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Sometimes, Customers Can Be Really Annoying

But, you have a choice in how you respond.

I’m writing this to you today because customers can be really annoying.

In fact, I’m working with a customer right now that is totally pissing me off.

They are not listening to anything I say.

They are not taking my suggestions on how to fix their issue.

They are not watching the tutorial video I took extra time to make special just for them to show how to make this update.

They also keep typing in ALL CAPS and I’m about to LOSE MY MIND.

I know we’re supposed to always love our customers. They pay our bills. They keep the lights on. We’re supposed to focus on the customer experience and make sure our customers have the most incredible journey at all times. We’re the business that stands apart from the crowd when it comes to customer service. We always keep our cool when a customer is raging in our face or through email.

Where my mind is right now: Would I get in trouble if I sent multiple poop emojis to this customer in my email reply to give them a hint about what I think of them?

Let’s be real – customer service ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. We can read blogs and books all day about how to give great customer service, we can be at the top of our EQ game and we can be the fastest at responding to an angry Tweet…but we’re still going to have sucky days. We’re not always going to have the most positive of thoughts about our customers. And, not all customer interactions are going to be as smooth as butter.

I’ll admit…

  1. I’ve been the annoying customer for someone and they had to deal with my confusion.
  2. It’s not the customer’s fault that I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I’m a total grump today.

Ugh.

The things I have to admit. But they are true. And, I’m fully aware and take ownership of the above two statements. Even on days when I’d rather be hiding away from the world, curled up in bed.

During this ALL CAPS customer interaction, I started to get short with my replies. I didn’t call the customer a name nor was I rude to them, but my tone shifted. I wasn’t 100% present. I basically started to tune out because my mind was saying, “You’re going to lose it, girl, if you don’t back away.” The cortisol levels were rising. My jaw was tense. I was tapping my foot like a maniac.

Then, I took a deep breath and looked out the window. Tiny bits of blue sky peered out from behind the fluffy clouds on this rainy day in Southern California. I remind myself that the customer on the other side of this chat support is someone’s family member. Someone’s friend. That person works somewhere and they have to deal with customers, too. They have to work to put food on their table.

They may not be the nicest of people to deal with, but we all have our moments. Perhaps they also didn’t get enough sleep last night and are grumpy today, too. Just remember, there’s more to their story on the other side just as there is more to your story.

So, if this rant post leaves you with anything – remember:

This interaction is what is happening right now – it won’t happen forever. It will pass. It will be history. And, there will be other customers to work with that have accidentally (or on purpose, who knows) turned on their caps lock. Step in their shoes and remember they have a life outside of your interaction, too.

And, you always have a choice in how you react, even to really annoying customers. 

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