I think the customer I got on the phone tonight at the store was a bit of an SS. We will ship items to customers all over the country, and she is in TX, we're in NJ, and had ordered something Friday, knew Monday was a holiday, and was calling for the tracking number.
Ok fine, but only the managers have access to that info, so I very politely told her I'd be happy to take her info, and have the manager look it up, and someone would call her back. I did say, however, knowing we were super busy, that it might not be tonight, but definitely tomorrow, that she would receive a callback. Never once did I use any tone of voice other than my normal one.
I guess my answer wasn't acceptable to her as she then proceeded to tell me I was rude, and how the lady she spoke with when she ordered her item was soooo much more pleasant, and if i was having a bad day, don't take it out on her, and that I needed to put someone else on the phone! I said "Ma'am, I'm very sorry if you thought I was rude, it was not my intention at all" (I know I wasn't). she then announced "I WILL get a call back tonight" several times, and hung up on me.
Ok. the only thing i might have done differently was to simply say i would have the manager look up the info, and call her back as soon as possible. The reason I didn't do that was sometimes when they're busy, and I've asked for stuff like that from a manager, they've told me they are busy, and it will have to wait. So i didn't want the customer to get mad if we said we'd call today, and did not.
I think she wanted us to fawn all over her, and say, oh yes, i will find that out right now, and call you back in the next 10 minutes, or whatever.
and my co-worker who overhead me, said i was in no way, shape, or form rude.
I was so angry, and this was the climax to an already frustrating day, plus i suspect some PMS, she made me cry. In 8 years, that's the first time its ever happened. but on a good note, we were not busy, had an extra person on, so I got to leave an hour and a half early.
An observation I've made over the years of dealing with the public is that people often throw around the words, "rude" and/or "mean" when they do not get the response they want. The person called those words is actually perfectly polite and nice, but they get called "rude" and/or "mean" when they cannot give the person what they want right this minute. As an example, I had someone call me "rude" the other day when I told her that the registration website for the event she wanted was not live yet. Our conversation consisted of this:
Her: "I'm trying to register for XYZ but there is no link on your main website? The email said to try the main website." [NOTE: The email also said that the website would not be live until February 15. She was calling on February 14.]
Me: "Yes, that's correct. I'm sorry for any inconvenience, but the website will not go live until tomorrow."
Her: "What do you mean? I wanted to register today!"
Me: "I'm sorry, but as the email indicated, the website won't be live until tomorrow. If you give me your name and number, I'll call you back and let you know the minute it's live."
Her: "That's not what I want. I want it live now."
Me: "I'm sorry, but it's not live now. I can call you back--"
Her: "You are SO rude!"
I think it's in part due to the "customer's always right" ethos that has taught the irrational and demanding that they can get their way by accusing the employee of those two behaviors. And in part it's due to the entitlement culture that is so prevalent in society today that enables people to believe they can get what they want if they complain, pout or have enough temper tantrums.