If you hate people, why do you have a Customer Service job?
Why tech-centric jobs may be better suited for a tech-embracing crowd
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on October 21, 2022.
I have no idea how people have the patience to file frivolous lawsuits. Filing legitimate ones are so tedious that they can make you ball up into a corner and call your mother for a Bitmoji hug. There’s a reason people hire attorneys to handle the paperwork. Attorneys know just how exhausting this part is too.
Recently I started the process of preparing for a lawsuit. I happily and carefully read through all instructions. I filled out all forms. I read and re-read tips to the point where I memorized them. I submitted all content. I checked off all the boxes. I was pretty proud of myself — until I was forced to call a person. I was hoping to do the entire process on my own and not talk to another human being until I saw one with a black robe and a gavel.
But I needed help. I gave in. I was pleasantly surprised when a chipper, informed and patient young lady answered the phone, walking me through the entire process to submit all of my documents on a very complicated, antiquated website.
I smiled. Why was I dodging people again? This lady was so outstanding that I asked for her name. I would’ve given her a positive Yelp review, Google review, Better Business Bureau review and Angie’s List review. Hell, if her mother was taking submissions, I’d send her a heartwarming review for parenthood. On the second and third go round, I talked to equally professional, patient and knowledgeable young ladies who walked me through a few more documents. Again, why was I dodging people? These girls were great!
Then I hit a wall. The follow-up process required that I talk to another group of people — a group who didn’t know how to use the company website, didn’t know how to submit online forms and insisted I come in person to submit something that could clearly be done online. I spent an hour trying to dodge this request. I knew who I would encounter the millisecond I left home. This was the crowd I’d been avoiding in the first place and the reason I was doing everything online. After 60 minutes, I took a walk to calm down. Then I grabbed my purse, my tote bag and headed to downtown Chicago. Not even five minutes after arrival at my destination, I was met with these responses:
“What do you want? It’s almost closing time.” (The courthouse building didn’t close for 1.5 hours.)
“Go downstairs. You don’t have your paperwork!” (The paperwork was an arm reach away from me in my tote bag, and she didn’t ask me for it.)
“Go outside. I’ll call you from the lobby.” (Absolutely no one was outside and no one was in the entire empty lobby where I was standing to “block” anybody’s way.)
“You’re putting in the wrong code. I don’t know what the code is. Why don’t you just go to [insert room number here]? I don’t know how to use this website.” (It’s always “easier” for someone who is not tech-savvy to avoid giving directions for a website.)
The Customer Service couldn’t have been more different. With a less-tech savvy crowd, any tech questions were met with a snap. My entire presence annoyed them. They were offended that I dared to ask a question they didn’t know how to answer, were adamant that the “old” paper-pushing way be done and were annoyed by anyone who explained the directions from their own website for how to submit the paperwork online. This is the crowd that feels technology is a threat — and they’re taking it out on customers.