Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Customer Service

This has been triggered by Liz's post today. It's about people who are supposed to be polite and helpful when you talk to them on the telephone, namely customer 'service'.

Liz's problem was with a doctor's receptionist who unfortunately have a reputation for being rude and abasive. Before I offend any innocent doctor's receptionists who may come across this literary work of art by accident, let me say that there are probably many out there who are cheerful, kind and helpful. I've just never met them. My theory is that people who work on the fringe of the medical profession are know-alls who think that they are a cut above the rest of us.

My problem this week has been having to telephone various organisations (e.g. insurance and utility companies and banks) to advise them of the death of my mother-in-law and arrange whatever has to be done next. In the circumstances, on the whole nearly everyone I've spoken to has been insenitive and bordering on the insolent. One pimply youth (at least that's what he sounded like) insisted that he could speak only to the account holder of his poxy telephone service because of the freedom of information act and all I'd asked him for was an address to write to.

It appears to me that all of these people shouldn't be doing the job if they don't like talking to others and trying to help them. You are usually told on the recorded message that precedes your conversation that 'all calls are recorded, etc' so why is it that no action is taken to train staff to be POLITE. I know that it is not easy dealing with the general public sometimes and therefore working life can be frustrating and difficult at times but I'm always polite to them so I wish they'd return the favour.

Rant over.


jomoore said...

I used to work in customer service. And, in my experience, the more polite you are to your customer, the easier your life is, so I just don't understand why so many customer service people are so grumpy.

I've had to make a couple of complaining phone calls recently and my anger was completely de-fused by the polite call centre people. One of them couldn't even solve my problem, but the fact that they were polite and understanding, and explained the problem without being patronising, so it was OK.

chux said...

My worst esperience with doctors receptionists was when I first moved into Addlestone from Dorking.

My local GP 'Dr Bramwell' from the Holmwood village surgery, didnt have a receptionist but he would come out himself to see who had arrived. This guy had known me from infancy and was more like a father figure to me. (I went and visited him especially to say goodbye after I moved out of the area and got married)

Now Addlestone and the 'Crouch Oak Family Clinic', now that was a rude awakening if ever there was one!! If you phoned up for an appointment they did everything to stop you. If you said it was an emergency they would ask what it was and why. Sometimes they even told you to go to A&E at St Peters for tyhings that were not relevant to a hospital!!! (a classic was, if your not willing to go to A&E then you cant be bad enough to need to see your GP) When you arrive you have rude people at the desk (i lie 1 lady was lovely out of the 6 I recall) treated you in a manner that said 'how dare you be sick'.

Anyway i've moved to Chertsey since then and my local clinic is much nicer 'in comparison'.

In general though, we do seem to have a bumper crop of unfriendly people doing customer service roles today. I would have thought an essential quality would be to actually like people in the first place, wouldnt you? Being in the IT Service industry (sort of)I have noticed more and more is that companys are looking to accomplish quantity over quality. In that case they will always prefer efficious people over friendly ones who chat too much.

you have touched on a subject that i cant help myself but rant about furiously. Sorry

:) chux (p.s any typos etc will have to stay there as I cant be bothered to reread all that)

PT said...

Just don't get me started!

Liz said...

And the hting about doctor's receptionists is that the people they have to deal with ill and quite possibly anxious and scared.

And then, of course, you've got the doctors themselves, and some of those make you think they don't like people in general and their patients in particular.