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Customer Service Challenges

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    Telephone customers- service representatives have a tough time these days. With automated telephone system that creates a labyrinth for customers, results in long hold times, and makes it difficult for them to speak to an actual human being, a customer’s frustration often settles in before the representative has had time to say “hello”. Says Donna Earl, an owner of a customer service consulting firm in San Francisco, “By the time you get to the person you need to talk to you’re mad. ” Erin Calabrese knows all too well just how made customers can get.

    A customer’s service representative at a financial service company, she still vividly recalls one of her worst experiences with a customer named Jane. Jane called Calabrese over some charges on her credit card and began “ranting and raving”. Your #% #% companies who do you think you are? Yelled Jane. Though Calabrese tried to console the irate customer by offering a refund, Jane only called Calabrese an “idiot”. The heated conversation continued for almost 10 minutes before Calabrese shaking handed the phone to her supervisor and left her desk.

    Sometimes customer can be downright racist. One customer service representative finally quit her job at a New Jersey company because she constantly heard racial remarks from customer offer, she contends, they heard her Spanish accent. By the time you leave, your head is spinning with all the complaints, she said. Unfortunately, these employees have little choice but to take the abuse. Many companies require customer service employees to display positive emotions at all times to maintain satisfied customers.

    But the result could be an emotional nightmare that doesn’t necessarily end once the calls stop. Calabrese stated that she wound frequently take her negative emotions home. The day after she received the abusive call from Jane, Calabrese went home and started a fight with her roommate. It was an all out battle recalls Calabrese, I just blew up. The former customer service representative who worked in New Jersey also recalls the effect of the abusive calls on her family; my children would say “Mom” stop talking about your work you’re home.

    My husband would say the same thing she said. Emma parsons who quit her job as a customer service representative for the travel industry, was frustrated by the inability to do anything about abusive customers and the mood they’d put her in. some times you’d finish a call and you’d want to smash somebody’s face. I had no escape, no way of releasing. She said that if she did retaliate toward an abusive customer, her boss would punish her. Some companies train their representative to defuse a customer’s anger and to avoid taking abuse personally but the effort isn’t enough.

    Liz Aherarn of Radclyffe Group, a consulting firm in Lincoln Park, New Jersey says customer service employee who work the phones are absent more frequently, are more prone to illness and are more likely to make stress related disability claims than other employees. Thus it is apparent that in the world of customer service particularly when interactions take place over the phone emotions can run high and the effect can be damaging. Although the adage the customer comes first has been heard by many companies should empower employees to decide when it is appropriate to put the customer second.

    Otherwise employees are forced to deal with abusive customers the effects of which can be detrimental to both the individual and the company. Q1: From an emotional labor perspective how does dealing with an abusive customer lead to stress and burnout? Q2: If you were a recruiter for a customer service call centre what personality types would you prefer to hire and why? In other words what individual differences are likely to affect whether an employee can handle customer abuse on a day to day basis?

    Q3: Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to detect and manage emotional cues and information. How might emotional intelligence play a role in responding to abusive customers? What facets of emotional intelligence might employees who are able to handle abusive customers possess? Q4: What steps should companies take to ensure that their employees are not victim of customer abuses? Should company allow a certain degree of abuse if that abuse results in satisfied customer and perhaps greater profit? W hat are ethical implications of this?

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    Customer Service Challenges. (2016, Dec 21). Retrieved from

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