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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Customer Service

I know I blow off steam here from time to time about things that happen at work, but at the end of the day, I know customer service is part of my job. Even when I'm being asked the same question for the millionth time or someone is trying to trick me into installing software I know they aren't supposed to have, I try my hardest to always be polite. Maybe I don't always succeed, but I've yet to get a complaint, so I must be doing something right.

I also always try to approach any situation where I am a receiver of customer service as gentle as possible. I know what it's like to be on the other side of the counter. I've worked retail and I try to be as friendly and make things as easy as possible for anyone helping me out.

That's why it really makes me angry when I get poor service. It's not that I expect to be treated like king of the universe when I go out and I try my hardest not to make unreasonable demands. I'd just don't like being treated like I'm inconveniencing someone who is being paid to serve me, that's all.

This morning, for instance, I went to the post office. Now, I'll admit, I had a rather large stack of packages to send, but everything was ready to go, I just needed postage. And I tried to plan a time and a post office I knew wouldn't be busy. I honestly did everything in my power to make things as smooth as possible. It's just I had a lot of stuff that needed to go out today.

It seems though, I totally ruined the morning of the lady who assisted me. She grumbled, shook her head, slammed my packages around, gave me dagger eyes and was everything short of out right hostile to me. Yes, I had a lot of mail, but I'm not sure how helping me multiple times was that much different than helping numerous customers a single time. And when I asked her about on-line services that could potentially avoid a situation like this in the future, all she did was spit an "I don't know" at me, without even bothering to point me in the direction of someone or something that could answer my question.

During the course of my transaction, someone else came in wanting to buy a money order with a $100 bill. While another person was helping her, my lady hissed at her that she should be glad she wasn't in her line as she would have refused to take a $100 bill this early in the day. I'm no expert, but I'm not sure where in the postal code it says they have that as an option, seeing as how they did have change around (and the guy doing that transaction was completely pleasant about making change for her.) It was just a little inconvenient for the folks on the working side of the counter.

The whole thing just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Gee, sorry lady, I inconvenienced you by making you do your job. I'm guessing they must not get much traffic at all early in the morning and I must have cut into her standing around, doing nothing time. Boo-hoo. Maybe if you'd answered my question about buying postage on-line (or even lifted a finger to find someone else who could,) we'd never have to see each other again and you could go back to staring out the window or whatever it was you were planning on doing when I showed up.

Sorry if your job sucks, but that's not my problem. You're getting paid to provide customer service and if you don't like it, maybe you should find a new job. There's only one post office. I don't have a choice about where I can go to buy first class postage. You do have a choice about where you can work.

Anyway, the only reason this even stuck out is, believe it or not, I usually have a pleasant experience at the post office. Not that it's my favorite place to go, but the people there are almost always friendly, helpful and efficient. I wasn't at my usual post office today, so maybe that's the problem. It seems like every time I'm in this branch someone behind the counter had a bad attitude.

I guess that's a lesson to me, don't take your mail to that post office. Really though, I wish the postal service just had a way to buy first class postage on-line. Pleasant or not, I'd rather avoid the post office altogether if I could.

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