CSR Reveals His Most-Hated Customer Cliches

The other day we asked readers to vent about those cliched phrases they hate to hear from the mouths of customer service reps. And boy-howdy did you vent. Now it’s time to hear from someone who works in the trenches as a CSR about those tired tropes he’s sick of hearing customers utter over the phone.

The reader–let’s call him Jim– works at a call center for a credit union and wrote us to share a few of his least favorite customer statements:

1. “I have been with your bank for XX amount of time”
We know. We look at your account history.

2.“I will take my money elsewhere”
Go ahead, it really does not bother us. Honestly. You never do or if you do you will come back. Unless of course you are carrying a very hefty deposit.

3. “Last time you guys did this and that”
That was last time sir/ma’am. We look at everything on a case by case basis or just our mood.

4. “I have a close relationship with your CEO”
Chances are you do not, but if you feel inclined to say that, please provide some proof other than his name. We do not fall for that.

5. “I’ll Sue”
Boy we love to hear this. It almost makes the call worthwhile. We laugh all day at your expense, basically you make the mistake and try to blame us for it. Classic! We have a team of lawyers who we do pay a boatload of cash to make things go away. They are professionals, but try us.

More from Jim:

It’s not that we are not empathetic or sympathetic to your situation, sometimes this job does not allow for compassion as we are on a time constraint (i.e., We have a 3 to 4 minute talk time that we can spend with you; anymore time we spend and we are basically getting a reprimand at a later date or on our performance evaluations), so please excuse me for not making small talk and asking how the kids are doing.

I genuinely want to help but do not skirt around the issue be upfront and clear. When I ask you for your account number please do not reply with “oh man you know what I left that in my wallet in my pants after dinner last night and I was so tired this morning I forgot to bring my wallet with me”. You either have it or you don’t.

Next point: Do not get mad when I verify your information. It’s part of the process and I have no control over that. Do you want identity theft? No, guess what — we do not either, so we do this to try and salvage some of that.

Now when it comes to your issue or question please get to it. No need for a long backstory unless it really does have to deal with your problem.

Third, if I can solve it for you I will. I place you on hold just to update notes and sometimes clear with our supervisor especially if we are refunding fees for you.

The supervisor or manager is always available honestly. We choose to “see” if they are available if you are being too much of an annoyance or pain. You ever notice when you want to congratulate us one is always available and when you are being difficult (yelling or screaming) they are not?

Also, please and thank you go a long way…

To address that whole “my manager will tell you the same thing” is because they will. In general we are more compassionate than our managers who have been at the position for a longer time than we have been working and are jaded and spiteful. Your best solution is just to deal directly with a lowly Customer Service Rep. We still have compassion.

Simply put, when you are calling in do not make small time. I do not have the time and I am sure you do not either…

Ask for the solution you want; if we can accommodate you we will. If not we will try to find a middle ground. Third, the manager really is not a good option. Us bottom feeders are best. We are still human, and please extend the same courtesies we extend to you, it will make things smoother and easier and faster, so we can get you off the phone and on to the next poor sap.

What do you think of Jim’s comments? We’d especially love to hear from those of you who work or have worked in call centers.