I have been working in customer service oriented jobs for most of my adult life and have recently become aware of a shocking trend: Americans are becoming self-righteous monster concerned only with themselves, and their delusional sense of entitlement.
One of my job requirements is to contact clients to remind them of upcoming payments due, and I must also cotact customers when they are at risk of running late (generally on their due date an hour or so prior to day’s end.) Recently, I had a particularly maddening experience with a client and her husband. I will refer to them as Jack and Jill.
Three weeks ago I needed to contact Jill to remind her of an upcoming payment. I used her primary contact number (cell phone), and was surprised to hear a man’s voice; it was Jack.
“Hello!” he was noticeably irritated.
“Hi. Could I speak with Jill please?”
“Who are you?” his irritation was rising. I could hear it in his tone.
“My name is Mike. Could I speak with Jill please?”
“You fucking people- who are you with?!” *gulp*
I replied with the name of my company and no more than I had completed the sentence, Jack snapped back, “You fucking people! We are always on time, we work strange hours, and you woke up my kids- I’ll tell her. Quit calling us!”
Before I had a chance to apologize, and explain, Jack mumbled, “Fuck you.” and hung up the phone.
I was flabbergasted, and quite frustrated. First, it was 4:30 in the afternoon; normal waking hours for a majority of the world. How does Jack expect me to know his, or his children’s for that matter, sleeping habits? Second, federal law does not allow me to change any personal information without a request from the account holder. I need Jill’s approval, no matter how pissed Jack is.
Jill came in on time, and did not bother explaining her husband’s behavior. It was her cell phone he answered, he told me she was right there, yet no explanation. She did ask that I discontinue her courtesy calls, and I shrugged Jack’s behavior off as him “having a bad day,” forgiven, and forgotten.
Two weeks pass and Jill is once again due (no reminder this time), problem was, we were 30 minutes from day’s end; still no Jill. I dialed her primary contact number once again, per my job requirements, and Jack answers:
I cannot help but think: Here we go again, and I reply,
“Hi Jack, is Jill there?”
“Yeah, who’s this?”
“Mike again, just wondering if Jill would be making it in today?”
“You fucking people…” *click*, he had hung up on me again.
I inform my superior of Jack’s on-going behavior, and she takes it upon herself to try Jill’s secondary contact number in an effort to speak to her, not Jack. Once again Jack answers and the same results: Cursing, disrespect, hung up on. Jill ended up paying 3 days later, and upon receiving her payment, we exercised our right to refuse service to anyone. Jill, upon hearing the news, was appalled.
“How could you do this? To Me! I didn’t do anything!”
My boss calmly replied, “Well, Jill, due to Jack’s vulgar and disrespectful actions each time we contact your cell phone, we are forced to refuse you service. I will not subject my managers to this sort of behavior. I am sorry, but you must take your business elsewhere.”
As Jill turned and walked out of the office she promised repurcutions. How ridiculous!? The nerve of some people to demand respect without giving it.
I wish this type of story wasn’t as common as it is. The old saying: “The customer is always right” is bullshit. Customers expect those of us in the service industry to bend over backward for every asanine request, and shoulder any abuses they spit our way. As Americans we are far too accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it. I think it is important for anyone who works in customer service to stand up for themselves. Not for the good of the company, just for self-respect.