Don’t be a Jerk: This, and my other 5 Don’ts in how to deal with customer support.

I haven’t really gone into my line of work at all on this blog, and it’s for a reason.

I hate it.

I mean, I love my coworkers, my boss, and for a college dropout, I make enough money to get by… But for the past 5 years, I’ve been cussed at, screamed at, cried at, and verbally abused over the phone….. all for trying to help people with their issues.

This post will ultimately serve two purposes: to give myself an opportunity to vent, and to teach those of you who are working with customer service how to get what you need without gettin’ scrappy.


Rule #1: Don’t be a Mush-Mouth.

I don’t care if in a normal conversation, you are either barely audible or can break the sound barrier. On the phone, for someone to be able to hear you, you need to speak at a normal decibel level, and speak clearly and relatively slowly.

There are so many people I talk to on a regular basis who are talking just fast enough for you to understand them, but not slow enough that there’s a lull in conversation. How am I supposed to help you if you won’t give me the opportunity to do so? Then, when they decide they’re done talking, you hear, “HELLOOOOOO? Is anybody THERE?!”

“Uhhh…. Mubish Moubith? With a ‘b’ or a ‘d’?”

Yes, person, I am here. I have manners, and don’t want to interrupt you. That’s what polite human beings do; they wait their turn. If you would’ve given me an opportunity during your monologue on how horrible tech support is to talk to you, I might have resolved your issue already, and you wouldn’t have to be on the phone with me any longer.

Oh, and don’t be mean to people from India. I have heard so many Indians speak with complete clarity, and waaaaay more Americans who have no sense of how to speak to another human on the phone.

(P.P.S: Don’t call tech support/phone support while you’re on speaker phone. You won’t be able to understand us, and there’s NO way we’ll be able to understand you.)

Rule #2: Don’t get nasty.

 Here’s a list of things I have never done to you:

-Pushed you into a puddle of mud.
-Snagged your cab.
-Cut in your line.
-Punched your face.
-Made your kid cry.
-Stole your lunch money.

Why are you so MEAN? What have I done to you in your lifetime besides attempt to assist you? Dude. Seriously. Quit being so mean to people who are just trying to help you, and make a living doing so.

I’m pretty well convinced that people who do this know that the person on the other side of the line can’t defend themselves, and need to feel powerful; they had a crappy day, so they want to make someone else feel crappy without any consequences.


Bad juju, mang. What goes around comes around. And what you do to someone who is essentially defenseless speaks volumes about your character.

Rule #3: Don’t make it personal.

I have lost count of how many people make their computer/tech/application issues into something I personally did as a vendetta against them.


Caller: “I logged into the application today, and EVERYTHING is different! YOU changed it   overnight without telling me!!!!!”

This Moi: “No, sir, there were no system changes last night.”

Caller: “Don’t get that attitude with ME! I KNOW what I’m doing. Why did YOU change it?!”

“I need a break.”

I personally have very little to do with anything besides picking up the phone when it rings, and helping you with the basics. I highly doubt that I personally sneaked into the back end of the application last night, and wrote a bunch of new code…. JUST to screw up your day. Please stop blaming me for your lack of understanding.

Or…. try something new and inventive…. ASK FOR HELP.

Rule #4: Don’t make your lack of preparation into my emergency.

Oh, the classic story of procrastination.

Someone has to have something done at some sort of deadline, and they’ve waited until the last minute to complete it. Naturally, as Murphy’s Law has shown us time and again, what could go wrong, DOES go wrong.

That’s why SMART people get things done with plenty of time to spare.

So when Murphy’s Law takes action, it’s suddenly MY fault.

“I HAVE to get this done by the end of the day, and the website is not WORKING! Are you going to fix it? Tell me when it’s going to be done, because this is an EMERGENCY.”

What this person will be doing 5 minutes after this phone call.

Really? An EMERGENCY?! I’d hate to think of your “emergency” going up against a TRUE emergency, and your issue getting dealt with long before theirs because you said so.

Can I teach you something today? Emergency ≠ Inconvenience, just like Building Explosion ≠ Getting a 1st Degree burn.

