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Why are customer service people so rude and unhelpful?

Why are customer service people so rude and unhelpful?

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Old Mar 1, 19, 7:56 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by davie355 View Post
I've tried this myself, must be white privilege as it doesn't work for me. I do always use please and thank you, however.
I'm not white.

Maybe its brown privilege as I pretty much always get good customer service.
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Old Mar 1, 19, 9:48 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by TanyaHelenaP View Post
I know this is a broad question with many differences across companies/airlines. I think intuitively that it's not among the best paid jobs and can be very stressful... but recently I've had quite a few bad experiences which triggered me to open this discussion with additional questions:
.
  • Aren't they supposed to be the first point of contact when people have issues and need to talk to a human?
  • Aren't they supposed to know how to solve the problems that the automated systems (websites, booking systems etc) cannot?
  • Shouldn't companies/airlines invest more into ensuring they are better trained, respectful and can deal with real problems rather than just tell customers to wait on the line another 20 minutes and then to send an email to someone else who will reply weeks later?!
In terms of airline travel, booking premium fares or premium airlines (like CX) have been the only cases when I had a somewhat positive experience with customer service teams. Almost all other times I tried contacting customer service resulted in completely useless conversations. Is good customer service only for premium fare and premium airline passengers?

What has been your experience with customer service representatives?
Which airlines or companies have the best ones, which ones the worst?
Most people make a decision based on price. Blame them.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 6:28 am
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Originally Posted by DCP2016 View Post
While 99/100 times I get a nice CS agent at whatever company I am calling up, it comes down to power and the type of company. Most CS agents at large corporations don't have a lot of power to just deal out whatever the customer demands. There is a script they have to follow and will get in trouble/get fired if they offer more than they are allowed to. For larger companies in oligopoly/monopoly markets, there is no competitiveness for the company to keep a customer, hence the lack of good will/compensation for something.
I was going to add a similar response. It starts with the company's attitude. If they don't care, they outsource customer service, don't pay much, make them follow scripts, don't give them the authority to do anything to resolve the problems, under-staff so customers are kept on hold for an hour, send them to e-mails or voicemail boxes that aren't monitored, etc.

I'm sort of willing to put up with this if I'm buying a low-cost product or service and I'm willing to pay more in cases where I want better. If I pay more and get the type of "customer service" I described in the last paragraph, I take my business elsewhere if I possibly can.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 10:24 am
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CUSTOMER service starts with YOU !
We all are suppliers of something to somebody...be it data within your company, supplying parts to the mechanics in your dealership, what have you.
If we ACCEPT substandard service, it soon becomes a norm and we end up providing leass than great service.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by ou81two View Post
Most people make a decision based on price. Blame them.
For me, airline CS doesn't make the list of the five industries with the worst CS (admittedly, that's a tough list to crack). Might be my own lens, but it seems as though when I travel biz or PE I have better interactions with CS all the way around. I guess, as my excellent mother used to say, you get what you pay for!
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Old Mar 2, 19, 10:56 am
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The worst customer service experiences I have ever had were with ATT.

Every interaction was rude, deceptive, and unsuccessful.

It actually spurred me to kill my landline. When I cancelled my land line and had to talk to a 'retention specialist' to make it happen, she actually became rude and belittling when her retention attempts were rebuffed. I ended the call and with a resolution to switch from ATT cell carrier as soon as possible, which I did within a month.

I have vowed to avoid doing business with them in the future. I have never had that experience with any CS agent in the travel industry.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 12:41 pm
  #22  
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Most recently, I have had excellent customer service with Air Choice One, an STL (St. Louis, USA)-based carrier. Paula, Lexie, and Dorothy have been top-notch, and very patient with my unpredictable schedule.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 1:37 pm
  #23  
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Broad brush generalizations are usually wrong.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 3:22 pm
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I approach every CS experience with a DYKWIAN (Do you know who I am NOT) attitude because I am not going to yell, threaten or curse at someone that I am asking to assist me, for an issue that 99.99% of the time they have no control over. Of course, I've encountered a few CS agents over my years on this earth that are just miserable and nothing I do matters one way or the other.

