Hello? Can I Help You?

I really admire telephone customer service people. There are plenty of tough jobs in this world, but dealing with people in need of customer service over the phone is right up there with President and 7th grade biology teacher.

I recently went on a tour of a call center where I meet the leader of a valiant crew of customer service folks. After hearing about the thousands of calls handled every day, I learned that they have all kinds of certifications for their CSRs (which stands for customer service representative).

Some CSRs are certified in new accounts. Others can speak Spanish. But the one certification I wanted to sign up for immediately was "Irate."

Boy, could I use that one.

To be certified for "Irate" you go through a special training in dealing with people who are no longer capable of rational thought. People who can't accept that even if you make their problem better, you can't make it never have happened in the first place.

I know how they feel.

I imagine a day in the life of an Irate Certified CSR is like being surrounded by three-year-olds. Three-year-olds who have just been informed that they can not eat a cookie even though they were assured that they would get to by someone else who didn't know there were no cookies left in the house. And then that someone took both sets of car keys.

Or the three-year-olds who want to play with the one toy in the house that requires a type of battery that is apparently only used on the space shuttle and does not understand why we can't fix it NOW.

Which got me to thinking. Maybe I could open up a side business for training CSRs for their "Irate" certification. After all, I've got two Olympic caliber irate trainers on my payroll. In a single day I handle thousands of irate issues from two dissatisfied diners, annoyed artists, and unhappy urchins – my girls.

One problem. We'd probably lose half our students on the first day.

So my hat's off to those Irate Certified CSRs. They face a long line of angry calls everyday. And for them, far too many of their customers won't do what mine will do all too soon.

Grow up.