I wish I could give each caller four opportunities for an “emergency” for the duration of their employment. They would be much more picky about when they throw out that word.

And lastly…..

Rule # 5: Don’t get emotional.

There was once a woman who couldn’t view her personal medical results in an application I dealt with. This was because her doctors at her clinic hadn’t uploaded them yet.

She screamed. She cussed. She called me a “Good Little Nazi”, doing whatever the “system” told me to do.

And then she burst into tears, and hung up the phone.

I totally understand her being upset, particularly if they were the results of a serious nature. I am a sympathetic individual, and I will put up with a lot.  But hearing a grown woman OR man(which is significantly weirder…. coming from experience….) cry over the phone is the single most awkward situation in which I’ve ever found myself.

That’s only because I’ve never tried *this* before.

Please, for all parties involved…. don’t cry into the phone, unless it’s your relative, your best friend, or your psychic. Both you AND I will feel awkward afterwards, and it won’t help me to resolve your issue any faster. However, it WILL increase the chances of me sitting there, uncomfortably silent, waiting for you to blow your nose and get it together.

But the worst is when people get “emotional”…. and swing the other direction.

Cynicism, name-calling, fury, sadness, despair…. they are all ways to make the person on the other line feel horrible. When someone goes off on a tangent regarding deep emotional issues, there’s only one thing to do: sit there, uncomfortably silent, waiting for you to get it together.

So whether or not you decide to be angry, sad, furious, or you’re just a sociopath, please remember that I’m trying to remain a professional on the other line. I’m NOT your bff, your counselor, or your psychic…. I’m here to help you with your computer. Please don’t make this weird for the both of us.


So! You are now well equipped to call tech support. Congratulations! And please…. at least be nice to whoever is on the line when you call. They probably have taken a dump truckload of crap already today; they def don’t need it from someone else.

6 thoughts on “Don’t be a Jerk: This, and my other 5 Don’ts in how to deal with customer support.

  1. queenelizabethi says:

    I work at a dog daycare and my boss is a professional dog trainer. While our business wouldn’t be categorized as customer service, it is certainly oriented towards serving customers. I have experienced everything on your list, along with a lot more. It always baffles me how many people don’t listen, or only hear what they want to hear. I wish I had a way to tell at the beginning of a conversation if they’re going to be the type of person who only wants to hear my opinion if it’s the same as their predetermined opinion, it would save me a lot of time. I feel like I’m pretty nice to customer service reps when I have to call places, I know they get a lot of shit from irrational people. So, good on ya for being a CSR; I appreciate it 🙂

  2. This is also the part I hate about the job. I have become a ninja of sorts when it comes to these things. I’ve trained myself to always keep an upwards-inflecting tone, slowly but firmly sigh when frustrated so virtually no noise is heard, and basically mime any freakouts I might have when dealing with an especially frustrating user. I also assure the user if they catch on to any of this that it isn’t them that’s frustrating me, it’s a piece of software that isn’t behaving (even if it obviously them). I’ve had calls where users have left me absolutely furious and, at the end of the call, they thank me for being so patient with them. If only they knew the truth, lol.

    • I’m the same way. Only the Northeasterners we support get downright NASTY.

      The West-coasters we used to talk to were a friggin’ breeze in comparison. These ones berate you, call you names, cuss as much as possible…. in my four years, I’ve never dealt with such bullies. But they usually love me by the end of the phone call, because I sound like a Kindergarten teacher on the phone, so there’s that 🙂

  3. Oh MAN.
    I was in Customer Service for yeeears, no wonder we got put together by the Twitterverse.

    Let’s add in: Don’t expect others to know, accept, and factor in that you refuse to do something. For example, “You didn’t TELL me ____ when I bought this!” “Sir, it’s in the Terms of Use, we asked you to read them before buying from us.” “NO ONE READS THOSE!”
    “Ya’ll never fixed ______ in my file! It’s been wrong for MONTHS!” “I’m so sorry, when did you submit the original request?” “Well I didn’t SEND you a request but you should KNOW to check in with people from time to time! I’m very busy!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s