Friday, July 1, 2011

Take A Deep Breath and Shove It

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere.
-"Mad World" by Gary Jules

Some days, I want to come to work and not have to be the Answer Man. I work in Parts and Technical Support, and sometimes it's too much for everyone to expect me to know everything.

Customers, supervisors, coworkers, different office divisions, original and replacement manufacturers: everyone expects me to know everything all the time. Well guess what! I DON'T.

I said last month that customer service was not for the faint of heart, but for parts and tech you need a sponge-like memory, stout shoulders, and a very long fuse.

First off, I'm not perfect. Never said I was, and anybody who makes the claim that I am or that I said so is either lying, delusional, taking my words out of context, or an idiot. The same goes for knowing everything.

Secondly, my resources are not complete, and those that I do have are not perfectly organized. For this reason, it takes me a while to find things, and just because I cannot does not necessarily mean we don't sell or have it.

Thirdly, we literally sell tens of thousands of products, and I doubt even our Purchasing Department Manager can claim to know them all. Our Industry Specialist has been baffled and proven wrong on occasion, and he's been working in this industry for at least as long as I've been alive. There's no possible way for me to know as much as he does, and there's no possible way for him alone to take all the calls that come through our department. Be happy I'm not on my first year.

Finally, I'm human, just like my supervisors and support staff, and the original manufacturers and suppliers. None of us perform or understand everything all the time perfectly. That's the problem with language. The phone connections aren't perfect either, as they were programmed and wired by humans as well. You, as the customer, are human, whether you like to admit it or not, and also work, perform, describe things, and interpret things we say with a margin of error. All those margins of error can add up and translate to bad advice. It happens sometimes.

Stop expecting me to do more. When asked if I can help, I don't say "Yes." I say "I'll do my best," and if that isn't good enough for you, you can go somewhere else.