Dear Customers: Stop Making My Call-Center Employees Cry

This week, we heard from a reader who we’ll call Mr. X. He works in marketing, and handles escalated customer service issues. He’s the guy you talk to when things go horribly, horribly wrong. He listens to your phone calls, and decides whether you should receive bill credits and other nice things. Mr. X has some very important advice for the customer service ninjas of Consumerist: please stop being jerks to front-line employees.

Part of my job as the marketing manager at a leading service supplier
is to handle escalated issues. These bubble up to me after a customer
talks to a customer service representative and at least one
supervisor. I have the discretion to offer bill credits for the amount
in dispute plus up to $100 as a good-faith gesture.

Before contacting a customer or determining the amount to credit, I
listen to the calls between the customer and rep or supervisor. I’m
sorry to say that compared to last year I have heard more customers
curse and yell at representatives this year, sometimes driving reps to
tears. While our company sometimes makes mistakes, that does not give
customers the right to treat company representatives like dirt.

If I believe we made a mistake and the customer was respectful in
questioning the error, I will apologize, offer to correct the bill and
some additional bill credits. If we did not make a mistake, I may
offer good-faith bill credits while explaining the issue to a
customer. However, if the customer was rude, I will not offer
good-faith bill credits regardless of who was at fault. (I will
correct a billing error, but do nothing more.)

The messages I want to share with fellow Consumerist readers are: 1)
Be respectful of the people who call on the phone – they may work
for a corporation, but they are human. 2) If you can’t say it on
broadcast TV, don’t say it to a rep. 3) You catch more flies with

We’d like to think that all Consumerist readers know better than to verbally abuse innocent call center employees, but human nature dictates otherwise. Just please remember the words of Mr. X. Being a jerk might cost you money.