Thursday, May 27, 2010
The Customer Is Always... Rude?
"You are the rudest customer I have ever seen" - not exactly what I expected to hear when I went to pick up a parcel from the post office.
I, of course, had a very mature and clever response ready for such a situation: "Well, you are the rudest person I've ever been served by!" Ha. Take that, angry little post office man.
The picking up of a small parcel had clearly spiralled out of control. I had passed him the little slip that had been left at my door and he searched for the item. He took a few minutes to find it and, when he did, he brought it back over to the counter and looked at me disapprovingly. "A book," he observed. "You should have told me it was a book, and I would have found it more quickly."
"You never asked me what it was," I said. "If you wanted to know, you should have asked me." I thought that was a valid point, but he began muttering under his breath and shaking his head. So, I signed for the parcel and put the pen down firmly as I said, "I certainly did not expect to be told off like this when I came to pick something up," and I grabbed my book.
But he took hold of the other end and snatched it back from me, saying he was yet to scan it into the computer system. Again, I suggested that perhaps he should have told me that rather than snatching it. He wasn't too happy, and that was when he brought out the 'rude' line.
What a ridiculous drama. And all with a man who once asked me whether my child is a boy or a girl, when she was wearing a dress and hot pink tights (i.e. not the sharpest tool in the shed).
But it did lead me to think back to my time in customer service, and stories from others I know who work with the public. I remember a man my Mum used to work for had a saying: "There are only two customer service rules. Rule number one - the customer is always right. Rule number two - if the customer is wrong, refer to rule number one.' There was no rule number three - get into a shouting match.
I am generally quite a relaxed customer. I certainly don't expect to be right all the time or treated like a princess or anything. What I do expect is to be spoken to politely. But a hint of rudeness, a condescending tone or being told off for something are all things that act as a red rag to a bull for me. Do any of those things and I turn into The Customer From Hell.
I have been known to yell down the phone to banks and telecommunications providers (my angry phone calls were infamous at my old job, a fact that I'm not terribly proud of), tell off car salesmen (but really, who hasn't done that?) and just recently I gave the washing machine company such a hard time that they fixed my machine for free (it was only six months out of warranty and I was not happy).
How about you? Are you a demanding customer? Or do you tend to just let things slide?
Posted at 9:43 AM