They’re going to find humor in you, the customer, being an asshole. They’re not going to respond to threats. They’re not going to be pushed around. In short, they won’t be broken by asshole customers. They know how to handle asshole customers, which keeps them able to do their jobs. And if you’re a fairly easy customer, the asshole is not necessarily an asshole with you–he/she is just not particularly friendly, welcoming or inviting. But the asshole gets the job done, so the asshole is safe in his/her position.

My problem is, yes, I’m a bitch–but not when it comes to doing my job. When it comes to my job, I’m about perfection. The fact that a customer is unhappy signals a lack of perfection, even if I’m not the problem. I have a low tolerance for imperfection when it affects me. So, I care too much when one of my employer’s clients is upset. The asshole doesn’t care.

And when I say “asshole,” I say that with admiration. It’s not an insult. I have always wanted to be more like the asshole. But the fact that I’m not–at least not at work–means I’m not cut out to serve people, unless, perhaps, I work for a certain type of company. And my current employer comes close. They do care about the service they provide, but that’s because of its small size and it not being the only game in town. In other words, they have to care. They want employees like me, but they put employees like me in a position to support crap-ass products…which means I have to deal with assholes. And I get being upset about shit not working all the time, but you don’t have to be an ass.

Now, take some crap company like AT&T, for example. AT&T is huge. I mean, it’s just about everywhere. And, for a lot of people, it’s one of very few options for phone or internet. They’re a monopoly. This allows AT&T to not give a shit. This is why they can employ and retain a lot of assholes who also don’t give a shit and who let it show. They know that they will still have a lot of business. But my small employer turns flips over clients. The more the client pays, the more they turn flips and expect us to turn flips. I had a negative experience with that earlier this week. My co-worker, Chatty Cathy, i.e. Miss Piggy–I swear she looks just like her–i.e. the queen of bullshitting her way through the work day, went from standing in the middle of the tech support room running her mouth about absolutely nothing to, in my bitch co-worker’s words, “getting pissy” because I wasn’t moving fast enough for this company with which she’s affiliated. Some damn company that started calling us at 6:30am with shit.

6:30am? Why is anyone working or worried about anything related to work at 6:30am?

Well, service people seem to love to call people “stupid” all the time. Everything and everyone’s stupid to people who provide service. I rarely do this regarding my employer’s clients, which is probably another sign I don’t belong in any service position (instead, everyone’s an ass or a bitch to me). But I’ll tell you about the stupid service person and the stupid customer.

If you whine about customers or your service position all the time and then you say you’ve worked that job for years…you’re a stupid service person. You can say you’re so much smarter than your customers and most of them are stupid, but if you put up with it for 10 or 15 years, what does that make you? At the very least, you’re someone who needs “stupid” people to make you feel better about yourself as opposed to being able to feel good because you advanced out of a low-rung sort of position.

And if you’re that customer–that one who is essentially a regular complainer or the one who threatens to take your business elsewhere, but you keep coming back or you stick with the service–you’re a stupid customer. A stupid, power hungry but powerless, game-playing customer. If you don’t like a service, drop it. If you can’t drop it because there’s nothing better out there, don’t call a low-rung employee who can’t do shit about shit and throw around empty threats. It won’t improve your service.

Even though I can tell my employer wants employees like me, it’s telling who most of my employer’s employees actually are and how long they’ve been there. I work with one star employee, a bitch and two asses. One of the asses is a field technician, so he goes to clients to work on equipment. The star employee takes the least amount of tech support calls because he’s trusted with other stuff at work. And even at a business as small as where I work where quality service matters more, my employer knows the bitch is a bitch and the ass is an ass but nothing is done about it. The bitch has been there, like, 8 or 9 years, and the ass has been there almost 2 years when he definitely should have been fired by now. I suspect they both get raises for reaching certain marks of time for having been with my employer, just as I did when I hit three months there, but neither will advance with my employer–which means clients will keep having to deal with the bitch and the ass.

As for me? Even after the shit with Miss Piggy’s affiliated company, I was called into my supervisor’s office in part to be told that I’m doing a good job at work and that she hears good stuff about me from others. That’s not true, at least not by my standards. I have the attitude to advance at this place, but I don’t want to stick it out long enough for that (I also have seen what advancing there is like–I’d always be on call, and…um, no). I can’t handle sucking by my standards, and I can’t handle assholes (especially when it’s both clients and co-workers, even though only one co-worker bothers me). I have a feeling my supervisor is worried that I’m going to leave, and I think that’s one of the reasons she told me I’m doing a good job.

I am going to leave. Not just because of assholes and my standards, but because tech support is a beginning–not a destination. The least important people in any company deal with the highest number of assholes, and no one has to be the least important person at his/her job for years and years. If that’s the case, that employee’s not doing something right.

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