Imma nah let you in on a little background information. A prequel of this blog if you will. It’s kind of in the about page, if you haven’t read that, but the whole reason I started this blog 4 years ago, was because of my bitterness working in customer service. I kind of moved into a role where there is less answering of phones, which drive me pretty close to insane, but every now and then, I get reintroduced into the bitter world of answering the phones all day. When four people are gone from your “crew” in one day, you get volunteered to do all the phone calls. There are worse jobs in the world, I suppose, but on the other hand, I’ve never seen more people quit a job after three days than I have seen quit customer service/telemarketing. It is a grind. I want to use a metaphor/simile/parable to explain what a day in customer service can be like. I know this is all going to get way absurd, but that’s how ridiculous I am and the way customer service can be too. So just deal.
Imagine if you will being a parent. And imagine that you live in a really big house that stretches a couple of blocks and have say 50-500 kids, and potentially every single one of them could call you. All across this house, they all have phones and they have needs. You sit down everyday in a chair with a computer and a phone. You have your regular duties like giving them back money for your grocery store order mess ups, or when they order food and you don’t have any in the fridge and you finally get the grocery order in, you have to release their food and have it shipped to them. Kind of have the picture? Me neither, but let’s move on.
Early in the morning, whether you like it or not, at 7 am, the phone queue is open. Some of your kids are so far on the other side of the mansion, that they are on east coast time and for them it’s 10 am and they are hungry. So they’ve had to wait until 10 am to call, and are as impatient as a rhino when they hear dinner is served.
Kid #1: Hi, this is Tropikid from the New York side of the mansion. Can you check on my grocery order? I ordered it 5 days ago and it hasn’t arrived.
BitterDad: Uh, sure, do you have a grocery order number I can look up?
Kid #1: Oh, yeah, I probably should have had that ready. Flips through things, rustles up some papers. Uh, no sorry. Can you just look under my account?
BitterDad: sighs to himself, but pretends like it’s not a big deal. No problem. What is your account number?
Kid #1: Uh, I forgot. Can you look that up for me?
BitterDad: Rolls eyes. Through gritted teeth. Well, I’m not supposed to do this, but what is the name of your account?
Kid #1: Um, Kid #1.
BitterDad: Okay, let me put you on hold and I’ll look it up. 5 minutes later waiting for computer to come up with the right number and deducing that the order was from 5 days ago, So, just to verify, was it 2 bags of cotton candy, 4 Lifesavers, a King Sized Snickers bar, and some salad?
Kid #1: Oh, you know what? The order just showed up. Thanks for looking anyways!
BitterDad: Have a great day! sarcastically
Finally done with the first call, BitterDad, checks his email and realizes he has 4 new things that are marked !!!, and he needs to get to them right away, but phone queue lights up and they are always priority.
Kid #2: I’d like to place a grocery order.
BitterDad: Alright could I get your account #?
Kid #2: I don’t have it.
BitterDad: Okay, well when you find it, call me back.
Kid #2: Wait, wait, wait, I think I have it. Is it 1?
Kid #2: 2?
BitterDad: You can’t guess. You need to know it.
Kid #2: Can you just look it up?
BitterDad: Through gritted teeth. Sure, just give me one second. Okay what is your grocery order number?
Kid #2: You pick.
BitterDad: Through even more gritted teeth, Okay, how about the date.
Kid #2: I might not remember that.
BitterDad: Okay moving on. What groceries do you need?
Kid #2: Oh, sorry, I forgot my list. Can I call you back?
BitterDad: Grinding gums now, because teeth are all grinded out. No problem, have a great day, kid.
It’s 7:15 am! Yeah, only 7 hours and 45 minutes left!
Now imagine this all through the day, same 5 requests, varying levels of annoying things happening. Sometimes calls go longer, sometimes calls start overlapping, so you can’t devote the time to one kid that you need to, because one is waiting in line for your help. Some talk slower and need you to be patient. Others talk fast and need you to keep up. Some ask you for things you can’t do on the phone right now, and some ask for information you don’t have so you need to ask someone else and get back to them. Others, need attention right now, but can’t give you the info so you have to read their minds.
And some decide that just before your beloved break from the phones, your lunch time, they need to call you and talk to you for 5 minutes about nothing, while your lunch time is grinding away.
And don’t you dare speak an unkind word or pretend you are anything but overjoyed that they called, because they are your kids, and your kids are ALWAYS right. And they should be treated with the respect of angels, even though they act like devils. Because you should be lucky you are even a parent, and you get paid to smile and parent them.
Bitter Bittermer Service Ben