I have a friend who recently acquired a customer service job. The things she tells me about the customers who call in and how they speak to her, is just astounding, hence the recent jokes I’ve been posting on Twitter. And no, they aren’t exaggerated at all since most of y’all know my sarcastic twang to exaggerate things.
While the company itself is an awful corporation, the customers who call in aren’t any better themselves. Phone calls range from people crying to people yelling and cursing as if their misbehavior on the phone is supposed to scare you into making things happen.
Sadly, the job has these customer service reps hands tied because they can only do so much.
In a “normal” corporate world, when an assistant needed to connect with someone outside her team organization within the company, it was customary to connect via email or a phone call to let them know a customer was in need of assistance.
Not at this job.
Apparently, their unrealistic policies are set up to accuse an employee of “coaching”. When I asked my friend what did that mean, it was what I explained up above. Emailing someone within the organization was forbidden and considered coaching. I’m like okay I’m a bit confused. Coaching is when you’re assisting someone if they need help in an area of their lives to improve.
I think we are all clear on the meaning of coaching. It’s not a bad thing. But within this disorganization, it is.
Not every day goes by where there are relentless customers screaming their asses off, but understandably so when someone has been calling week after week waiting on a service that needs to be completed and all they get is someone on the other end on the phone reading notes because they can’t do much of anything else. Bad for the rep, bad for the customer.
So, I decided to do some research on this company, which we will keep anonymous for obvious reasons.
The company was founded around the 1990s and soon thereafter began merging with smaller companies becoming a conglomerate for certain cities and even monopolizing large counties, giving customers no choice but to use their services. A few years later they became a traded company. While nothing wrong with becoming a traded company, the person at the head of the corporation, which would be the CEO along with everyone else on top, almost 99% of the time aren’t thinking about their customers and the employees who are the real runners of the company, they are solely looking at numbers and how it would benefit their pockets.
Once my friend told me about what was going on, I already can see a variety of problems.
First let’s look at the monopolization of smaller companies. Corporations thrive on being bigger and better. But, as a corporation when you want to acquire another company, what are the benefits for both the company and the company being acquired. A bigger company doesn’t waltz in to the smaller company and say we are taking over and throw everyone out. However, bigger store chain companies can easily shift the smaller mom and pop shop out. When these types of company’s storm in, not only are they offering better pricing, but exclusive coupons, deals and sales where a mom-and-pop shops may not offer. That’s not to say smaller companies don’t benefit from acquired by a bigger company, it all depends.
Let’s use a fictitious consulting firm as an example.
Susie started a small consulting firm. Her customer base are small mom and pop companies like flower shops, unique eatery places, and e-commerce businesses. Sometimes she works special projects out of her business realm with independent writers.
Susie has her work cut out for her. She has hired a small team within the concentrated areas of her business, so their clients have dedicated consultants they can rely on within those specialized fields.
Susie’s business has been an outstanding success for the last five years, which now shows a generous profit, surpassing the “struggle” of the first 1 to 3 years of her business. As a result of her success, she now has potential clients seeking her services. However, the process has become overwhelming and what started off as a small close-knit company, where she was able to use a management software for accounting and payroll purposes, has now grown to about 30 employees. Susie had to hire an accountant along with a small payroll team since outsourcing to a payroll company wasn’t cost effective for her budget.
Because Susie likes to keep on top of every aspect of her business, she’s had to set up meetings with the accountant to make sure bills were getting paid as well as their invoices were met and paid on time. She also had to ensure the time cards everyone was submitting in were accurate so her employees can get paid without issues.
In addition to having these meetings, she also had to extend herself to her employees who were meeting with current clients and potential new clients. Susie was particular about who the firm represented and consulted and because they were continually growing, it didn’t mean everyone who walked into their door was a client they wanted to represent. Therefore, she participated in face-to-face meetings, conferences and phone calls with her other consultants before making a final decision.
