Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: a view from behind the phones, thoughts of a CSR.

customer-service-representative-for-a-year-74942I’ve spent a few years working customer service now, in person and on the phone.  Customer service work is a great way to be an even greater misanthrope than one might ever be.  This is because you always get the problem children.

Now, for these problem children, I have some advice, and yes it’s presented with quite a bit of snark:

Read.  For sanity’s sake, read.  It isn’t that hard to read the form you have to fill out, the instructions on a package or the letter you were sent because you screwed up which has the instructions on how to un-screw up.   Unless you really are illiterate, and in the area that I license, I sure as hell hope you are not, it is just laziness that prevents you from taking responsibility and reading for yourself.

If you are on a website, you got to look around. No joke, I have people calling me having fits about a website that they can’t log into, and less than an inch from the username/password boxes, it says that if you don’t have a user name and password for the site you need to register, and the registration tab is right at the top of the screen.

You do indeed get ridiculed by the CSRs if you are too lazy to read the information you are given.  After the call ends or you walk away from the counter, your particular idiocy is shared with everyone.

This is why a CSR sounds bored or irritated with you, because you are just one more person who asked the same question that day and who was too lazy to read the information.  It even irks us more when you get pissy when we point out that the information was always available to you.  It’s not rude to point out you’ve failed.

If you let someone else fill out your paper work or buy your stuff, and it’s wrong, it’s your fault, no one else’s.

If you lie to us, or do not give us the information we need, we can’t help you.   If you are so paranoid that you refuse to give us your social security number, we can’t help you.  And we likely already can see it, so just calm down.

If you try to pretend you know it all, we’re more than happy to let you hang yourself and will offer no more information to someone who says “I did that” or “I know that” before we are finished talking.

Don’t expect the CSR to teach you how to use your computer or to cook or whatever basic skill you lack that you thought you had but has found out you fail at.  If you don’t know how to use a computer (and age is not an excuse), then go to a class to learn.  I am sick of hearing “I’m old, I can’t use computer.”   It’s damn time you learn.  If you don’t want to, then you’ve selected yourself out of civilization and it is not my problem.

The CSR doesn’t care that you’ve been a purple people eater for 40 years or whatever you claim in order to try to get special attention.  We also don’t care if you’ve “never ever had a problem like this before.”    Surprise, problems happen at any time, especially with computers.

If the website says to contact certain people if you are having a problem with the website, contact them. Do not call everyone else but them because we can’t help you and you getting bitchy about that doesn’t help.

If the CSR says something is the only way, that’s the only way.  We aren’ t keeping a secret special way for those who have the magic password. No matter if you shout, cry or beg, the rules won’t change. And please, don’t call back hoping to get an answer you like better.  Most CSRs for a certain area sit very close together.  We can hear the call and know that some idiot doesn’t want to accept what they are told and will be fishing for another response.   You’re not being clever, you’re being a dick.

For those who do read what they are sent and call for help after doing all they can to help themselves, know that it’s those that are asking questions they already have the answer for that are making the wait times on the phone longer and longer. From my experience, 9 out of every ten calls never had to be made.

And thus endth the rant.  🙂

6 thoughts on “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: a view from behind the phones, thoughts of a CSR.

  1. Answering the phones for the state tax agency. This. SO this. From the “I’m old” to the failure to read instructions, failure to follow my instructions, to the answer shopping. Now there are things hidden that aren’t “the only way” but unless you’ve been golfing with the assistant deputy director of the agency….good luck. As in, I, a person who actually is in the agency, would be hard pressed to make it happen for my own mother. I understand that I handle a difficult subject, but if I’m explaining to you things I already knew at 16 years old, and you are still not getting it….you’re just stupid. I regularly, regularly have to explain to people 30 and over that state taxes are not federal taxes. That sales tax is not income tax. Stuff I knew before getting out of Junior High School.


    1. I also work for the state tax agency. I get that starting a business is full of restate and there is a lot of things you have to apply for or register with, but if you come into my office to tell me you need tax id numbers and you don’t know what you’re doing because this is your first business, I know I’ll see you in a few months to cancel your sales tax number.
      Our building also happens to be next to the IRS building, so despite two signs on our front door, they still come in to ask IRS questions. Sorry, can’t help you with your IRS collections bill. Go to the building on your left. Yes, the one that says Internal Revenue Service, the only building on the left. No, don’t walk down our hallway, becaus our buildings aren’t attached. So many people do not even understand the difference. We have state income tax. If someone comes in to ask a question but doesn’t know what they need, we have to ask if it was their big check or their little check. If it’s a tax form I’m not that familiar with and I have to help them, I just sit them down and read the instructions to them that they brought in with them.
      They also blame their accountant a lot. Still your responsibility to know what you sign your name to.


      1. The big check, little check thing…that’s a very familiar refrain particularly from trailer parks and the ghetto. I remember when we did outreach in malls with two tables; one labeled state, and one IRS. They would see their line, and then just get in our much shorter line and then be upset when we couldn’t help them. Plus we are the only office that issues Sales tax numbers on the spot. And I’ve noticed 85% of them never have done a thing, generally in delinquency for failure to file, six months later.

        And the “my accountant” defense Um it doesn’t take a genius to figure if he’s asking you to sign papers saying you have a business loss….and you don’t have a business, something is wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. yep. the licensing agency I work at is for health care professionals. these are people who in theory read forms all of the time, so they know how to medicate, etc. the one form to be allowed to prescribe has about a 80% failure rate, where I have to send the form back and get them to fill it out correctly.


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