Monthly Archives: October 2013

As Seen on TV

grumpy cat NOIn case you weren’t aware, and it seems many people aren’t, life is not television and work is not a party. Sure, it’s great if you enjoy your work and you get along with your co-workers. You may even consider many of them your friends – I know I do. But you are being paid to do a job.

What that means, in simple terms, is that you are there to do actual work and not to “have fun.” The two don’t need to be exclusive but a lot of the time they are. No one likes compiling quarterly reports and they aren’t often a joy to read either. But they are a necessity. Reporting is vital to forecasting new campaigns and measuring the success of current ones.  If it makes the day go more quickly, then maybe you promise yourself a Pumpkin Spice Latte if you can finish all the quarterlies by Wednesday or that sweet pair of Frye boots you’ve had your eyes on for the last month.  We all need a little motivation now and again – although, hopefully, you’re as much motivated by your desire to do a job well as you are by a PSL.

The work you do isn’t about you. This is especially true in customer service. Being a CSR (customer service rep) is about the consumer – the person on the other end of the line or other side of the computer screen.  It’s about their experience and not about yours.  If the consumer decides to pretend to be a robot, then, you can roll with it. . .or not. . .as long as you provide them with good service and the information they need.  It is never, ever appropriate for you to pretend to be a robot, a Cyborg, a taco, or a teddy bear.  You may sometimes pretend to be in a good mood – but that should be the extent of your acting skills.  No one wants tech advice from a bear.  Seriously.  They don’t.

If you work at Radio Shack (or apparently Netflix) maybe your boss doesn’t frown on this sort of thing.  But in most cases management, your co-workers, and most of all, the consumer isn’t going to be pleased with you.  That’s because you’re a CSR, not a member of Starfleet as much as you’d like to be.  Leave your dice and RPG manual at home and do some work.  I don’t call Netflix to make a new friend or to hear your viewing preferences, I’m calling because need an issue resolved.  Do your job, do it well, and I’ll be pleased and you should be too.  You should be able to get through the day without pretending to be a robot.  If you can’t, then maybe you need to find a new line of work.

It’s baffling to me that so many people are praising someone that, frankly, should be fired.  You’re not making the experience “fun for the consumer” – you’re making it fun for yourself and that’s bad customer service.  You can crack out your Starfleet uniform in your off hours.  While you’re at work, why not try pretending you’re an adult?