I have an alternate plan in mind (if applicable) and treat the person on the other end of the line with respect and kindness. I've had a few huge wins over the years (and most were never asked for), reasonable resolutions the majority of the time and I actually got 1 CS fired, after they pulled the recorded call of his interaction with me.

Companies that consistently provide a poor CS experience simply don't get my business. I do my best to be a good customer and I expect to be treated with the same respect and kindness that I give.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 12:00 am
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I'd like to say because a very large minority of customers, especially travellers, (not a majority, but I'd say 10+%) are pushy, demanding, and plain elitist. This in turn builds a defensive response from the CSR.
If you ring up and they say "Hi, Airline XXX, this is John speaking" you say "Hi John, my name's Jane, can I ask you about something? I'm a little confused about the pricing on this..."
You build a (human) relationship. Smile when you're talking to them, whether on phone or in person. Tell *them* to have a great day/weekend.

With a bit of honey, you catch a lot of flies. So if you want great customer service... be a great customer. Don't get me started on people who go to country X and can't even say "Excuse me" in language X. No, you don't need to be fluent in X, but "hello" and "thanks" is the least a decent human being can manage.

And before I get someone saying "without customers you'd be bankrupt"; I refuse to distil all human relationships into some sort of commercial arrangement. It's not all payment for product or service, even when it is payment for product or service.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 6:14 am
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I was customer facing back in the day in a nonairline business. I believe it is largely training. Just as a trivial example, it was drilled into us to thank the customer, and we did. It was reflexive. Nowadays I can't remember the last time I heard thank you from anybody. I thank them and they say, "No problem." Yeah, not appropriate. It's also the ever growing attitude that I (the customer service person) can be rude to you (the customer) if you are rude to me. Being graceful in the face of rudeness is a learned skill, but no one even trains people that an eye for an eye does not have a place in customer service. And adding to that, the consuming public treats customer service people (and pretty much anybody else) abominably. This does set up sort of a reflexive defensiveness that has to be consciously fought. But all this comes back to training. Management can help employees develop the ways of thinking necessary to be able to avoid going to work everyday and jumping over the counter to strangle the 10th rude customer before lunch. Which brings us to another problem I would guess plays a part. People working without breaks and meals. Virtually no one can even fake niceness if it's been too long since the last food, hydration, etc.
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Old Mar 4, 19, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by akl_traveller View Post
If you ring up and they say "Hi, Airline XXX, this is John speaking" you say "Hi John, my name's Jane, can I ask you about something? I'm a little confused about the pricing on this..."
Agree on "Hi" but the rest could get on the nerves of an agent whose performance reviews are based on call time.

Personally, I do the minimum to convey to the agent that I'm a patient and reasonable person. Unless they start asking me about March Madness games, I won't inject non-call related conversation.

Originally Posted by RAAng View Post
I was customer facing back in the day in a nonairline business. I believe it is largely training. Just as a trivial example, it was drilled into us to thank the customer, and we did. It was reflexive.
Agree on training, although I think it's not customer service training per se. It's basic etiquette training that is taught in kindergarten. If "please" and "thank you" aren't reflexive by the time one enrolls in 1st grade, there is a steep uphill battle to remediate that.
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Old Mar 5, 19, 7:36 am
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Agree on "Hi" but the rest could get on the nerves of an agent whose performance reviews are based on call time.
I could see this being an issue if you're chattering on and on about the weather, but essentially what you're doing with the pleasant greeting is giving them information they're going to need anyway, but in a nicer way.
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Old Mar 5, 19, 8:06 am
  #29  
 
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I have no doubt that a good part of the issue relates to the changing demands on customer service people. A few years ago, there would be all sorts of queries, many of which were not examples of where things had gone wrong. This meant that the reps would spend a significant amount of time creating something good for the customer. With increased automation, I find nearly all my calls to customer service reps concern things which have gone wrong, so the rep's job first off is to placate and then solve, both of which are much more demanding.
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Old Mar 5, 19, 8:08 am
  #30  
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My guess is it is a two way street, so you kind of get what you ask for.
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