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  1. #11
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    How do you deal with people who simply refuse to get along?

    This is brought to you by a visitor I had at work today.

    "Hello, you have a package here for me from Monique."
    "Okay. What's your name? *checks packages* Nope, I don't have anything with your name on it."
    "Yes you do."
    "... well, according to the logs, all of Monique's packages have been picked up already."
    "Look again."
    "*pretends to look for a few seconds*... I can call Monique and ask her what's up?"
    "Okay."
    *calls monique, gets no answer, calls her assistant, gets vacation message, calls monique again, still no answer and mailbox is full* "Well, she's not at her desk at the moment. If you'd like, we can try again later or I'll take down your info and let you know."
    "Can't you get up and go find her?"

    "...um, no. First of all, I don't know where she is, we're spread across 3 floors, and I'm not supposed to leave reception unattended anyway. Besides, she's not at her desk or she would have answered."
    *rolls eyes, looks at me like I'm retarded, tries the door which is locked* "Can't you go look for her?"
    "...no. I don't know where she might be."
    *phones Monique who picks up right away* Hello, the receptionist says you're not at your desk. No, no problem. Hehe. Bye. *click* *glares* She was at her desk."
    "...okay. "*nods awkwardly and smiles*
    Then she stands in front of the washroom (where I wanted to go) and chats with Monique for 15 minutes, occasionally glancing at me triumphantly.
    I have a feeling this could have been handled better but all of my ideas involve weapons and scarring.

    Similar stories? How do you handle it?
    Object does not truth. Truth objects.
    A deal does not how. It is already.

    Communication is about the object.
    A communication difficulty however is about the subject.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    People like this should just be avoided, if possible. You might also want to tell this person's boss about their behavior.

  3. #13
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I would have called one of Monique's colleagues and tried to find out where the package was. I just think giving further excuses for why you can't help is lousy. Try to look at it from her perspective. Maybe she travelled across town to get the package, or something similar. I'd be irritated too and I would try to stick around and find out where the package was even if it meant getting a bit bolshie with the receptionist.

    Admittedly, living in a big city has made me more of a bitch than I used to be, but I don't think it's all bad.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I would have called one of Monique's colleagues and tried to find out where the package was. I just think giving further excuses for why you can't help is lousy. Try to look at it from her perspective. Maybe she travelled across town to get the package, or something similar. I'd be irritated too and I would try to stick around and find out where the package was even if it meant getting a bit bolshie with the receptionist.

    Admittedly, living in a big city has made me more of a bitch than I used to be, but I don't think it's all bad.
    That totally depends on the type of office enviroment and Monique and her colleagues personalities. In some offices they will hire you to do great customer service but then obstruct you from doing it in every possible way. In some places people deem themselves "so important" that if you call on them to enquire about something someone else did or did not do or someone elses whereabouts they would call your manager to complain about you for bothering them. An example: An office with managers only. One goes missing when one of their largest customers comes by for a meeting about an order that has to be processed in a few hours for it to make production on time. There's huge money at stake. I go look for ANYONE who would know their whereabouts and I ask a few other manager's and it's like this person has dropped off the face of the earth. Suddenly they waltz in with takeout and a couple of magazines under their arm and situation sorted by accident. I hear that happens all the time from another receptionist. My manager got a complaint about me from someone who's lunch I interrupted asking if they knew where so and so was (very politely and descreetly). They said I should know where people are. That's my job...I was not however given the magic crystal ball that keeps taps on everyone. I got a complaint from the person who forgot the meeting, for "making him look bad with his peers" cause now people knew he was missing and I got yelled at by the client who took out their frustration about that person not being there at the said time. I am great at customer service. I have often been commended on handling the most difficult cases with tact and finesse and leaving a positive memory of the customer service experience even when there has been blunders by the company. And I have taken a hit for some superior actually faking it was my fault when knowing who was the REAL culprit might make an important client move their business elsewhere. and you know...sometimes giving too great of a service will come and bite you in the butt if the whole organization has not allotted enough resources (staff, time, great databases etc...) to provide one on a regular basis. I was really great in my job (our managers screened calls and listened to them for "quality control" so it's not a subjective estimate but based on feedback). I just happened to really really hate it because of being a customer service rep/ receptionist etc means you spen about 30% of your time as a public spittoon for people to vent their anger on you. I's extremely stressful and to me I just don't see any company worthwile enough to justify it to myself. If it was a charitable organization aimed at a good cause I believed in I could see myself be willing to put up with it, but a faceless mercenary corp. with the sole aim to continually increase the shareholders' share value and profits without social accountability or accountability to their workforce ...no thank you. Never again.

