When I think of examples of passive aggressive I am immediately reminded of customer care. Whenever I need to call customer care, I try to put it off as much as I can. I am so glad these days we have live chats with customer care teams and can email them. Yet there are times when urgency takes precedence and I have to make the call, it’s inescapable.
After a long Friday that involved tedious note-making, I was hoping for a relaxing break on Saturday, that involved me and the couch. That was not to be, I found myself in a complicated web of customer care issues, which my mother and I had to jointly solve.
Ironically, despite being the most nervous at phone calls, my mother and I are the best at dealing with customer care in the family. We know how to get them to listen to us and take us seriously. It was a long day, a long day of being put on hold about a hundred times. Our issue got resolved at ten in the night which I wouldn’t call a victory. Every time we called, we had to first get through the endless stream of pre-recorded messages only to receive no help from somebody who’d say, “We’ll call you back in 2-3 hours.”
The problem with customer care is that every call you make you are speaking with a different person or different department, and it’s exhausting. With every new person we need to start from scratch and they end up telling us that they’ll take more time to resolve it. They just hope they can pass on the problem to someone else.
I lost faith in capitalism when I got a faulty product from a shop when I was seven and it barely lasted a week. Even at that age whenever I used to go get stuff for my mom from the market on my own so that I could get a small amount that would go towards my savings, I never let shopkeepers trick me into paying more or cheat me. I was really good at catching fraud and taking them to task about it. It comes in handy today.
Customer care is the long-winded way of a business telling you they don’t care. Their assumption is that the customer has piles of money and has all the time in the world and is really stupid to catch their tricks. When they say, “I understand, I am sorry for your trouble,” I can hear their sarcasm. I get the impression that they think I am wasting their time not the other way around.
When you point out that you’re onto them that’s when they realise they better pull up their socks. I love when I get an icy silence from the other side when I know I won that round, it’s so satisfying when they struggle to find the words because they didn’t expect me to know. I love how they suddenly let go of the attitude and start sounding real and serious.
After a long cat and mouse chase, at nine thirty pm, we received a call from a sensitive customer care person who was aware of our problem and solved it in five minutes. What could have been resolved at eleven in the morning, took a whole day, because the others were not interested in being of any help.
I know that they’re the ones who get the short end of the stick, their lives and jobs are hard. I am sensitive to that. Sometimes they don’t deserve the fussy and obnoxious customers they get who take out their frustration with the situation on the employees who are just trying to help them. Their previous experiences with customers make them behave differently towards you, that’s where I get annoyed.
I also know it’s because of all the terrible customers they deal with on a daily basis that they become unhelpful to the ones who are genuine. I suppose I wouldn’t be able to deal with frustrated people who are yelling and screaming at me every day.
Capitalism is tough, both ways, for the ones providing services and the ones receiving them. It’s far from the ideal word. Customer care is the best example of the relationship between companies and people. We want more for giving them less and they want more for giving us less. We get faulty services because we go for the cheapest stuff, it’s not our fault. The customer care are cleaning up the dirt for them, which is unfair and not at all rewarding.
How do we customers, who are just a number to these companies, make ourselves heard, especially when they are used to dealing with people like us? We may try and make ourselves seem important, our problem should come before anyone else’s. For them we’re just another number. We fall for the ads, the smiles on posters, and notifications on our phones, but we mean as much to them as our purchase that’s all.
Yesterday was frustrating. If I hear their jingle once more I will cry. I am just glad to be done with it. I suppose that last employee who treated us like human beings, will be someone I’ll remember for being nice and polite even though he could have just put us on hold and treated us like all the employees did before him. They should take a leaf out of his notebook.
I hope today will be at least a bit better and will involve no customer care issues. It says a lot about my personality that I talk on the phone to customer care officials longer than I do to my friends or family. I think I should inform my therapist about this.