The Weekly Tiger: Respecting Customer Service

Working a job in customer service isn’t as easy as it may seem to the passerby. Working in the food industry means extensive cleaning, constantly smelling like the restaurant and having to wear those slip resistant shoes that flatter no one. Retail jobs require constant catering to the needs of the customer, being flagrantly annoying about promotions and having a faux, overly-enthusiastic attitude about your job and the products, even though your shift is 9 hours.

Other than the long hours spent standing on your feet, there’s nothing worse than encountering a rude customer. As a customer service employee myself, I have dealt with many customers over the years that just don’t seem to realize that they’re talking to another human being when they say something rude during checkout or when asking for help.

Of course, there are some policies and fine print that can be annoying, even as employees. That being said, the employees that customers see on a day-to-day basis aren’t the ones making those policies and writing the fine print. I don’t get paid enough to do that. So, I’m sorry Stacy that your coupon expired and I can’t use it, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

Part of what makes this rude behavior so confusing and unwarranted is that these same customers were most likely once customer service employees themselves. Rarely does one go through their teenage high school years without working at a local Target or Panera. Even if they didn’t work in customer service, I’m sure they have a teenager of their own who works one of those jobs and probably complains about it to their parents once they get off work.

Employees also aren’t perfect. Just because you’re trained doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about the company and know how to solve every problem that may arise. New employees, specifically, might not know everything to the extent that an employee that’s been there for awhile does. It’s also overwhelming to start a new job and new employees are expected to learn a lot of new information and skills very quickl y.

For a customer to come into the store or restaurant with a bad or argumentative attitude with an employee, especially a new employee, is incredibly rude and inconsiderate. There, I said it. Imagine going into your first day of work, optimistic about what your new job will hold for you, just to get yelled at because you can’t return a shirt with stains all over it or don’t have in stock what the customer is looking for. That’s a day ruiner right there.

Please be cognizant of how you treat your waitress or the employee checking you out at Old Navy the next time you go out. Taking the time out of your day to refold a shirt after you pick it up off of a table or being patient with employees in training at the register means more than you can know to employees. Remember, employees are people too and should be treated as such.

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