waiting in a cue to get good bad service

The Line On Customer Service – Guest Post from Mike Vardy

Below is from Mike Vardy (reposted with permission) from his Eventualism website, the productivity alternative. It’s a sarcastic look at how to handle the dreaded “line up” at the customer service counter. A fun blog worth a repost.

There is no better way to be Effing The Dog while shopping than to wait in some sort of line – be it a returns line, a purchasing line, what have you.  They are often long, when you reach your destination, the payoff isn’t quite what you hoped it would be in most cases.  It’s like craving your favorite fast food, eating it, and then regretting it later on in the bathroom.  Neither is a very appealing thought, but it’s reality.

Take, for example, the rather long line up at most customer service counters…

This is the line most people dread.  I’d suggest bringing along a fine audiobook (no reading, remember?) such as Stuff White People Like or The Areas Of My Expertise.  That way, you learn something valauble while you endlessly wait.

A key thing to remember is that half of the battle is waiting, and the other half is what you do when you reach the coveted spot at the counter.  Here’s a helpful list of tips on what to do once you reach the promised land.

1.  Have a long and convoluted story ready.  The more disjointed it is, the better.  Customer service people are trained to listen, but they are usually trained poorly, or have been in the position so long that they are at the point where their care factor is zero.  Also, be sure to start talking the instant you get to the counter, as they will then have to ask you to repeat your tale so they can enter it into the computer the second time around.  Then, be sure to alter the story to further confuse them.

2.  When they ask for personal information, give them a rough time.  Whether you actually provide it is a matter of personal choice – eventually giving them slightly inaccurate info is often the way I choose to go.  Doing this gives you recourse for when they don’t contact you because they missed a digit in a phone number, or forgot the underscore in your email address.  Implicating them when this occurs is always a wise and crucial EffTD move.

3.  Be passive-aggressive.  This takes practice, but is very rewarding in the long run.  It also is more entertaining for you and the people waiting in line behind you.  Not so much for the person behind the counter, but that is inconsequential.

4.  Bring your receipt (if it is required), but don’t show it right away.  Fumble around looking for it.  When they remind you that you should have had it ready while waiting, employ tactic #3.

5.  If you can find the opportunity to ask for a manager, do it.  The show can then be repeated, and an encore performance is always a chance to enhance your game.

Always remember, customer service is supposed to be a tough job.  Make sure that you don’t disappoint yourself and those working in the position by making it less than that.


The original post can be found on Mike’s website Eventualism by clicking here. Have any line up stories of your own?

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