Agnostic.com

43 47

Customer service point of view.
I have worked various public facing jobs over the years and I think it's a point of view everyone could benefit from hearing, so here goes.

There is a troubling attitude toward customer service workers that is so ingrained and pervasive that people become offended when you point it out. We are often treated as servants. "The customer is always right" has morphed into systemic abuse of clerks, waitresses and service staff in general. People will do and say the most awful things to them,knowing they'll get away with it because the service industry is fanatic about not offending customers.

I have witnessed workers being sexually harrased and stalked, physically accosted, threatened and assaulted by out of control customers and management. Even those who don't cross that line often fail to treat customer service people with any respect. It's not ok to be horrible to people because you don't like the prices,procedures or anything else about a business. The people you see and talk to DO NOT MAKE policy. They're just the sad sacks who have to put up with your tantrums over it.

Something many people may not know is that the service industry has been on a massive labor cost cutting rampage in the last decade. Most people can't get full time but are expected to have completely open availability at a low wage. Good luck getting a 2nd job to pay rent. Corporations don't mind turnover and even encourage it because it keeps them from having to give out raises, pay for benefits etc.

So that customer service worker who doesn't seem to care enough about whether or not the bread you want is in stock most likely is living on the edge of poverty, has no healthcare, next to no job security and knows very well that he could be fired at any time for any little thing.

Getting sick is a big one. People get fired for calling in sick all the time. You want to know why that bakery employee is working despite barely being able to stand? Because sick leave in most cases is draconian. You only get a handful of days, that are often tied in with vacation and family leave. Many places require a doctor's note if you call in for 3 consecutive days. Good luck with that when you're broke and don't have any healthcare, or an enourmous deductible that has to be met. So you can thank the service industry for the frequency of colds and flu.

In conclusion folks, customer service workers are broke,most likely sick, struggling with all sorts of financial and emotional problems resulting directly from basically being slave labor and generally despised by the public and their employers. So maybe try not to be such dicks. Also support your local labor movement.

OpposingOpposum 9 Apr 16

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

43 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

3

Wow was just thinking of how unrealistic that is to the customers. Think that an employer would encourage a sick employees to seek medical care rest etc so that the employee could give the customers the best treatment in hope of repeated business.

That is sadly NOT how corporations work.

@Blindbird I know worked for Costco for a like 3 years they are a bit better about employees treatment but only a smidge.

12

God damn. Why can’t people just be nice to one another and show respect. It’s such a simple thing.

12

Though only addressing a part of this it means a lot to me. I & most of my family has worked in sales or customer service often over the years, including retail & food service. One of the biggest indicators for me, when on a date, is how my date responds to & treats the wait staff or the clerks in a store. If she flings attitude & rudeness instead of empathy, that will be a final date.

10

I've declined second and third dates with people who treated service workers like crap. It's very telling about their character and I ain't got time for it.

Lani Level 5 Apr 17, 2018

Oh yeah. Nasty or creepy to the "help"? There will be no 2nd date.

9

I work customer service in Scottsdale (aka SNOTSdale). It seems like the people with the most money are the cheapest sons of bitches out there, and want something fo nothing. I am always polite, and will bend over backwards for a nice customer. But if someone is an ass? I'll do as little for them as possible. The customer is NOT always right, and I never allow someone to treat me like shit.

I do the same. I will go above and beyond for a nice respectful client but if you are rude or nasty I will do the bare minimum.

9

I spent most of my working life in customer service. Your post is spot on.

Deb57 Level 8 Apr 16, 2018
8

I have walked out on dates for being rude to a waiter or waitress at dinner. That's a huge red flag for me.

Deb57 Level 8 Apr 17, 2018
8

I support a living wage.

To address the rest of your post; I think that the way people treat service workers in any industry reflects on their character not the service.

I don't know how I compare to other customers in that department, but I don't know that in the two restaurants that I frequent, my drinks always get refilled quickly and my food is served very quickly. Of course, I still wait during rush periods, but not as long as most.

I've also encountered my fair share of mistakes on the part of service providers, but I try to keep in mind that we all fuck up sometimes, and if you treat people like human beings they will quickly fix things most of the time.

JimG Level 8 Apr 17, 2018

I wish I could give you more than 1 point for your comment Jim. Spot on, imo

@eeyorn
Thank you!

8

How people treat clerks etc is possibly the best indication of character I know. Even if service help aren't at their best, I assume they are having a shitty day for whatever reason and it's even more important to treat them with dignity and respect. We're all in this together.

8

That is really sad. I always try to be respectful of service workers. My ex-wife was a waitress and a store clerk for a while, and she helped to see what they go through.

7

A couple of years back in Asda (the UK branch of Walmart), I saw a customer who wasn't looking where she was going push her trolley into one of the shopfloor workers. "Oh, I'm sorry," she said - and then looked down her nose at him and added "What am I apologising to you for? You're just a shop assistant."

Fortunately, as a customer, I was in a position to tell her she ought to be ashamed.

Jnei Level 8 Apr 17, 2018

Good on you! One of my coworkers was 8 months pregnant, stocking something on floor level when a lady ran into her with a cart. The woman said"well she saw me coming, she should have moved". That particular coworker caught a lot of crap when she was pregnant actually. She looked very young and people assumed she was a teen mom.

@Blindbird My blood is literally boiling just reading that - I get absolutely fumingly pissed off at how some people seem to think it's OK to be rude to women who become pregnant at any age they seem to consider "unsuitable". One of my colleagues had a baby when she was 18 and some of the comments I heard at work when she was very pregnant made me want to follow the customer outside and stab them in the face.

@Jnei yes. I wholeheartedly agree.

6

Wish I had found this when I first replied.

Fastest way to end a date ever.

6

The concept that "the customer is always right" was a lie from the beginning, a lie that sold.