There was a big name conglomerate who had contacted Susie in the interest of acquiring her firm, who had an outstanding clientele in their consulting book. They had contacted her several times for a meet and greet in the hopes to get Susie’s company onboard with them. The conglomerate had high paying clients, some who owned chain store brands. The conglomerate company were also interested in having an area of business where consultants worked for small businesses without having to build it from the ground up.
Now looking at it from the outside, one can think, as a client, having a consulting firm that large representing me can help me in ways I couldn’t imagine. Plus, if the fees stay the same, the client now benefits with low fees and a higher exposure to reach customers within their small business.
As for Susie, the consultant/CEO, now can have the opportunity for immediate growth. The conglomerate can offer her a book of clients she probably didn’t have a reach before. She can focus on her love for consulting while someone else in the corporation can run the day to day, who’s also known at the Operations Manager.
However, Susie may have to give up a lot more than just a day to day and that personal face to face relationship with clients.
She may have to give up how she runs and owns her business because now it will be under the conglomerate. Which means paperwork would have to be submitted to change the status of her business (i.e. LLC, Partnership, etc.). She and the CEOs of the bigger company would have to discuss a salary, titles, any stock options and how she will fit into their firm and if that fit will include her as a board member participating in companywide decisions.
Her accountant, payroll employees will now be employed with the bigger company, if there is a need for them. If there isn’t a need, they will work temporarily to complete the merge and probably get a buyout package – if the CEOs of the bigger company make that option available.
On top of that, her employees who have dedicated their five years plus to Susie, will now be employed by the conglomerate and having to consort to their corporate policies as opposed to maybe the freedoms of a smaller office.
Some of her employees may forego having to resort to a corporate lifestyle and take Susie’s clients if no agreement was set in place in the event of the company being sold or acquired.
While Susie may get a handsome package for leveraging her consulting firm to a conglomerate, she is also giving up control on decision making for her company and the employees she brought with her. She can also be terminated as a result of any changes the bigger corporation can go through.
As you can see, getting acquired can have its perks, and in the same breath, it’s hurting employees who benefited from working for a small business helping other small businesses prosper.
When companies start buying up smaller companies and aren’t tending to their current customers, it becomes a big issue. CEOs have been known to run corporations through power and greed and do very little thinking about the betterment of the company as a whole or even the employees for that matter who are doing the brunt of the work.
Hence, we go back to, “why people are quitting their jobs”.
The example I gave is one of the reasons. The bigger issue here is how people today are being treated in a customer service driven industry. There have been countless videos all over Tiktok and Instagram, even Twitter (even though Twitter is now the low grade scale of social media next to Facebook), of people attacking restaurant workers for not getting ketchup with their meal, or their soup had plastic in it, so let me throw the soup in the cashier’s face.
People have become too full of themselves thinking the world needs to stop on their behalf because they say so.
Yes, as a person who may contact customer service about something I may not be happy with, I do keep in mind, the person answering the phone isn't the one personally attacking me or playing around with my account because they have nothing better else to do. These attitudes go beyond the standards of rude behavior and baby tantrums. It's that volatile behavior from those customers that have employees basically saying, "fuck this". Especially when it's "unprofessional" to curse back at these customers.
Not too long ago, my family and I ventured out to get some fast food and, “surprise”, the only way to get it was through drive through, which my father hates but he will have to get over himself on that. But you see that’s a primary example, he doesn’t like drive throughs so forget about ordering from there. My father is not the type of person to drive through a drive through to argue why they can’t get in, he will just not order from there and find another place.
Not even thinking, there’s a reason why it’s like this for now. Maybe because they got attack by a person crying about something they didn’t get.
While it’s not old news about people and their antics at food places, the behaviors of customers have gotten way out of control.
When my friend told me how these customers talk down to her, they don’t realize they can be talking to a person who’s putting themselves through school or any other situation may have occurred for them to have this job.
