“The customer is always right, but it doesn’t stop them from being an ass”

One of the most embarrassing moments of my life what when I sat in a Thai restaurant in a small rural town in Suffolk with my 80-something year old Grandmother who when looking for the attention of the waiting staff…CLICKED HER FINGERS…I remember cowering with painful embarrassment and then fuming with anger towards her blissful ignorance of how offensive she had been.

It was at this moment that I decided there should be a national service for all UK citizens to work in customer service for 6 months – extreme? I know…it’s the hippy/dictator that battles inside me. This may sound insane but hear me out…

If everyone knew what it was like to work behind a bar, serve tables as a waitress, answer the phone in a call centre or work at a ticket box office in six months time the attitude of people would change for the better. It would be a knock on effect…the people being served would treat the person serving them with more respect and therefore the people serving would treat you better because they weren’t being treated like morons all the time…WIN:WIN

There are loads of funny sketches and training schemes on how to deliver excellent customer service but why isn’t there a “How to be an excellent customer” book? Here is my “Being a customer for beginners guide”:

  1. Don’t act like a pompous fool because the customer service agent knows more than you… remember you require THEIR help.
  2. Remember you are annoyed at the company not that specific employee who can hear you loud and clear so THERE IS NO NEED TO SHOUT.
  3. Rules are rules – you are not an exception/special/have the right to demand…anything.
  4. No you can’t have a refund if it is your fault.
  5. No you are not eligible for any special discount/extras/freebies because you are one of many and frankly…you’re not that important.

The other problem I have with bad customers is although people treat you with very little respect they seem to believe that you have the power to give them anything…here are some of my favorite requests:

  1. I had great fun at the gig last night the music was amazing but someone really tall was in front of me and I couldn’t see very well…what are you going to do about it? (From now on everyone over the height of 5”8 will have to pay a supplement of £5).
  2. Can I leave my baby in the box office to sleep while I go to the gig tomorrow night? She is so well behaved she will just sleep. (If you pay me nanny rates at £20 per hour and your happy to leave your baby with a complete stranger then yeah).
  3. I require £4000 compensation for the stress you have caused me for getting my booking incorrect. (…I don’t think I need to justify this one).
  4. It’s my honeymoon; GIVE ME EVERYTHING for free it is a once in the lifetime experience . (you hope it’s only once in a lifetime experience…and also, it isn’t a once in a life time experience for the hotel who have honeymooners every week so no).
  5. I didn’t enjoy my meal can I have my money back… (but you ate it all and complained after…)

Now I am not claiming that this is an incredible revelation that is going to change the world but maybe next time you are ready to yell at Jo Bloggs at the other end of the line…just remember you don’t have to act like a ass to get your own way, he only wants to help.

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