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Customer Service and Mental Health

Toxic interactions with customer service may disrupt mental wellness.

Key points

  • Dealing with an organization's customer service department can increase anxiety, harm, and feelings of unworthiness.
  • Engaging with companies focused on consumer satisfaction and delivering quality over profits boosts mental wellbeing.
  • Prioritize mental wellbeing and customer appreciation when choosing where to spend money.

Life is full of potential stressors and distractions. Few things are more stressful than realizing you have a problem with a product or service you purchased, and you need to speak with customer service. The anxiety that mounts while considering what to do and remembering past encounters with customer service can be overwhelming.

The sad truth is to build profits, utilize technology, and gain social media followers in the name of doing business companies can forget to value consumers. Over the past decade, the rapid move to online and smartphone apps to reduce costs and increase consumerism has caused a huge disconnect from consumers, often at the cost of increasing already high levels of stress.

So much attention has been focused on the customer’s experience from the company’s perspective, but not on what it actually feels like. Consumers can feel increasing disconnectedness. The intersection where companies are doing business to build profits and consumers seek satisfaction from quality products and services can be problematic. Customer service continues to move in the direction of decreasing human interaction and increasing automation at the expense of consumers’ mental wellness. And since people populate customer service centers, the battle to find acceptable solutions for both the consumer and company are often frustrating.

Companies can train and support their customer service representatives to listen to customers’ concerns, actively prioritize positive experiences for customers by equitably addressing their concerns, and prioritize customer satisfaction over profits with accountability to ethically satisfy the customer.

The Covid-19 pandemic has provided a unique window to re-evaluate the worth of products, services, subscriptions, and renewals while quarantined in your personal spaces. Consumers are often made to feel wrong, and problem-solving support is reduced, forcing customers to engineer their resolutions, expend exhaustive efforts to locate support, and/or give up and abandon their efforts. These types of interactions can have serious consequences on your mental health.

A key learning outcome from the pandemic, finally addressing social and racial injustices and changing workplaces, is that physical health and mental health are essential. This knowledge requires taking a personal inventory of what maintains and increases physical and mental wellness as we return to our daily routines with new awareness.

Making healthy choices doesn’t only apply to foods, beverages, and personal interactions. It applies to our consumership and finding a balance as you enter new approaches to your consumer routines. It involves making conscious choices about how you want to consume products and services and who you want to deliver those products and services. Prioritizing your wellbeing and the well-being of others involves spending your money where you receive the most well-being and investing time in finding companies that are truly committed to wellbeing.

Making wellbeing choices about a company’s products and services, including how equitably the company treats its employees and volunteers while offering products and services that do not harm the planet or the living beings on the planet, and building a corporate culture based on humanity over inhumanity. A company’s insensitivity to its customers’ experience reduces customers’ trust and satisfaction. Companies need to support consumers' wellbeing, and consumers need to require it.

So the next time you consider engaging with a company’s products or services, don’t just research the product or service. Research the company and its customer service practices. And, if this accountability process seems overwhelming, consider seeking support from qualified self-development professionals skilled in providing talk therapy and practices for your mental wellbeing.


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