I try to be kind as much as possible, but I will admit that were times when I was an impatient diner, or got annoyed when someone in customer service was short with me. Then I got a job as a box office agent at a local theatre this past summer, and man did I get a wake up call.
About three weeks ago, I worked a shift that was not one of my better nights. I am not going to elaborate on the prior events, but they resulted in my stress skyrocketing and difficulties with composure. When it finally came around to check people in, I struggled with the computer system and one of the many annoyed customers told me that I should go to school. An hour later, I was on the phone with a lady who had tons of questions and tried to answer them with the little information that I had. At the time, it was only my third night working and I tried to find someone who could answer all her questions, but could not find them. The lady became so angry that I did not have all the answers, and the more she raged the more my temper spiked. I used my last ounce of calmness to give the phone to one my colleagues, and she diffused the situation with admirable grace. That was probably not very professional of me, but if I had not given the phone away, I would have hung up on the customer, or unleashed my own tirade on her.
After those two customer interactions, I could no longer keep it together. The moment I got home, a sob tore out of my throat and I did not try to stop it. This went on from the moment I fell asleep to the moment I woke up the next morning. I wept until my swollen heart was completely empty and I had no more tears to shed. Then I prayed to understand the purpose, because it was not going to do me any good to remain angry with the customers. Most significantly, I wanted to learn the lesson that God intended for me and I have to say his timing came quickly.
Even though it was a difficult experience, a blessing that came from the break down was compassion for people who work in customer service. There is no way that I can ever have complaints towards them again, because they experience the wrath of insanity on a daily basis, yet still get up everyday and do their job because their survival depends on it. These people wholeheartedly have my respect, and the glitches are not their fault more times than not. Sometimes it's a faulty technology system, shortage of staff, lack of communication, flawed management and all these other reasons. The ones who work in customer service get the brunt of the conflict, because they have the most interaction with the customer and that is an unfortunate but true reality.
I know that it is not easy to sit through long lines, slow service, mistakes and other complications in public areas. However I encourage all of you to realize this, no matter what is happening, the employee is trying their best to help you. Yes there are a few bad eggs, but they don't represent customer service as a whole. What helps them can be a smile, kind word or a generous tip. The difference is astounding! Thank you for reading and may you find blessings in all that you do.