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Old 05-25-2019, 10:07 AM
7,989 posts, read 3,129,327 times
Reputation: 13259


I'd start by asking the person: "Before we begin, could you take me off of speaker, please, I don't want to accidentally disclose any personal information about you." I find sometimes the person calling is putting on a show of how clever they are, or they are ready to argue and not paying attention to what I am saying, because they now have an audience. Even worse when they have brought along someone to listen and jump in because they think they have some pertinent information to include. It's surprising how often I'll notice another person in on the conversation, only because they can't control themselves and start "advocating", even though they don't have enough knowledge or information to do so.

Other than that advice, I'd tell you to just make it all a challenge for yourself, see how polite and understanding you can be under the worst of circumstances or agenda, never take it personally. I've had the best reviews and feedback from someone who starts out with an angry: "You" or "You people...!" because I'm already prepared for how to respond. "I'm sorry about that."
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:17 AM
2,201 posts, read 1,910,600 times
Reputation: 2824
Customer is always right in these scenarios. I had a misunderstanding with a customer through no fault of my own when I worked for Best Buy and was immediately reprimanded despite my best efforts to handle the situation.
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:37 AM
Location: In a vehicle.
5,184 posts, read 3,330,014 times
Reputation: 8478
With people like this, you can't stand up as the manager will be on you for making them angrier...

I always just said "Well, let me get the manager to help you" then dropped it in their lap. Otherwise I jsut shrugged it off as the normal customer acting like a normal a hole....can't avoid them, just bide your time till it's quitting time.
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:42 AM
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,092 posts, read 6,207,232 times
Reputation: 30347
You have to take the high road unless it's outright abusive, then get your supervisor.

Welcome to the world of working with the public. We understand.
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:42 AM
Location: Chicago area
8,938 posts, read 13,493,095 times
Reputation: 16274
unfortunately in these types of jobs you have no choice to just take whatever crap short of violence the customers inflict on you.
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:04 PM
Location: Coastal New Jersey
57,368 posts, read 55,577,829 times
Reputation: 68338
You are taking it personally.

Realize that, and the next time someone speaks to you this way, brush it aside as being of no consequence.
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:37 PM
Location: North Idaho
23,097 posts, read 29,469,997 times
Reputation: 45250
Smile and be polite. She's an idiot and she doesn't really matter in your life.

See if you can understand exactly what her problem is. If you can't fix it, try to shuffle her off to a supervisor. Somehow, whatever you are telling her is not going int her ear in a manner that she can understand.
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:56 PM
Location: Washington state
5,558 posts, read 2,859,594 times
Reputation: 16880
Most customers are never right and most of them are stupid. Most of them think the world revolves around them, everything should be free, and what they want, they should get faster than you can whip it out of your butt. As anyone working in customer service knows, your job is to fix the problems they make for themselves and not treat them the way they deserve to be treated, no matter how much you may want to.

If you reconcile yourself to this, you will be able to stand the customers, lose a lot of stress helping them, and you will also be really, really surprised and grateful when you meet some of the ones that don't fit this depressing pattern.

And yes, there are customers out there who will try to intimidate you, dominate you, and make you feel inferior. Who knows what sucks in their lives so bad they have to take it out on someone they know can't fight back, but if you focus on the job instead of the flapping lips, you'll be much happier.

I knew someone who was working at McDonald's for the summer while going to a university to be a biologist. Customers would regularly get mad at her for "messing up their order" (when they'd order the wrong thing) and then tell her condescendingly that this is why she was working at a fast food place.

Customers will be condescending in any job you do. All you can do is go home at the end of the day and be glad you're not them with all the problems in life they must have.
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:12 PM
10,163 posts, read 4,761,491 times
Reputation: 13282
Originally Posted by dumb View Post
The first thing you must do is detach yourself from the situation and become more like an actor who is playing a part. The customer is not shouting at you personally - they don't care who you are. They are only demanding answers from the service which they've paid for and you're simply a front for them to vent their frustrations. This takes a little work and investment, but it becomes so much easier when you unplug yourself from the scene that way.

This. The customer is usually not talking to "you" but the company. If you are on the front line of customer support, you are the "company" as far as they are concerned. If I call up AT&T (God help me) I am talking to "AT&T" not the rep named "Susan". If I call the next day and talk to "Sally" and the next day with "Bob" and have to repeat myself I am going to be upset because I have "explained this to you already".

The scope of your job duties or powers is also not their concern. If you do not know or have the ability to "fix" it then it is up to you to transfer the customer to someone who does. If I ask a rep to remove an incorrect charge, I'm not going to be satisfied with "I don't have authority to do that". Connect me with someone who does.
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:20 PM
1,822 posts, read 472,917 times
Reputation: 3225
Originally Posted by luckygirl15 View Post

Her tone was condescending and belittling and were meant to hurt me and make me feel stupid. I said nothing and I think I could have said something in a nice way to stop her dead in her tracks.

What could I have done? I don't want to make her mad but I do want to stand up for myself.
Sorry you had to go through this. I had a client years ago that always had a nasty tone about her regardless of how successful things were. Some people are just like that, and you have to ignore that because they are the ones who have the problem. You also have to realize there are people that won't accept blame for anything or apologize or even give you thanks. To them, it is the rest of the world that is the problem, never them.

As for how to handle it. Next time someone says "We talked about this many times..." and you don't recall, simply say, "I'm sorry, I don't remember those conversations and I don't see anything here in the notes about it". Don't allow them to push you around. You can be nice and helpful, but you have to speak from the facts too. Otherwise you are going to be blamed for nothing.

You mentioned e-mail. If you have an e-mail address for her, you could follow-up an e-mail message to her explaining the information and what her plan of action needs to be to get whatever she wants accomplished. You could instruct her for how to handle things too. Always be helpful even if they aren't nice about it.
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