  5. #15
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I kind of agree with the above and I'd rather not work in customer service again either (although there is an element of it with my current job, but not a lot). Been there, done that. And working in customer relations, I had to do fun things like tell a passenger that the airline had lost their mother's ashes and that they shouldn't have put them in checked luggage in the first place (I wish I was joking). But like Marm said, I think that's part of the deal when you take on jobs in customer service or customer relations. You ARE going to be a bit of a punching bag.

    I guess I just didn't think the OP's experience was that bad, and to me it didn't really qualify as a person insisting on conflict. Yes, she may have been more difficult/snarky/bitchy than necessary, but I would have done something similar - stand my ground and try to get to the root of the problem. To me, people who insist on conflict are those who pick a fight in the middle of a normal conversation, who take everything you say as a personal attack on them even if it has nothing to do with them - etc. We've all encountered them. I've known them IRL and there have certainly been a few on this forum.
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  6. #16
    Diving into Ni-space Crescent Fresh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I had to do fun things like tell a passenger that the airline had lost their mother's ashes and that they shouldn't have put them in checked luggage in the first place (I wish I was joking).
    Oh my goodness! Am I the only person who considers putting the human ashes in the luggage is quite an "unthinkable" act?

  7. #17
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I know, it's insane. I mean, of course the fact that we then happened to lose that particular bag was rather awful, but if they'd bothered to check they would have known it's fine to take human ashes in hand luggage as long as you clear it with the airline. I thought it was a rather barbarous thing to do to his mom's ashes, too.
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  8. #18
    Energizer Bunny Resonance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I would have called one of Monique's colleagues and tried to find out where the package was. I just think giving further excuses for why you can't help is lousy. Try to look at it from her perspective. Maybe she travelled across town to get the package, or something similar. I'd be irritated too and I would try to stick around and find out where the package was even if it meant getting a bit bolshie with the receptionist.

    Admittedly, living in a big city has made me more of a bitch than I used to be, but I don't think it's all bad.
    Ah, yes, I forgot about that. I also offered to call around to her colleagues as an alternative to taking down her info etc. but she insisted that I get up and go find her instead. I probably should have just done that, rather than consulting with her, but she seemed to want to be in control, so..

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    on the other hand "pretending to look" doesn't really sit well me frankly...but from the perspective of the visitor, Resonance was flaking out on her job, and she was ultimately able to get what she wanted, which just confirmed to herself that she was right to insist.
    Except she got it by calling Monique herself, which she could have done before she arrived and been told that the package wasn't ready yet and saved ourselves both the trouble.

    Or maybe she did, and Monique told her it was 'almost ready' when it still needed a good half hour of work. *grumbles*

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I've got to say that I agree with Marm. Maybe the visitor was slightly abrasive, but I can totally see myself being like that in that situation, with minor variations. (ie. I probably wouldn't have said "the receptionist says you're not at your desk" and then glared for 15 minutes).
    Um, those are pretty important variations imo.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I've worked in customer service, including call centres, where you're considered the lowest of the low. I quite routinely got told that I'd been incredibly helpful and courteous. Frankly, I don't think I was incredibly helpful and courteous most of the time, just doing my job and being routinely polite and professional. But I realised that people reacted to me that way because compared to the abysmal level of average service out there, I WAS being incredibly helpful.

    Sorry Resonance, I know this probably sounds rude, but my reaction to you would have been that you were being unhelfpul and slightly obstructive. I live in the UK and the level of customer service is so bad here, on the whole, that sometimes I've felt I had no choice but to yell. I mean, most people would probably start to yell if they'd spoken with the eleventh person at their bank, all of whom had given them conflicting info, all of it proving to be wrong. And you know what? By the time I've yelled, they've usually actually done something helpful for me, because they've realised that I'm mad and I'm going to make a big complaint or whatever. Sometimes it's the only way to get decent service. Which is pretty sad, but still a fact. I have no doubt that the people I dealt with then called me a big fat bitch when I hung up the phone, but at that stage I don't even care.
    I guess there's probably no way to tell, but I do my utmost to make sure this kind of behaviour doesn't get rewarded. Clinging rigidly to policies that under normal circumstances, I'd be happy to override however possible. It's mostly subconscious, really - if someone sets me off, the part of my brain that generates ideas and outside-the-box solutions just shuts down. However, in this case, it wasn't even at that level - I literally did not have the means to solve her problem.

