Customer service bullies

I overheard a friend talking to a customer service rep on the phone. He briefly explained the problem he was experiencing and the rep responded. He went ballistic, raising his voice telling her that the solution she suggested was stupid and why. His voice got louder and his language more accusatory, sprinkled with cursing.

I had to leave the room.

When he was off the phone he asked why I left. I said I couldn’t stand to be around bullying. He said what she suggested was stupid and she deserved his vitriol.

Wow. I countered that she was just doing what she was trained to do and no one deserved being talked to that way.

“I’m doing her a favor,” he responded. “In fact, I’m providing them thousands of dollars of training on their idiotic ‘solutions.’ They need to learn that what they’re suggesting isn’t working.”

Most bullies justify their behavior under the guise of being helpful. However, the recipient isn’t grateful. In fact, they just think the bully is a jerk.

I pointed this out to him. “Learning happens when one is open to learning. She doesn’t think there is anything wrong with her suggestion as that’s what she’s been trained to say. All she thinks from your encounter is that you’re a jerk. If you wanted to voice your opinion about their suggestions, you’re wasting your breath with the rep. You need to connect to the manager and be able to express yourself professionally.”

He groused a bit but eventually came around.

He is usually conscious about his communication. He generally thinks about how to communicate in a way that gets the outcome he’d like. However, when he encounters something he deems stupid, he goes off the deep end quickly.

Are your reps trained in how to deal with folks who respond angrily when they don’t hear what they want?

And when you’re the customer, think through how you are reacting and work to keep your frustrations in check. No one deserves your vileness for doing what they were trained to do.

Calming Upset Customers Fourth Edition

For more information on dealing with angry customers, get the new edition of Calming Upset Customers.