The CSR Diaries: Turning Tables

I'm going to take a different tack this time and talk about lousy customer service.  Keep in mind...despite what is about to follow, I still believe you need to be nice to your customer service representatives and have some personal responsibility when it comes to your finances.

That being said...we need to talk.

What is it about the DMV?

No, really...what is it about the DMV?  Before we even discuss the fact that DMV reps generally tend to have a serious attitude problem, what's the glaring incompetence and inefficient organization?  If I have an appointment (which I scheduled four months in advance) for 8:00 am, why are you hoisting the flag at 8:05?  Why are you then waiting to open the doors at 8:15 am?  Why do you then not announce that anyone who has an appointment doesn't have to stand in that long-ass line?

It wasn't even in the fine print

It's one thing if I'm too lazy/irresponsible to not read the fine print, but when pertinent information is deliberately left out of the fine print, that's on you.

I've been to both of your websites, and spoken to your reps on the phone and in person.  Why didn't anyone think to mention that my employee discount may not kick in for at least 4 months?  Isn't that the sort of thing a pygmy needs to know before she can properly decide to make a purchase?

Um...that would be your cue to DO something

Good customer service boils down to accomodation.  Getting the customer what they want, what they need, and being the person who made life a little easier that day.  Sooooo...if you screw something up and are the reason life was unnecessarily harder than usual that day, you need to do something about it.  Waive a fee, send a complimentary token of apology - do something!

Turning Tables

Just FYI....

One: DMVs tend to be woefully understaffed, overall poorly organized, and since state regulations often allow for little flexibility, customers keep having to come back and stand in long lines for little things.

Two: As I've mentioned before, the cell phone industry is particularly brutal and selfish where its underlings are concerned.  The implementation of customer surveys is a great way to keep salaries low.  Cell phone companies essentially punish their customer service workers by docking their pay whenever they get a "No" on their surveys.  Because of this, cell phone CSRs will tell customers literally whatever they want to hear to avoid upsetting them and getting a "No".

Three: Companies tend to have an "on your own" mentality with their CSRs.  So if a CSR makes an honest mistake which costs a customer time and/or money, they're not actually empowered to do anything to make it better.  They're left on their own to deliver bad news with no salve, which naturally leads to hostility from customers (and angry emails to the Better Business Bureau), thus creating a great excuse to fire CSRs if a company is feeling the sting of recession.

Moral of the story?

Be nice to your CSRs.  They're human, they're imperfect, and they don't have nearly the control or power you'd like to think they do.  Learn to roll with the punches and simply accept the fact that life is filled with disappointment and inconveniences.


  1. The DMV is a monopoly. They know we can't go anywhere to get a license, which is why they can have such shitty customer service.

    Regardless, the rare time when I have to go to the DMV, I'm always courteous.

    1. Exactly and I was all too happy when they installed a do it yourself kiosk so I didn't have to deal with them.

    2. must have a fancy DMV where you are!

    3. Shocked me too. I think they're only for people renewing their licenses but damn it if it wasn't a convenience for me. ;-)


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