My Philippine friend told me about experience as a Customer Service Representative.
I’ve already been customer service representative twice in my life. The first one is for my internship. I chose to be a customer service representative for my internship because they offer a high salary and this will be credited to my On the Job Training (OJT) which is required for me to graduate, so it’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Me and my friends went to this Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Company to apply. Like a typical job application we went for initial interview to exam to final interview and luckily we passed. After that we talked to the College Connect of the recruitment office who is in charge in handling our documents for our OJT so that they could coordinate to the University.
We are then hired as a Customer Service Representative for a company which delivers flowers to United States. So as a Customer Service Representative we are in charge of handling inbound calls from Americans who have queries regarding the flower they order. They usually just ask the status of their order and we will provide them the information that they need if it’s already in transit or the package have already been received.
One of the scenarios that I encounter is when a customer had a problem with the flower that they received. My American customer which sounds like a white guy in his mid-40 says the flower that he received is withered. So as a Customer Service Representative I apologized for the inconvenience and promised the customer that I will make it out of him by processing a pick up and deliver wherein we will pick up the withered flowers and replace it with a new one. Now that kind of scenario is common but the difference is that you have to talk to different kinds of Americans with different attitudes. There are nice people and some are mean. With this kind of inconvenience some might get mad and will say “I paid a lot for this flowers and you will give me a withered one? F*** your company! You guys are the worst! I will never order to your website ever again!” as a Customer Service Representative I need to calm down and handle the situation, so what I did is I apologized to the customer , offered him a pickup and re-deliver to replace the withered flower and gave him a 15% discount coupon for his next purchase. After that the customer calmed down and thanked me. This might seem like a good call but the truth is, it also hurts as a person hearing curse words to another people. I sometimes think that Americans are bipolar, like they were very mad at first but then, after they get what they want they suddenly become happy as if nothing happened, I mean, did they forget about their outrage that easily? I just hope that they also know how to apologize regarding their violence because, obviously we are also hurt by their words.
You need to be tough for this position. A Customer Service Representative will be a stress absorber from Americans who encounter problems. You also need to be able to handle mean customers like the scenario I provided. Another important is skill is empathy. Empath means being able to put yourself into someone else’s shoe. We also have to apologize for every inconvenience that they encounter even if it’s not even our fault.
If I’m stressed in my calls my stress reliever would be the nice customers. One scenario is when a lady asked for the status of the delivery so I provided her the information that the flower that she ordered is still in transit res assure that it will be delivered on the expected day between 10am – 8pm and I also told her that an email confirmation will be sent out to her once it has been delivered. I provided her the information and provided her an expectations regarding her order. She thanked me and she said she appreciate my help. Those kinds of calls really make my day. I like it when people appreciate me. I remember this lady because this one is a very good call, she really sounded sweet and thankful. Usually there are also grandmas who are sweet and very nice.
There are also those Americans who are very demanding like I’ve already offered a 15% discount coupon for his next purchase but he even asked to make it 20%. I didn’t want to disappoint him so I asked him to be put on hold so that I can ask my supervisor to approve his request, thus I went to my supervisor for approval and told him that my customer demands a 20% discount. Fortunately my supervisor approved and I was able to provide my customer what he want. I think there are really those kinds of Americans who demands more even if they were already being given enough, those kind of people are taking advantage to the company so that they could purchase something in a much cheaper price. But I can’t blame them, the flowers are kinda expensive so they might be looking for a way to get it cheaper.
I was able to be a Customer Service Representative for only 3 months since it is a project based job and also our OJT so we need to get back to school to finish the remaining process for our graduation.
That flower delivery service company is not the only call center that I went to. My second call center experience is about mortgage loans in the U.S. This is much harder than the first one because this involves a lot of money and also the property and houses. This job really gave me a hard time because it’s hard to deal with some customers. Since this is a mortgage company it involves mortgage, payments and debt. We are responsible in processing the payment of the customers, inquiries regarding their taxes and insurance, website inquiries, billing statement and a lot more. Working in a mortgage account is really hard and even customers are hard to deal with.
There are those customers who will call and will ask why their payment increased and I will look it up to my tool and do an analyzation to be able to find the reason for the increase. Usually their payment increases due to increase in their taxes and insurance. Some Americans get mad when their bill payment went up that even I tried to explain to them that their tax increase they still won’t get it and I’ll tell them to call their County to confirm the increase.
Another scenario that I remembered back then is when a customer accidentally paid her bill twice and is asking us to return the money immediately. Unfortunately this kind of process may take a while because we still need to do a review in her bank account and her payment activities which will take 7 – 10 business days, I informed her about the process and it is the only resolution to her issue. She was really mad and was shouting at me and telling me that I don’t understand, but the truth is it was her mistake yet here I am doing my job and saying sorry even though it’s not my fault. I do understand her that she really need that money but unfortunately, the only thing I can provide to her is the process and not her money, I told her to please understand since I’m just following the procedure. I think this kind of situation really happens, so please be careful in making a payment so that you won’t bother to call a Customer Service to handle the situation and stress them out because the customers problem will became our problem to solve.
There are also Americans who are illiterate when it comes to using computers and asks for our assistance to navigate the website. There is a caller who asked to make a payment online so I told him to open his browser and I provided the web address, the customer then asked what a browser is, I then told him the browser like google chrome, Mozilla firefox or safari if he’s using Mac. I even describe what the icon looks like. And since he obviously have no idea how to navigate the website I walk him through step by step until the payment is made successfully. So that call lasts up to 45 minutes which is really long because our average handling time should only last for 7 minutes. I was a bit surprised when I received this call because I thought a well-developed country such as United States have all of the people knowledgeable in computer and internet. I guess there are still some people who are not used to technology nowadays.
The worst American customers are the racists. The moment they hear me speak they will ask my location then I’ll tell them that I am physically located in the Philippines after that they will ask to be transferred to an American representative. That’s not the worst part though. If you try to assist a customer and had a hard time understanding the accent they will say things like “I don’t understand you, can I speak to someone who knows how to speak in English?” I’ve tried my best to help them then they will look for someone else.
This kind of work is challenging yet it will also makes me happy when I assisted my customers and they appreciated it.
I’ve encountered different personalities of Americans when I was a Customer Service Representative. Some experiences are bad, some are good, but overall I’ve learned a lot. I developed my communication skills through talking to Americans every day over the phone. I also developed my confidence to talk in English language. I learned to multi task because while talking to customer you also need to verify their account through the database and look for the information that they need and process the things that needs to be processed like their payments. I learned empathize through understanding the situation of the customer and what they feel towards it if they are frustrated or happy. I developed my listening skills. Let’s face it, if you are not an American you might have a hard time understanding their accent, but then when I became a Customer Service Representative I learned to listen carefully in able to understand their concerns and provide them a resolution.
Life of a Customer Service Representative is hard but then I made a living out of it and it helped me pay my rent and bills. After 3 months in mortgage account I decided to resign and look for another job that is not toxic and fortunately I was hired to a great company and my job now is less stressful than before.
Her experiences are interesting because she said american customer might be racist.
I think american people eat sweet and salty products a lot so they might become upset easily.