Customer service gaslight


Some time ago I had a brief, but validating, interraction with a customer who, and I quote, was "sick of customer service 'positivity'". He complained of the 'cheerfulness', but how he never gets any actual help.

He's not wrong. There is a huge demand from our superiors for what they refer to as 'positive scripting'. Everything must be shaped, scripted, and molded, and packaged in a positive fashion, because gawd forbid a customer hear anything that isn't saccharine. I am not one of those people; but I'm sure that surprises no one. I've been 'coached' to be 'more inviting', but the customer I spoke with was happy I was not. He appreciated that I was blunt, to the point, didn't phrase everything like I was talking to an idiot five year-old, listened to his issue, and actually helped him.

The trouble with the over-positivity, is that it contributes to customers having unrealistic expectations about what you can and can't do; such that, when they do contact you, you spend far more of your time dealing with the fallout of pissed off people than you might have if they'd been told the plain truth to begin with. But, since companies are concerned more with profits than people - despite what they say - getting the fish on the hook is their main objective.

I find the over-positivity frustrating because it's so demeaning and dishonest. I'm not a delicate snowflake that needs to be 'handled'. I just need a rep to get the job done, and not pretend to be my buddy while they do it. I don't even need them to care; because that is not required in order for a person to be efficient and effective.

You might think, of course, that I do not like helping people. I do. I used to volunteer for various organisations, the hospital, etcetera, and found it very redeeming. I simply have no respect for retail, the  entitlement based off factors of money and consumerism, and the fact that it does not make customers responsible for their own actions, nor teach them any kind of shit-happens coping mechanisms.

Of course, there's also the issue that with retail customer service one is expected to take the blame for things one did not do. That's a bit of a problem for a victim of verbal abuse. I'll be jiggered before I'll apologise to a spoilt adult for the shit-sometimes-just-happens mistakes of another person, or the company. I never got paid enough to be the company's 'whipping boy'. If you want reps to take that kind of abuse, you might want to consider paying them more than the legal minimum. Because, right now, you've got yourself a slave population that you put in the way of abuse, and blame when things go wrong that have nothing to do with them. Were retail customer service a noble vocation, a calling, rather than a wageslave middleman punching ground, you might have a more valid argument for taking on blame, but you don't; and you, you corporate shits, should stop trying to make minimum wage earners feel bad for not wanting to take that abuse. You put them in the way of it, give them very little to fight it with, then try to make them feel guilty about hating it or being frustrated by it.

It's a lovely gaslight you've got going there.



2018 09 04 - 19:20


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