A request from a long-time customer service rep

I have worked in the customer service industry for over 20 years now. That includes both call center as well as face-to-face retail experience. The following rant is mostly due to the time of year, but it really applies year round for the most part.

I know that this time of year can be stressful for anyone. Maybe you’re concerned about finding the perfect gift, or maybe you’re worried about being able to afford any gifts at all. Maybe you’re not concerned about gifts at all, but you have some other something that’s weighing on your mind. We all have something. I would just like to ask you to please remember some basic manners that will hopefully make the season a little smoother for everyone.

  1. Remember that the person helping you is trying to help you. Berating, belittling, insulting, or abusing your customer service rep is more likely to earn you worse service, not better. That old saying about “”If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is absolutely true. “Please,” “thank you,” or “is it possible to…?” will get you better service every time.
  2. We work on holidays such as Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, etc. so that you can shop or otherwise get help with some problem. Yes, we are getting paid, but being able to spend time with our own families has no price tag.
  3. If your request is not possible, ask nicely if there are any other options available. Getting angry and yelling is never going to help your case. See item 1.
  4. Some of us have different beliefs and don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s not sacrilegious, it’s just different from your beliefs. If you say “Merry Christmas” to me, I will probably reply with “Happy Holidays” because I am Buddhist and don’t celebrate Christmas. Please don’t lecture me about the fact that I don’t say “Merry Christmas” and lecture me about how I’m taking the Christ out of Christmas, or any other such lecture. I’m just choosing my belief system over yours. I’m not pushing mine on you, please respect that.
  5. If you see someone struggling, help them. If it’s someone loaded down with bags, take the extra moment to hold the door for them. It has nothing to do with chivalry; it’s just good manners.

Most of all, just be gracious. It’s easy to get caught up in the disappointment of not getting the newest, latest, greatest whatever. Some people here in the US (as well as millions in other countries) will not have anything to eat tonight, or no bed to sleep in. Be happy with what you’ve been given in life. It can always be worse.


Postscript – Thank you to all the servicemen and -women who are serving overseas who are separated from their families right now. Words cannot adequately express how much I appreciate your sacrifice.


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