Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

It's Not Me, It's You: Customer Diss-Service

Dealing with the Customer Service Representative from you-know-where

Dealing with the customer service rep from you-know-where.

A friend recently walked into a dry cleaners in the New York area (no, this is not the beginning of an off- color joke, and no, the "friend" is not me). She showed the dry cleaner a blouse that had been returned to her--hung up and covered in plastic, receipt affixed. The friend was billed for the laundering of her garment. Only problem was, no cleaning had taken place. It had the same perspiration odor and stains as when she had worn it last.

"Ma'am, I just took this out of the plastic but it still has an odor. Would you please clean it again?"

The owner of the dry cleaner refused. "We cannot do anything about perspiration."

Really? Isn't this a dry cleaner?

"Ma'am, it is a new shirt and I would like to wear it. I bring all of my clothes here. Isn't there something you can do?"

"Maybe you need to use deoderant," came the response from this, most lacking in customer-service purveyor of dry cleaning.

What would Dale Carnegie have to say about all this? What ever happened to the old adage about how the customer is always right?

A New England attorney laments what he calls, “the loss of gentility and civility,” in the market and workplaces. He recalls a credit card representative who pointedly asked, “Are you sure you can afford THAT?” when he called to preauthorize a charge for an expensive gift for his wife.

Customer service is a difficult gig, to be sure. Phone agents routinely develop stress related ailments such as stomach problems, headaches, TMJ, and even drug and alcohol abuse as a result of dealing many hours a day with angry and difficult consumers. But there must be a middle ground between customer diss-service and submitting to rude and angry callers, right?

Feel free to share your favorite customer service stories in the comments section below.