Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Customer Service Burnout

I think that might be what I have starting. I've been in customer service, in some form or another for the better part of twenty one years. Do anything that long and a toll will build up, physically and/or mentally.
In my case at the moment, things are getting on my nerves more than they used to. I always smile and I'm always polite and interactive with guests, and when making or receiving phone calls, I have an amazing phone voice, but I'm feeling worn. Especially on phone calls.

Now this isn't for every aspect of customer service and doesn't apply to everything about my job. I'm not saying that all the social niceties and politeness are bugging me or should not be used. I'm not saying to be an asshole, not at all. You can be a nice person and love your job and be happy and enthusiastic and those are all good things. If more people were just nicer to each other on a daily basis, the world would be a better place. But that's a different rant for a different time.

It's just one in particular is getting my goat and is, in my opinion at least in so far as taking phone calls goes, totally and absolutely useless.

What's really bugging me, what's sticking in my craw, what's the rock in my shoe that I just can't get out is hearing "how are you doing?/how's it going?"

Let me explain.

I get a phone call and do my opening; "Thank you for calling *redacted* my name is Steve, how can I help you?" From that point I expect only a few questions in return;

1. "Can I make a reservation?"

2. "Can I check on a reservation?"

3. "Can I get a ride from the airport?"

4. "Can I get a wake up call for (x) time?"

There are others of course, but that's the top four inquiries overnight. Simple and to the point, or it should be. Instead I hear "how are you doing?/how's it going?"

This little social nicety bugs the shit out of me, probably more than it should, mostly because the person on the other end doesn't actually care or need to know for this conversation to proceed. Personally, and it's my blog so I can vent personal opinions here, I find that question from a stranger more useless and annoying than someone talking about the weather, especially on the phone.

Hell they don't know what I'm going to answer. Mostly, all they want is to get from the airport to the hotel but by asking "how are you doing?/how's it going?" they've opened themselves up to a world of possibilities. I could answer the typical "I'm fine" or I could say "I just got word my dog was run over" *note I do not own a dog, this is purely an example.

Where does the person on the phone go from there? What can they say? What can they do? Nothing really. So instead of blissfully waiting for a ride, they're now feeling awkward as hell because I've answered a question they didn't need to ask in the first place.

I generally skip over it now, if I'm asked how I'm doing, I repeat; "how can I help you." and things move forward. Only once has someone gone back over that.

"Thank you for calling *redacted* my name is Steve, how can I help you?"
"How are you doing?"
"How can I help you?"
"I'd like to book a room, also *icy voice shift* I asked how are you doing?"

That surprised me, that the person not only expected an answer but made it known in their tone that they were unhappy I didn't answer. So I told this person "I'm tired." Their answer? "Oh, well I'd like to book a room."

You just wasted my time and yours, insisting on asking something you don't care about to get an answer you weren't prepared for and now need to move on to the actual reason you called. Bravo.

Again, I'm not saying abandon everything and behave like pricks, I'm saying that to me, there is a time and a place for certain interactions. It's absolutely possible to book a room, get a wake up call, get a ride from the airport, and still have a nice, polite and positive interaction, without asking a frivolous question in the process.

Maybe I'm just nuts.
Maybe I am nitpicking too much.
Maybe I need a vacation.
Maybe I'm rambling.
Maybe I'm out in left field.
Maybe I'm tired.
Maybe I'm wrong.
But just maybe, I'm right.

Either way, thanks for reading. I've now wasted everyone's time, but I had to get that out of my head.

No comments: