giant_dipperAnswering customer support emails all day can be no joke. If the last few years in community and customer happiness roles have taught me one thing, it is that you cannot please everybody. Even when you try and walk them patiently through issues, even when you answer emails at 11PM on your own time; some are never satisfied. There are days when being called stupid and asking to “talk to someone else who knows what they are doing” can hurt. There arethose days when I reply to difficult people (that’s putting it nicely) in a smart tone, thinking they won’t be able to catch my snarkiness. Then I regret it when they do…

There are the racists too; I am so glad I don’t have to deal with that but really, no one should. It’s disturbing to read and hear the things some people say. I hated it even more when it would happen to my mom. She is Peruvian and spent over twenty years working at a call center. Occasionally, callers would think she was in India or the Middle East, even though she was working out of the Bay Area (not that it really matters) and they would throw insults at her. She would play along with it and have some fun pretending to be based out of wherever the caller thought. Back then, I thought she was a tad crazy for making up fake stories about her life and where she lived (why wasn’t she setting them straight?!) but now I understand. I could probably learn a thing or two from the “brush it of and enjoy yourself” spirit. One insult can disintegrate my entire day.

When I think about the future and wonder if I want to be doing something like helping customers five years from now, my answer is yes. I love community building; I love creating enthusiastic brand loyalists and taking every chance to really “wow” someone. Odds are that any company out there is going to have a small sample of customers that make you cringe. I can relate customer support to that terribly exciting relationship that had its high-highs, and low-lows, and I still think I can change some people by delighting them with helpful replies, empathy, and transparency. And if not, I’ll try to have a little fun with it and stop taking it so personally.