I’ve written a lot about the importance of training employees to offer excellent customer service. But a civil society should also include people who don’t treat customer service reps, servers, and other workers like dirt.
Last week a journalist was mocked on Twitter after he used his verified account to berate an airline employee after his flight was delayed. I can understand his frustration, but his tone was rude and entitled. A customer service rep responded to his complaints via Twitter, and appeared to be suitably apologetic and eager to make things right. The man was offered several thousand airline miles and a small monetary stipend, but he said that wasn’t enough; his weekend had been ruined. (It was a domestic flight on a Thursday, but fine.)
The man threatened to switch airlines and was very hostile in all of his tweets to this rep, who, frankly, wasn’t responsible for the mechanical failure that delayed the plane. The man also didn’t seem to consider that dozens of other people were affected by delays, but he was seeking special treatment.
The man’s followers took notice and scolded him for acting abusive to an employee who was just doing their job. I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat service workers. It’s understandable to get frustrated and upset when something goes wrong, but taking it out on others is rarely productive. The best approach is to remain calm, point out the facts, and be as civil as possible. If the person you’re speaking with can’t help you, ask for a supervisor.
It’s not that we should accept bad service. It’s that we shouldn’t overact or become lesser versions of ourselves when we feel shortchanged. You can be firm without being nasty.