In a perfect world, our “Success Stories” would merely be accounts of the everyday encounter. But they aren’t, and that’s what makes these stories so remarkable — they are tales of those going above and beyond the expected to really make a difference, whether it be for a single customer or for society as a whole. Of course, for success stories to be so noteworthy, you need the opposite end of the spectrum to also exist. And it does. Which means that it’s time for another unfortunate installment of confessions from a bad customer service rep!

Confessions of a Bad Customer Service Representative, Part II

Hi! Bad customer service rep, here. In my last contribution, I outlined the ways in which the CEO at my former job disregarded the satisfaction of his customers. But I feel it is also important to note that the customers were not the only people who paid the price with this sort of policy. As it turns out, a ghastly customer service strategy can also negatively affect the employees of any company. 

Strict Standards of Negligence

To start off, though, I want to be clear — my CEO wasn’t a bad man. He was friendly, he was funny, and as long as we abided by his general rules, he treated us all with kindness and respect. But he also had strict standards of negligence when it came to customer service, and these rules he expected his representatives to follow to a ‘T’. He had a habit of growing bored behind that desk in his big corner office, and to alleviate that boredom, he often took to reading through random email exchanges between our service reps and customers, vigilantly looking out for any errors made by that trusty team of virtual responders. Any time he happened to stumble upon an exchange of which he did not approve, he figured the best way to teach the crew a lesson was to publically shame the offending representative… so he would forward the email to all employees with a bold header noting everything that had been done wrong.

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Once, one of our sweetest coworkers had received a simple inquiry from a customer regarding the specific brand that produced one of our top selling items. This representative, dutifully doing her job, happily replied with the brand name and a link to their website for further information. Common sense, right? But in my CEO’s eyes, this was a blatant attempt to funnel business away from our website. He sent out a company-wide email, chastising her for answering the customer’s question so truthfully. It was embarrassing, demoralizing, and unsurprisingly, fostered a lot of distrust and dislike amongst the other employees in regards to our leadership.

A Weird, Trickle-up Effect

Unfortunately, this rep ended up quitting soon after. The turnover rate of customer service reps at my company was actually quite high: in the year and a half that I worked there, I witnessed over half the representatives quit. A funny thing about systematically enforcing this sort of lack of respect is that treating your consumers poorly has a weird, trickle up effect upon morale at the company. Eventually, the people who are taking the calls and responding to emails will end up feeling just as upset as those they have been instructed to treat poorly. In the end, much of the company’s losses came from the wasted hours and manpower dedicated to training new recruits.

So there you have it. High-quality customer service is an integral part of any company structure — not only for the benefit of the customers, but for the employees and business as a whole.