Don’t hold back AT&T customer service agent

WaitingRachael Parcht, customer service representative for AT&T may have just been having an incredibly bad day, but that hardly can be viewed as an excuse for her terrible conduct on Twitter. Parecht’s tweet stated in part, but you’ll get the gist:

“I am an AT&T customer care representative, and if I credit every crazy person who called in, I’d get fired.”

Her other tweets followed the general insulting pattern, but added four letter expletives. Parcht’s Twitter account has since been suspended, and allegedly AT&T is investigating the situation.

It’s been pretty difficult not to have been affected by last week’s Arizona tragedy. President Obama’s speech asked people to step back from all the hate that seems to dominate politics and the press. He urged Americans to argue “in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” and though the President obviously doesn’t blame verbal attacks for the terrible shooting tragedy, it does bring up food for thought. It’s very easy to be rude nowadays with the anonymity of online media.

Customer service is also based on civility, and rudeness is expensive. Statistically supervisors spend one-fourth of their time dealing with either customer or employee rudeness. Stressed employees have poor self-esteem and are absent more often which leads to higher medical and legal costs. Factor in the expense of replacing these employees, and it has been estimated businesses can be losing up to $300 billion annually.

Of course ,we all agree that customers can be incredibly rude. Customers at checkout lines talking on their cellphones, children allowed to run wild in stores while their parents are oblivious to the actions of their little ones, and rude customers in stores and on the telephone can create profound stress for any customer service agent. Still it seems to be even more appalling when customer service agents lose their professionalism and both embarrass and cost any company the loss of reputation and business by such outrageous behavior.

It all goes back to the careful hiring of employees, the training of employees, and the positive support from supervisors to CEO’s. Customer care isn’t accidental, and it’s an organization’s duty to promote harmonious, civil, and polite representatives. After all good hormones come from positive brainwaves; we’ve all felt the natural rush of endorphins and serotonin for jobs well-done.

Where¬† the AT&T customer service representative may have just started out defending her company, I doubt that AT&T wouldn’t want all their customers to be happy, but I can’t help but think of all the customers running over to Verizon after that outburst.

photo credit: jeamariemarien