    It's quite possible to be persistent and get what you want without ruining someone's day. I think many people fail to realize this. One suggestion is to do 10 minutes of research ahead of time and figure out what they actually can do for you, and then make them want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I do know what it's like to be on the receiving end. I have worked both in reservations for an airline in a call centre, and for another airline in customer relations, the department where people actually are legitimately allowed to complain and yell at you. I was always extremely professional, I think, though sometimes I'd scream in frustration when I hung the phone up. I know it's hard to be in customer service and dealing with difficult or irritable people, but one thing I refuse to put up with is bad customer service. And believe me, I have encountered people working in customer service who think they can get away with being rude, obstructive, accusing me of being rude or causing conflict when I was doing none of the above, etc. If there is one thing I will not put up with it's that.
    I'm not surprised. I wonder which came first: terrible clients or terrible service reps? 'Cause they sure as heck make a vicious cycle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverie View Post
    That totally depends on the type of office enviroment and Monique and her colleagues personalities. In some offices they will hire you to do great customer service but then obstruct you from doing it in every possible way. In some places people deem themselves "so important" that if you call on them to enquire about something someone else did or did not do or someone elses whereabouts they would call your manager to complain about you for bothering them. An example: An office with managers only. One goes missing when one of their largest customers comes by for a meeting about an order that has to be processed in a few hours for it to make production on time. There's huge money at stake. I go look for ANYONE who would know their whereabouts and I ask a few other manager's and it's like this person has dropped off the face of the earth. Suddenly they waltz in with takeout and a couple of magazines under their arm and situation sorted by accident. I hear that happens all the time from another receptionist. My manager got a complaint about me from someone who's lunch I interrupted asking if they knew where so and so was (very politely and descreetly). They said I should know where people are. That's my job...I was not however given the magic crystal ball that keeps taps on everyone. I got a complaint from the person who forgot the meeting, for "making him look bad with his peers" cause now people knew he was missing and I got yelled at by the client who took out their frustration about that person not being there at the said time. I am great at customer service. I have often been commended on handling the most difficult cases with tact and finesse and leaving a positive memory of the customer service experience even when there has been blunders by the company. And I have taken a hit for some superior actually faking it was my fault when knowing who was the REAL culprit might make an important client move their business elsewhere. and you know...sometimes giving too great of a service will come and bite you in the butt if the whole organization has not allotted enough resources (staff, time, great databases etc...) to provide one on a regular basis. I was really great in my job (our managers screened calls and listened to them for "quality control" so it's not a subjective estimate but based on feedback). I just happened to really really hate it because of being a customer service rep/ receptionist etc means you spen about 30% of your time as a public spittoon for people to vent their anger on you. I's extremely stressful and to me I just don't see any company worthwile enough to justify it to myself. If it was a charitable organization aimed at a good cause I believed in I could see myself be willing to put up with it, but a faceless mercenary corp. with the sole aim to continually increase the shareholders' share value and profits without social accountability or accountability to their workforce ...no thank you. Never again.
    Well, I have heard stories... this is that kind of office. I'm just a temp for now but the usual receptionist has pretty much had all of these experiences.
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  9. #19
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    Ah, yes, I forgot about that. I also offered to call around to her colleagues as an alternative to taking down her info etc. but she insisted that I get up and go find her instead. I probably should have just done that, rather than consulting with her, but she seemed to want to be in control, so..
    Ok, I do sympathize with you more now It's not fair of her to insist that you do something which is clearly outside of your reasonable job description (like leaving your reception unattended.)

    I have to admit that customer service is a button-pushing issue for me. I do understand both sides of the coin. There were times in customer relations especially when the person got really really mad and I felt kind of mad back at them, but I couldn't show it, and I really wished they would leave me alone but at the same time I could understand their frustration. I guess...I don't want to ruin someone's day. And especially by phone, I do try to be polite and to thank people and to be patient and all the rest. But I have seriously been pushed to the limit sometimes! The customer service standard overall is pretty terrible here so that just doesn't help.
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  10. #20
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    I agree you did the best you can do. I realize as a customer that receptionists and the like are also "gate keepers", used to create a barrier between the customer & higher-up employees. This means you're given limited power & decision-making authority when it comes to fulfilling the customer's wishes, and that you're often instructed to take messages from customers to the higher-ups, not allow them direct contact. This is not YOUR fault. These are NOT excuses you're giving, these are limitations of your power.

    The customer may have a right to be angry, but not at YOU, as you did all within your limited power. If the customer feels their objective was being blocked, then they need to realize it's the business' protocol & higher-ups' behavior. Monique has far more power than you; she CAN leave her desk, for instance. This power gives her more responsibility.

    As customers, we have to remember not to shoot the messenger. I'm only angry when it's someone I believe truly has the power to make a decision/take an action. Receptionists/sales associates/etc rarely have this power.
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