5

I have worked as a server, a delivery driver, and a social worker. Some elements of the general public are downright sociopathic. I was fired from the server position for getting into a fight with a customer, who was so insulting that I had to defend my honor. With the delivery job, I had numerous occasions where customers would yell at me like I was a 5 year old, then when I yelled back, they would call the store and complain about my "rudeness"
And with the social service job, I ended up physically and psychologically burned out, by rude pushy psychos.
The customer is not always right, but is a fellow human being, who must understand that the customer service worker is his fellow human being, and being insulting, and launching personal attacks could get him into some serious consequences...including violence.

5

I couldn't agree more. You are right in all you comments. I see this every day. I deal with it every day. I am in customer service but I wouldn't say that I am the best example of how to do it. I will push back on these rude and ignorant (for whatever reason) people who are usually entitled and self centered and that of course only encourages them to continue their attacks. I am not a mean person but I will stand up for myself and that has earned me the title of 'that mean lady'. Standing up for oneself = mean!!! A title that I am quite happy to own. I am fortunate in that my boss (business owner) while valuing the customer does not expect the worker to have to tolerate rudeness from customers. I am thankful that most of my customers are respectful and appreciative of my help. Lastly my co-workers, in the retail industry, are some of the most decent, hardest working people I know or have known.

Yes. Being assertive is frowned on as a woman and doubly so when working service jobs! I can be a "mean lady" when the situation calls for it as well. 😉

@Blindbird Yes. How sad is that? Hopefully it will change now that the expectations put on women are being challenged.

5

I think most people build up a lot of frustration and hostility each day - work, family, existential angst, etc - then pick the easiest target to vent on.
Who better than someone paid to be pleasant like service personnel.
It's a dick move on their part, but then they feel justified because "I'm paying for this".
Now that it's nearly official government policy ( in the US ) it's only getting worse.
Seems many people like being assholes.

5

Well stated. I judge people by how they treat customer service and food service people. If tey are rude to them, or treat them as if they are less-than, I wash my hands of them. Of course, I tell them why and suggest to them they it is, in fact, they who are beneath the lowly customer service person.

5

The only time the customer is always right is when they treat you right. Or if the commision on the sale makes it worthwhile for you to put up with thier crap !

5

"Then they should have gotten an education so they don't have to work there."

J/K; you told the story of my adult life. And someone is always going to have to do those jobs; it's not fair to attach shame to them.

It's bleeding into other labor jobs too. Teachers, nurses,doctors. There seems to be a propoganda war on people who work hard.

5

Yeah I worked retail..people are dicks generally..with an occasionally nice customer..

I think most customers are fairly nice but completely clueless. The jerks stand out in ones memory though.

@Blindbird hmmm..you do have a point..thanks.

@Blindbird In my experience most customers are neutral but I have worked in stores where the clientele was primarily nice and also primarily hateful. My current location is one that is notoriously hateful.

Near PGA village where super rich live but surrounded by people who expected to be rich but the recession forced them to settle for st lucie west. The area is still out of my price range but they expected caviar and are forced to eat pate. Incredibly bitter.

There are regulars that are in there every single day to treat every person they encounter like shit. Every trick in the bag to show us that we are lowlifes.

Just enough nice people to keep me from going postal.

@SherryMartin that sounds horrible. I live in Sarasota so I know the type?

4

This needed to be said, thank you. Be kind, period.

4

Always treat customer service people with respect. Working in outside sales always treated grocery clerks, grocery managers and all managers with respect. No one should face customer's abuse.

4

This my dear is why I said fuck it to retail a long time ago.

Individually, that's a good solution. If everyone had something else to go do retail would have to improve working conditions to entice employees back.

@Blindbird and there ya go my friend sadly having so many people wanting these jobs makes it easy for employers to be cunts

@josh23452 "needing"

@Blindbird eh I say no one needs a job that treats em like ass.

4

Thankfully Canada has universal healthcare and an almost decent minimum wage, approx.$11/hr, it differs by province. Still too much of what you say is on the nose. I worked over 25yrs in the service industry, from busboy to manager and saw verbal, physical and mental abuses by customers and employers that would shock most people not familliar with the industry. From cooks that would wager each night which of them could make a waitress cry first, to employers making servers wait for up to 3 hours, without pay, then sending them home because it didn't get busy enough. If you complained, your shifts were cut or you were simply let go. Lots more where you came from. My best advice to anyone in the industry is this: Be polite, courteous, helpful and attentive. Do your best to provide the highest level of service you can, but don't forget to respect yourself and don't allow anyone to disrespect you. You have value even when others don't or won't see it.

Universal healthcare and a living wage would be huge steps in the right direction.

4

Very little you said that I disagree with, I am a strong supporter of a livable minimum wage and against the use of multiple part time employees to fill fulltime jobs. As an employer in a business where customer service is important, I expect my employees to be curious, polite and friendly but, I expect them to speak out is a customer behave poorly if they don't then they can expect disciplinary attaction as it is an OHS violation not to.

And THAT is a major difference between small business owners and corporations. The small business owner is on the ground and sees the real world effect of their policies. There's no accountability in corporations. Something goes wrong,they just fire a couple middle managers.

4

As young people my older siblings all worked in restaurants.
I have never forgotten their experiences. I also never did that because I knew with my temper I'd knock someone's block off if they pinched me.
I worked in the cafeteria in college - but was behind a counter! lol

Even working reception this kind of crap happens. People don't get it?
That person is just representing a company - it's way higher up then them.

That could be YOU standing there taking the abuse.

I actually got a cashier recently who had just been the brunt of someone's displeasure - and I just listened to her and acknowledged she wasn't crazy and the person had been rude.

It's not that hard to be nice. People need to figure this out?

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:59680
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.