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le_inferno's avatar

What kind of quirky things are customer service employees told to do when dealing with customers?

Asked by le_inferno (6189points) August 9th, 2010

Has anyone here ever worked in customer service, be it on the phone or in person, and had to follow a bunch of arbitrary rules? I notice some strange things when I’m on the phone with a customer service employee, like the guy using my first name at the end of practically every sentence. I wondered if that was something his bosses told him to do. Any other random guidelines you know of?

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17 Answers

charliecompany34's avatar

i hate it when i order fast food like its printed on the drive-up menu and i still get a certain question from the service person that has nothing to do with what i just ordered in detail that answered all the customer service questions in the first place.

“yeah, give me four white castles with cheese and onion rings.”
“would you like to try our special of jalapeno poppers with a free drink?”
“would you like a drink?”
“no thank you?”
does this complete your order?”

uh, i think it was complete when i ordered it in the first place.

jazmina88's avatar

I just wrote a book and deleted my secrets. I’m awesome at Customer service. patience….work flow. Politeness and it is hard to get 100 perfect points on a phone call. It takes focus.

Frenchfry's avatar

Like the customer is always right. Yeah loved that one.

MissAusten's avatar

I worked in a call center for a couple of years, and we were always having some training session about improving customer service skills. I remember one “tip” we were given: Keep a small mirror in your cubicle that you can easily see into while talking on the phone. Use the mirror to make sure you keep a smile on your face because the customer can hear your smile! Just the mental image of all of us sitting in our cubicles, grinning at our own reflections, cracked me up AND creeped me out.

We also had to always empathize with the customer by saying things like, “That must be so frustrating” or “Not having a working copy machine must make your job so much harder.” It felt so phony, and now when I’m the customer and the person I’m talking to says things like that, I want to say, “Look, you don’t have to pretend to care so much, because I know you don’t. Just fix the problem and spare me the crap!”

le_inferno's avatar

@MissAusten Lol! That’s great.

Zaku's avatar

I walked into a Safeway early one morning a few years ago, and every staffperson was saying hello to me. After two or three I asked if they were required to do that and they said yeah it was a new rule. We were all nice about it, but it’s pretty lame. How about telling staff to be genuinely human with people, however that is for them?

bob_'s avatar

The dudes from American Express ALWAYS ask me “so how are you doing today, sir?”. EVERY singly time. Ugh.

KhiaKarma's avatar

I used to work at a movie theatre and can totally identify with what @charliecompany34 stated. There was upselling, which was trying to suggest a large and suggestive selling which was suggesting a specific product. Secret shoppers often came in and if we were caught not doing those things, we would get written up. There is a subtle art to it, which many are not skilled.

Chick-fil- a employees always have to respond with ” my pleasure” any time you say thanks….

jazmina88's avatar

I will admit, I have flipped people off in my cubicle.

great therapy and nobody can see it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

We had to ask every customer if they’d ever been there before, and if they hadn’t, we had to go into a 5 minute thing showing them all of our products, and making them try it (it was a lotion shop). It didn’t matter if they came in looking for something for someone else, they had to do the scrub, and the lotion, and the body butter, and then have me demonstrate the shaving cream, and then tell them how our bar soaps were made…. They kept saying to personalize it, but then they’d yell at you when you did. And if a secret shopper came in and you didn’t do the whole thing, you’d get a write-up.

I quit after the owner suggested that in order to get people interested in the lotion bars, I pretty much sexually assault them with it.

vbabe96's avatar

I am currently a customer service supervisor for a retail chain. We have a policy where we are instructed to use our customers first name whenever possible. Also we have other policies that state we have to look inside everything a customer buys. For example when people buy bedding sets, we have to feel around inside the bag for things that don’t belong. We do this because not everyone is honest. Oh we are told to ask everyone if they would like to open up a store credit card. We get in trouble if we don’t ask.

MissAusten's avatar

Before we were married, my husband worked at that call center with me. We were on the same team. He used to mess with people on the phone for the entertainment of the rest of us. One time he said everything twice during the conversation: “Thank you for calling. Thank you for calling. How can I help you? How can I help you?” The person he was talking to must have thought he had a mental illness, but didn’t mention it at all.

We could also mute our phones so we could still hear the customer but the customer couldn’t hear us. It’s amazing what people will say when they think they’re on hold and no one is listening. When you work in a customer service situation like that for long enough, you have to keep your sanity in some way.

Zaku's avatar

I worked in a small non-corporate office where we took customer orders and put them in a database. In order to track which customers were crazy or annoying versus sane or nice, we had a comments field where we would take notes one way or the other, so we could know a little about the way the customers had been in the past, when there was something worth knowing, since some of the customers were pretty far out in one direction or another.

Zaku's avatar

Reading the disclosures from several of you, reminds me that I should remember to fill out more customer feedback surveys, and always complain about the forced dialog policies. They’re usually pretty easy to notice, and the proper target for complaints is the policy, not the poor employees coerced into annoying the customers by their employers. Management needs to hear (without being told which employee was talked to) that the customers can tell and that it disgusts us.

Ivan's avatar

Yeah, the first name thing with customer service is kind of weird. “Ivan, can I put you on hold? Alright, one moment Ivan…. thanks for holding Ivan.” I don’t need you to be personable and make me feel comfortable or whatever. All I ask is that you speak a decent amount of English and make a legitimate attempt to help me.

I also love when the customer service representatives for my Internet ISP tell me to go to their website. If I could go to your website, that would probably imply that there’s nothing wrong with my Internet connection to begin with.

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