Note: Stay with this story, it does have a point.
I arrived home tonight at about 7:45 pm after negotiating some angry Dumbarton Road drivers on my scooter. The guy who did my scooter CBT told me to ‘own the road’ and that ‘scooters have the same rights as cars’. So I did. I ‘owned’ the road. I owned it all. “Let one person pass you and they’ll all follow.” So I didn’t. I didn’t let anybody pass me. Was it the ‘L’ plates…? Was it the fact that a 6’4″ man was riding a tiny scooter? I just don’t know… What I do know is that drivers are RUDE. RUDE!!
I arrived home shortly afterward to find the fifth in a series of letters telling me I’m just about to be taken to court for non-payment of a £15.03 bill for ‘BT Broadband’ – which I must add, I have never had! I then made *another* call to BT “customer services”. Despite their complete incompetence, I was completely calm and collected and explained the situation best I could. They cut me off after 4 transfer and 22 minutes of Beethoven’s 5th with no result… How do people with anger management issues put up with this?
I then had a thought… No matter how polite or courteous, I believe there are two types of situation in which people feel that being rude to people they don’t know is ‘acceptable behavior’. Generally 1) When driving 2) When on the phone to a call centre or help desk.
Let me use the latter as an example. People seem to enter a temporary state in which they feel they’re completely untouchable just because they’re not physically talking to the person’s face.Even in my current job, I have to deal with ‘users’, albeit in a different way than I used to, but with exactly the same outcome. The ‘higher state’ of the caller often goes way beyond ‘the customer is always right’. Yes, in the past I used to take criticism well… “Your software sucks!!” would be interpreted as “You should brush up on your programming skills, but overall I’m pretty impressed!”… but after a year of doing this type of work, I have started looking at things differently I got one piece of ‘feedback’ in particular (which I shouldn’t have been looking at anyway) in which someone basically said the software was great apart from the bit that took 90% of my team’s time over the past 6 months. Cheers! Nothing makes you leave the office at the end of the day like being told all the stuff you spent 5 minutes on rocks but the stuff that really matters SUCKS!!
I’d like to think that my time at The Link (RIP) taught me to be polite and courteous to all help desk or call centre employees after the crap I had to take when I worked there. I put all this ‘anonymous rudeness’ down to a combination of two factors… 1) The person is shy or doesn’t have a great personality + 2) The person is granted anonymity (take the driving example too) Resulting in Great pleasure gained by the caller by taking the customer facing employee down at every opportunity. Yes, I think everybody on the planet should be made to work in a job in which they have to deal with customers.
This would teach them all a lesson.
Yes, it would.