As a person reading this, you are a customer to many services you receive. Ask yourself, why are you being rude to the person you called to help you on the phone? Do you think they are just making up the rules right then and there to antagonize you? Granted there are people much smarter who knows how these types of corporations run and the person on the other end of the phone can only do but so much.
On the flip side, the company my friend works for is a terrible company. The people who call themselves supervisors are overworked and lie to their subordinates the same way they want her to lie to the customers bantering on the phone about poor service. They drive contests to keep employees on their toes, thinking this will make them more excited to stay employed there. They make up metrics to track every call on how well or how not so well you are doing. They make up unrealistic suggestions on how to make your calls in 3 minutes or less. Kinda hard when someone on the other end is yelling like a raving lunatic.
Sometimes you can’t spend three minutes on a call, especially when it has to do with money and someone else’s money at that. On top of that, you have the irate customers who’ve after you taken care of their issue, but then they want to spend another 15 minutes talking about the poor service they are receiving. In addition of getting yelled at for no reason, she also has to play psychiatrist and listen to people gripe about their issues when at the end of the day, there isn’t anything she can do about it.
Sharing these issues with your employer in general will get you nowhere. I had a job when I moved out here to Arizona in 2016. The first year was great. When February of 2018 rolled around, that was an entirely different story. The woman I supported was talking about me behind my back. I noticed two employees were doing a constant walk around passing my desk multiple times a day.
At first, I didn’t think anything of it, until I realized they were watching me. Then the meetings with my manager which started off as, “I’ll help you and we are going to make this right”, turned into, “we are going to have to write you up because she is complaining about the work you’re turning in”. And oh, let me not forget this one, “I can’t help you anymore because they made a comment about the time I was charging to help you”.
I was made an example of what not to do. The day they terminated me, the manager who was in charge of that team had called everyone into a meeting and told them I was terminated and to ensure in keeping everyone safe, they sent everyone home.
I was told this by the receptionist, who ended up kissing ass, because she needed to keep her job, considering she didn’t have much of a strong administrative sense, but was great at ordering lunch.
Why on earth would this man think I was a potentially “violent” person and sending everyone home to keep them safe. I have no clue how this person, who’s clearly brainless and has zero personality, would jump to this offensive conclusion. He was present when I was terminated and I wasn’t surprised, when I was waiting around for my one-to-one meeting with my manager, so was he. It was quite obvious when my one-to-one time changed from the early morning hours to almost the end of the day. Believe me when I tell you, I was doing none of their work but my own. I’m not sure what he expected my reaction to be? Was I supposed to be crying and begging for my job? I was constantly treated like garbage every day and no matter what I did to make things right, it was never enough. It was clear our colors didn’t match from what they were looking for. Some companies make decisions based on meeting a quota. I had a similar experience back in the 90s working for a store brand makeup company.
And lest anyone make up anything about what happened in my managers office, I recorded the whole thing on audio.
I didn’t even sign the, “shut the fuck up papers and don’t sue us and you can get a final paycheck”. I had too much pride for that.
Conglomerates today have zero respect for their employees and customers alike. Once upon a time in the USA, people had pride where they worked. They didn’t worry about losing their jobs, even during times of illness because the owner of the business realized the potential of the employee and how they couldn’t survive without them. There wasn’t a clause at the bottom, “employment is at will and you can be terminated at any time without cause”. This is a company’s safe way of saying, if we don’t like you, we can just get rid of you. In order for them to do that, they make your life difficult by bullying you and belittling all your hard work.
Why are people quitting their jobs? Simply because they are tired of the bullshit. And if OnlyFans and other sites is what’s getting them by so they can attain what they wish to attain, I say go for it. Because no CEO is sitting there worrying about the employees that keep the company running. For as long as their pockets are lined, that’s all that matters.
Clearly, they don’t care about their customers either. I don’t know how a company makes money, if no one is buying from them.
Sad but true.