Seeking better service from a company doesn’t need to be a bloodsport.

A reader of the Watertown Daily Times recently humiliated one of our customer service representatives in a very public way. He called to redeem a coupon that he previously received.

But our employee informed the reader that the coupon had already expired. The man became belligerent and accused us of not wanting to make good on our coupon.

If this reader had conducted himself in a civil manner, we would have gladly given him what he wanted. Like any other company, we believe it’s vital to keep our customers happy. Honoring an expired coupon is a minor expense compared to making readers angry when they feel they’ve been cheated.

Sadly, this customer took his frustration out on our staff member — who was simply doing her job — and doing it very well. She and the reader live in the same community, and the reader posted a sign in front of his home expressing his animosity. The sign belittled our employee by name, which could be seen by her family members, friends and neighbors.

There was no need for the reader to engage in such a hostile action. Had he spoken with a manager, they could have reached an acceptable solution.

But anger got the better of this customer, and he demeaned one of our valued employees to satisfy his petty grievance. This exemplifies a major problem that has engulfed our society.

Last year when safety protocols were implemented at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, many people berated business employees. They didn’t want to wear masks, remain at least 6 feet away from other customers or follow the prescribed direction of foot traffic in store aisles. They let the store associates know that they were furious with the government mandates.

In addition, there have been numerous accounts of people screaming at health care workers over the past year. Cases of have COVID-19 overwhelmed many medical facilities, and at times patients have had to wait even longer to receive treatment. Some people lose their cool and vent at the very people who have gone beyond the call to keep them healthy.

Simply put, people need to stop acting like jerks! We all get frustrated with things once in a while and feel the need to express our outrage.

However, customer service is a two-way street. Yes, businesses want to do everything possible to keep their customers happy.

But employees deserve as much respect as do their clients. Much of the time, they’re not the ones who caused the initial problem; they’re trying their best to resolve the issue to everyone’s benefit. Being a customer doesn’t give anyone the right to abuse company representatives.

Sometimes companies make mistakes, and they must own up to them. Other times, it’s the customers who are in the wrong. Businesses committed to providing the best service will work with their customers to bring about a positive ending.

So treating employees like punching bags does no one any good. This merely creates a sense of acrimony that makes it more difficult to solve the issue.

Given how divisive our relationships with others have become in many instances, we all seem to be a little more on edge. But this is no excuse for demoralizing employees trying to make their customers happy. Treat others like you want to be treated, and things will go a lot smoother.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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