Rather than rate the best customer service companies in the industry, I thought I would turn the tables a little bit on customers. Most people tend to think of themselves as great customers, and while most of those people are right, there are many that are not. To say it bluntly, there are a lot of arses out there.
This list hits home for me, having tackled Customer Service in various forms over my career. While this is my top list of customer types I dislike, there are many more types that can drive anyone crazy.
Those of you out there who have been in Food Service or been a full-time CSR, please add to the list!
Now, before we go on, its important to note that I take Customer Service very seriously. In my day job, we didn’t build a reputation for superior service and support by being arses ourselves. On the contrary, we try hard to listen and always exceed expectations. In all the cases we can, we go above and beyond all policies to make someone happy.
But, if you are one of the below, know you are ticking off the person trying to help you.
- The Yeller
- We all know this guy. The one who thinks that by yelling and screaming they will be able to bludgeon a CSR or company into getting exactly what they want. Nope. The moment you start yelling is the moment we start tuning you out.
- Pro tip: Its okay to be upset. Be polite and assertive, not an ass, and its amazing what stops a CSR can pull to get you squared away.
- The Multiple Individual Questioner
- We get it, not everyone knows how to search Google or understands the deep technical information that can characterize a specification, but pinging with multiple questions, one… after… another… is bound to tick off a CSR. We want to help you, but at the point in time our time is not respected, don’t expect long or detailed answers.
- Pro tip: Get all your questions lined up and ask them at once. It helps companies be efficient and often get you detailed special attention as we all love talking about guns!
- The Ask About Other People’s Products
- Kudos to you on doing your market research, but its not our job nor our desire to speak about others’ products. Unless its publicly technical information that we can easily compare, CSRs dare not make personal opinions on various products unless it is effuse with praise. Why? Most companies make good stuff.
- Pro tip: Ask about publicly available specifications we can compare to. For personal opinions, hit up forums where you will find plenty of them.
- The Know-It-All
- Chances are the CSR knows much more than you about guns and the products you are speaking on. We have been living and breathing it since it was first discussed by Engineering and knew it by heart prior to it shipping. Stop trying to feed us knowledge, as you are likely wrong.
- Pro tip: If you are wanting to discuss detailed technical information, e-mails are best as often engineers are used to write responses. But, know that a lot of technical information is often considered proprietary.
- The Unreasonable Demander
- CSRs are trained and want to assist with your needs, but the unreasonable Demander is one of the worst. Often coupled with other attributes on this list, the Demander feels grievously injured by some small issue and go out of their way to make the company go out of their way. Often, the Demander puts requirements on companies for issues that were the Demander’s or a third-party’s fault. For example, they demand next-day air shipping after a ground shipment was held up due to a shipping company issue.
- Pro tip: Companies will typically make an issue right. Give them the chance. Ask for the service, don’t demand it, and often the company can meet you most or all of the way.
- The Swears its Broken but Won’t let Us Fix It Guy (Or the “Give me Free Stuff” Guy)
- Sometimes undistinguishable from the Demander, these are the bane of a gun company’s existence. The Broken guy is the one that will call (or e-mail) about “my XYZ is broken and its a piece of excrement…” When the company offers to take a look at it (and pay shipping both ways), they immediately demand replacements in advance, or extra goodies to “make up for their troubles”. When the company insists on seeing the issue in-person, they go berserk doubling-down on the charade.
- Pro tip: When a firearm or part breaks, especially if it is a novel malfunction, let the company get it back. They will fix it and it helps them make the product even better. Its OK to insist on the company paying for shipping both ways, but asking for overnight shipping to and from Alaska is pushing it…
- The Swearing Guy
- Unless one was a Drill Instructor and can weave cursing into a beautiful litany of syllables, we don’t want to hear your mastery of The Dark Side of English. In fact, we don’t deserve to hear it, not matter how angry you are.
- Pro Tip: Give unto others and they will give unto you. In many companies, if you start swearing, policy allows them to hang up on you.
- The “I want to Speak to Someone In-Charge” Guy
- Typically, most CSRs have the power to grant you all the things you are asking for. Immediately asking for a supervisor without giving the original rep a chance is just plain rude. Often, the CSR who picks up the phone is the supervisor.
- Pro-Tip: Give the CSR a chance. Only ask for a supervisor if you hear “I need authorization” or similar and its not granted.
- The Spread Bad Reputation Guy
- Everyone has a right to air their opinion anytime, but this guy wants to use the opinion as a weapon. This guy leaps to the “I’m a big deal on XYZ forum and I am going to speak badly about your company and how badly you treated me”. CSRs try to treat everyone with the same respect and service. Ay Carumba… Most of the time, the Rep Guy is the one in the wrong and treating the company like garbage. Don’t worry, we saved that recorded call and e-mails…
- Pro-Tip: Rather than lead with a stick, use the carrot and offer to say good things about the company’s service.
- The “Recency Effect” Guy
- Its a weird phenomenon, but people tend to assume that the part that arrived last when attempting to build a weapon is the part that is bad. It doesn’t matter that the bolt carrier or bolt is a cheapy, but since it arrived first and it looked to be good, the barrel they just bought is “out of spec”. Typically this person has no idea why they are having an issue and immediately want a replacement. This is compounded when their “gunsmith” (typically the buddy who has tools to build an AR) says its the specific part and “that he’s never had a problem before.”
- Pro-Tip: Listen and help the CSR troubleshoot the weapon system. With basic tests and tools, they can often zero-in on the problem and help you get it fixed, even if its not our part or fault. We can save you lots of time and headaches.