Sunday, March 18, 2012

Keeping your calm with customers

Hello retail workers!

No wait, not just retail workers. Anyone who is currently working or has worked with customers in the past, or in a "customer service" type of job within a company (like a helpdesk for the company or something).

Well, I decided to think back on it for a while, and I just realized something : I have rarely had any real "bad" encounters with customers. Oh, sure, when I worked for Disney one day one guest made me cry, but I had started something like a month earlier and I was still over sensitive. Now ? Pssht. Try me.

I now work on the phone. Customer service. Not too bad, I mean I am very comfortable, the workspace is pretty nicely organized, and, well, you know, it's work :P . Besides, for some reason, I really really REALLY enjoy helping people one way or another, so despite having bad days, I'm quite happy in general.

But as in all kinds of customer service jobs, you sometimes get the very annoying people. Those who think answering them with an unpleasant answer means it's the wrong one. Those who think one person equals the whole company and lashes out for no reason. Those who insist you can do something when you can't. And if you get those one after the other, it's quite easy to be a nervous wreck at the end of the day!

Yet this new job has taught me the art of being zen. Customer yelling at me because he thinks I think he's an idiot ? Check. Customer insisting we tried to screw her out of money by doing X when she was the one who made the mistake ? Check. Customer insisting I am working from the offshore location when I'm working from the country the company is from ? Check. You get the drift.

I've seen some coworkers struggle with that, because when you are direct and to the point, sometimes you just get angry (even if only from inside) at what a customer is telling you, even if deep down inside you know they're angry at the company, not you. So your nerves crumble down and BAM sometimes you somewhat explode.

Me ? Nah. I just sigh once, maybe twice, smile at my screen like an idiot, sometimes look to my coworkers on the left for "moral support" and lift my shoulders, and just explain, very calmly, what I'm saying and why I'm saying it.

The result ? Customer yelling at me because he thought I was calling him an idiot managed to log on to our website. Customer thinking we were screwing her out of money understood and not only let me resolve her problem BUT also apologized. Customer insisting I am working from offshore hung up on me after 8 minutes of complaining (in my pre-Disney days, dude could have stayed on the line for 30 minutes ranting, destroying my work stats for the day). And so on.

I used to have a hard time managing my nerves. Now it's much easier and I have a clear conscience, even though sometimes I still cringe inside. I guess it's also the work experience talking, even though I haven't been working here for years. Maybe it's the life experience too, I don't know.

But one thing is sure : my work persona is completely different from my real-life persona. Wait, my on-the-phone-at-work persona is different, because my coworkers seem to think I'm slightly nuts, with good reason ;) ... but now we know being a little nuts is quite useful :) .

Post completed on March 18th, 2012 around 9:35 PM.

How to fail at international travel

Yeah, that's me. Here's how you can look like an idiot when you're supposed to travel abroad.

1) Get up, look at account. Go "Whee! I can go!"
2) Look at work schedule. Ask boss. Get approval.
3) Call your Mom and ask if you can take your sister.
4) Realize things are bloody expensive and ten days in advance is not enough to take your sister.
5) Buy train ticket and book hotel anyway, annoying your sister.
6) Wait until the day before to plan your suitcase (heh, it was only four days and at least, I'd done the necessary laundry) .
7) Realize you lost your ID and cannot go.

Oh. Woops.

I went to bed at 2:40 AM or something that day, woke up at 5:20 AM in hopes of finding it, but nope.

As a result, I had to go to the police station to report the loss. The insurance policy said "theft" but it ended up as "loss" on the paperwork because the nice policeman said, basically, that lost = one paper, one signature, one stamp. "Theft" , on the other hand, meant a huge wait because I would have had to... huh... oh shoot I can't remember the words, but you know when you sue someone or report a crime against you or something ? Yeah, that phrase. I think.

So I just thought his advice was interesting, since filing a claim would do nothing except lose time (no one stole anything "monetary" so it would have been pointless).

The hotel has accepted to "transfer" the amount of my reservation. The insurance might reimburse me for part of the ticket. So, not all hope is lost, but I really feel like an idiot right now!

TL;DR : If you have an ID and a passport, DO NOT LET THEM EXPIRE without renewing and, most important, KEEP THEM CLOSE AND DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THEM.

There :p .