A Toast To The Unappreciated

Ever seen one of these before on Facebook or email:

“Somewhere a nurse is being yelled at, is delivering medicine, is working a late shift, has been vomited on, is cleaning up poop, is taking care of a loved one, is bathing a patient, is a shoulder to cry on, and is underappreciated! Forward this/Copy this to your Facebook profile if you know and love a nurse that is taking care of the young and old everywhere.”

You’ve seen at least one of those things right? There’s one for nurses, teachers, soldiers, firemen, landscapers…ok, not landscapers but you get the point. There’s one of these for every profession that people out there seem to think is unappreciated. However, there is one that has been left out though so allow me to add to this game of “You Don’t Care Enough About Us”.

I spend way too much time on Facebook, as a nosy person at heart it allows me an acceptable means to get in people’s business should they choose to post it out loud for the world to see. In my years of internet life and Facebook life in particular what I’ve noticed is that people like themselves a lot and when they like themselves a lot they like to tell you about the people that are “beneath” them. Sometimes they post it on their wall, sometimes they make it a status message but, rest assured, they are gonna tell you about it;  especially when it comes to the unappreciated profession of the day…Customer Service Representative.

Now, I’m gonna tell you something that you likely already know. No one aspires to be a Customer Service Representative, little girls don’t clamor for the Customer Service Barbie doll with the ergonomic keyboard and detachable headset. Little boys don’t play in the sandbox as children and dream of explaining compounding credit card interest over the phone when they grow up. 90% of the people in that cubicle hell don’t want to be there, they shudder when they pull into the parking lot, they force themselves to pull open the lobby doors and scan their keycard for entrance, their walk slows the closer they get to “The Floor”, and by the time they get to their cube they have said at least one “Why me? What did I do to deserve this fate, God?” prayer, and when they first ring comes through…well, you’ve never heard such a sigh of resignation and defeat. And you want to know why?

Because YOU are on the other end.

You see, people feel like they can beat up on the Customer Service lady or gentleman because they are beneath. According to you the CSR is most certainly a high school dropout, doesn’t know what he/she is talking about, likes to lie for personal gain, and quite simply has the autonomy to do whatever it is that you yell and curse loud enough that you want done. Au contraire. Most CSR’s mourn their wasted degrees and curse the day that they economy dropped to the point they had to take on this job title; other CSR’s are only CSR’s to make their way through college so that they can be something other than CSR’s. But in the meantime the CSR has to deal with you and all your issues that you likely brought on yourself. Your disconnected service, your overdrawn bank account, your over the limit credit card, everything that you called up yelling and pissed off about because of something that YOU did, or more operatively, didn’t do. So I’m going to help you out and give you some insight in hopes that you pipe down a little and your superiority complex decreases a little bit.

1. The computer doesn’t lie; you shouldn’t either – When you save something on your computer at home your computer will then time stamp it and tell you when you saved it. Simple right? So do me a favor, stop telling your friendly neighborhood CSR that you have never made a late payment in your life because when that person opens your file and the screen turns red and sh*t starts scrolling across the screen and managers are alerted and flares are shot across the office and women and children start wailing and the fire alarm goes off,  your friendly neighborhood CSR is fighting the urge to call you a lying son of a gun (and some mo’ thangs) because that ain’t nothing but an untruth of the highest order. You’re more likely to get what you need by telling the truth than cursing about some fantasy world where you’ve never done anything wrong.

2. You ain’t the only one – “I can’t believe that rep talked to me in that tone!” I can. Wanna know why? Because he/she has talked to 70-80 versions of your dumb ass all day long and he/she is one more escalated call away from leaping from the top of the building. The general rule that’s circulated on “The Floor” is that “You should treat every call like your first call. Don’t let anything carry over.” But when you’ve talked to Sha’Quecia and Ray Ray and ‘nem all day long and they’re on that nonsense and then you call talking crazy because your 15-cent credit didn’t apply on your last bill then pardon the CSR for being just a tad bit snippy. You’ve got bad days on your job and you only deal with a supervisor and the person at the workstation to your left and right. Imagine the bad day you would have if you multiplied that by 60 and then did it for a ten-hour shift. Think you’d be a little short? Me too.

3. Lose your entitlement issues, please – The CSR on the other end of the phone as well as whatever business entity they represent appreciates the fact that you’ve never been late (honestly, the screen didn’t flash, no alarms, nothing, good history) and that you’ve been an exemplary customer but don’t call asking for extra stuff because you did what you were supposed to do. NO PROPS FOR DOING WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO! That’s akin to the dude that runs up on you, sticks out his chest and says “I take care of my family!” So what! You’re supposed to, idiot! So no, you cannot have an extra $15,000 on your credit limit, you cannot get your rate lowered 10%, and no, you’re not going to get a special “Thanks For Doing What You Were Supposed To Do” fleece blanket just for following the rules. Do you ask the city to show you extra appreciation every time you stop at a traffic light or stop sign? Didn’t think so…same rule applies.

4. The person you’re talking to KNOWS its BS, too – That thing that you’re calling about…the service, the jacked up interest rate, the card cancellations, and decreased credit limits, the changes in your policy…the CSR knows that’s BS too! In fact, that CSR probably just got out of a meeting where they expressed concerns about the stink this is going to cause with people like you and the angry calls they are going to have to take because your interest went up 15% or your policy no longer covers this, that, and the other thing. And when you DO call up to complain about the notice of your new regulations that you got in the mail you want to know what the CSR wants to say? “You’re right, this is some BS and it’s not fair. I’m ticked off too because my regulations changed in the same way. You know what I’m going to look out for you and keep your regulations the same as they were before, we’re gonna keep that between us because the system is a mess and it’s unfair to consumers.” That’s what the CSR wants to say until he/she remembers that Big Brother (management) is listening live in their offices and he/she knows that day care/tuition for their kids’ school is coming due and the car note is coming up at the end of the month and their spouse is in danger of losing their job…so you know what they say? They swallow hard and say “We empathize with you and know that these changes are difficult but they are final. You can close the account if you like.” Management in their glassed in offices smile while a little piece of the CSR dies inside while you curse at volume 100. That said…

5. Watch your conduct – 90% of the CSR’s are good people, they just want to do their jobs, deal with your dumb ass for 8-10 hours, leave and try not to park on the side of the interstate and leap off an overpass in the process. 10% of the CSR’s, however, are just like you imagine them in your twisted imaginations. Angry, uneducated, and really don’t care if they get fired or not quite honestly. When you call a CSR you want to know what pops on the screen before the CSR even picks up the phone? Everything. Everything about you. And this ain’t NBC hit show Outsourced, the angry CSR that answered your call isn’t across the world, he lives in the states like you, in fact, you two are in the same state and he knows EXACTLY how to get to the address that just popped on the screen after you just called him a “stupid MF’er that better reconnect this service” and if he doesn’t know how to get there his GPS does, especially since he’s taken calls and been yelled at by people like you that brought the disconnection on themselves because they felt like since they were on time last month they didn’t have to be on time this month all day long. And since he doesn’t care about getting fired he really doesn’t mind getting up and leaving his cubicle 2 hours before his shift ends and coming to see if you will still call him a stupid MF’er when he’s standing in front of you. I mean, the conversation is recorded for “quality assurance and training purposes”, and you calling him that is on tape so it’s not like you can deny it when he rolls up on you. All that to say, make sure to ask the CSR what office he’s located in before you think to talk slick about some craziness. And don’t ask me if I ever say this happen because I won’t tell but…just watch your mouth

So, feel free to copy THIS to your Facebook page wall: Somewhere a Customer Service Rep is being called everything but a child of God, is being told that they have to deliver all the bad news a company has to offer on a daily basis and is working on Memorial Day when they’d rather be at a BBQ. Somewhere a Customer Service Rep is being lied to about the frequency of a payment history and being told by a customer that their FICO score is 200 points higher than what is shown on the screen. Somewhere a Customer Service Rep is bearing all this so they can provide for their families, keep the lights on, and pay for tuition while praying that the economy turns so they can get a job that actually utilizes their college degree. If you know a Customer Service Rep, give them a big hug as they are probably one angry phone call away from plugging the address of you or someone you know into their GPS to find your dumb ass.

~thanks for reading

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  1. Sounds like somebody has been a CSR. I remember having to answer the phone with a long silly greeting that the Company gave me to repeat, Good Morning this is _____ how may I SERVE you with excellent custmer service today, If only people would remember the CSR is there to do a job, they dont own the company and they dont make the rules. They are mostly reading from a script that has been prepared by someone who has never been a CSR. If you ask me ALL EXECUTIVES should have to work the CSR department of the company for at least 10 years before being able to work the top. As always in love, Mom

  2. true indeed. I had a job or two in my past that I’ve tried to wipe completely from my memory. I’ve also been that person–just a few weeks backs..hell–just the other day, trying to explain to the csr how completely dissatisfied I was with the company that they worked for-how it was their fault I was on hold for an unbelievable 8 minutes and some odd seconds and how I only waited on the phone for that long just to be able to have the thrill of letting them know I was canceling whatever service I ordered. I also called somewhere just recently to try to haggle down my interest rate like that financial whiz Suze Orman claims you should be able to do when your payments get too high (it didn’t work btw). So yes, I know–I’ve been on both sides of that phone. I often “try” to hold my patience with the csr knowing it’s not their fault and having emphathy knowing that I’ve been in their place…but I forget..like most of us. Thanks for this post. I’ll try to remember the next time I make that call to a csr which I’m sure will be soon–because my cell phone bill is late…LOL.

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