Bad Customer Service Pisses Me Off

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Picture: Martin / Flickr

I know Finland is not famous for customer service, but whilst not everywhere is terrible after a few ventures into a “bookshop”, that unmentionable garish chain of ubiquitous pseudo bookshops that litter every high-street and mall in this country, I can explain my bitterness thusly:

Me: “Hi, I was hoping to find some classic or 20th century literature in Finnish.”

Assistant: “Do you mean books like The Great Gatsby?”

Me: “Well, not that exactly but yeah that sort of thing.”

Assistant: “We don’t have books like that.” A cruel smirk appears on her face.

Me: “Really!? Oh, erm, well, erm. Do you know where I could find something like that?”

Assistant: “No.” The cruel smirk turns into sadistically gleeful smile.

You see, that is not customer service, that is taunting a consumer, it’s fiendish!

In my lifetime, I have learned that customer service is the act of providing a service for the potential customer, for example, if a potential customer enters your establishment, make them feel welcome, help them with their quest to find that particular product and just generally be a bit helpful.

In my lifetime, I have learned that customer service is the act of providing a service for the potential customer, for example, if a potential customer enters your establishment, make them feel welcome.

Imagine you were in a bar and asked for a beer and the barman replied “Oooh, would you like a tall frosty glass of delicious hoppy brew that will sate your thirst and tickle your palate? A beer that will muffle your troubles and ease the pains of your hectic life by slipping you into a state of mild intoxication? A pint that will make you laugh harder, love stronger and brighten your day? Well sorry mate, I only sell warm toilet water served from dirty glasses.”

Ok, I took that to an extreme but the sentiment remains the same.

Meanwhile back to the present – after a good day hunting books I started flicking through my yield on my homeward bound Metro journey and decided to start on one of my finds which is an old Pelican Original on the psychology of interpersonal behaviour.

I found a lot of the information very useful and used it to analyse myself; turns out that I am a perfectly sound member of society without a trace of vanity or paranoia and as suspected I am actually really good at things and everyone is actually talking about me behind my back.

However much to the annoyance of my girlfriend, and I assume very soon the annoyance of my friends and family, I have been using it to analyse the behaviour of everyone around me, whether it is my neighbour, whose mother obviously coddled him too much, resulting in his mild anxiety attacks when having to share the elevator with me. Or the Shetland pony type work ethic of the guy who delivers Pizza restaurant menus to my letter-box every morning who obviously had selfish neglectful parents.

Perhaps I shouldn’t take everything that I read in this book to heart as it is now quite old and a lot of the studies have been disproven, but something that I read in it still seems to hold weight; the destructive excitement seeking of remorselessly crushing my hopes, the lack of empathy for my situation, and the cruel glee taken from my despair by that useless shop assistant are all signs of latent psychopathy.