The Stresses That Come With It

T’other day I wrote about how I was made to be Assistant Sales Manager, I’m already finding out how much of a stressful job it can be. I suppose in hindsight knowing what I know about the customer service industry I was foolish to believe there would be no stress involved.

People order a tent. Tent delivered. Sorted.

But naturally that’s not how it works. It astounds me how a company that’s been around since 1904, started up in my home town and is nationally recognized can be so utterly disorganised. It seems the other people that I started with like to dodge customers and do the “side tasks” that are left for them.

In any customer type role, the customer should be coming first. I should not have to turn up to work to find a massive pile of paper work to get through like I did yesterday. I had to chase up nearly 40 orders, nearly half of those were refunds. Refunds to people that had been waiting for their items between 2 weeks to 4 or 5 months.

The system isn’t obviously working. We oversold on some stock, stock that is no longer produced, 13 orders for an expensive tent package had to be refunded, NONE of them were happy about it as you can imagine.

Telling people last minute that we can’t fulfil their order, I’ve lost count of how many people said they were going to trading standards. Nothing will come out of it but that’s not the point, the point is we’ve provided very VERY poor customer service.

I’m not like the others, I can’t simply ignore it. I take everything to heart. I know I am absolutely not responsible for any of it and nothing is my fault because I’ve only been there a week. But I’m still not happy that I have been forced to provide poor customer service.

If the item isn’t in stock in our warehouse, rather than automatically sourcing the item from one of the 60 stores we have the order is left to sit there, rotting. The customers shouldn’t have to be calling us asking where their items are only for us to tell them they can’t have them.

Yesterday I plowed my way through all this paper work that was left for me, completed EVERYTHING. There were more happy customers than not by the time I was through. Came in this morning (A day which I was supposed to be off) and the first call I had was some guy yelling at me about his order. I had only been awake for 30 fucking minutes! I instantly knew it was going to be one of those days and it put me in a bad mood from the outset.

The calls just kept coming and coming and I was the only one taking the calls as the other three people that deals with the stuff I do didn’t start until 12:30. Bad planning there. But that’s what happens when your manager writes a rota out on a notepad and only keep it to himself.

Today I actually felt like my head was going to explode as I tried to sort everything out. Mid day soon arrived and the others showed up, I quickly started delegating work for others to do.

I came this close to telling a customer to just fuck off, you think to yourself, “Just fucking do one.” but on the other hand you know they’re not the ones at fault, the company is. If I were them, I’d be moaning too.

It’s just stupid how the company is run. Things need to change if they want to continue to do business, we need the website to tell us when there is no more stock, we need the stores to update their stock so when I’m ringing to try and source an item I’m not being told “We have none in stock” when it shows they have 14. We need the back end system to not just leave orders floating around and we need to be told when the items have been shipped.

The next time the owner asks me if the phones been ringing I’ll be telling him it’s been ringing off the hook from people wanting refunds. He keeps moaning how much money we’re not making, well his staff need to be doing their jobs and our systems need an overhaul.

The manager asked one of the girls to give a customer a call who enquired about a replacement tent she’d been waiting ages for, the one job she was asked to do and she didn’t do it. Didn’t give it to anyone else to do, just didn’t do it. So I had that person yelling at me, I told her we had her tent ready to be shipped but because we’d waited so long she just wanted a refund.

I love the people I work with, never before have I worked somewhere and I’ve not disliked a single person, but jesus, I sometimes think the laid back attitude around the office is hurting us more often than not.

Worry not though, I do still enjoy working there. Just had an extremely bad day. At least I’ll be getting a good wage at the end of it. Roll on tomorrow where I can knock myself out with alcohol before I go into work Sunday morning.

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Author: 'Ard Pete

Hey everyone, my names Pete, friends call me 'Ard Pete because... well, I'm well 'Ard. Currently in Chesterfield, England, currently working as an I.T. Technical Lead for BT Business and Public Sector; it sounds more glamourous than it is but I'm a dab hand with Microsoft products. I enjoy television, mainly any Star Trek, all of Stargate, Lost, anything Joss Whedon has produced, 24 and House. Favourite music includes; Mumford and Sons, Jason Mraz, Eminem, Chris Cornell, Ludovico Einaudi, Goo Goo Dolls, Muse, 30 Seconds To Mars basically a wide variety of anything that's real, I hate dance, trance and anything like that, I don't consider that to be music. Not much of a sports guy, I like Professional Wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, I can watch Football but only when I'm forced to watch it. Favourite author is Terry Pratchett, favourite film is Armageddon, favourite comedian is Lee Evans, favourite idiot is Karl Pilkington, favourite game is GTAIII, if there's anything else you wish to know, don't hesitate to ask. I'll more than likely not be busy.

24 thoughts on “The Stresses That Come With It”

    1. It’s not often the main cheese himself is in, but the next time I see him I’ll definitely be telling him. He always comes over for a chat, I think people shy away from telling him things, but it can only improve his business.

      1. Eh, you already know my play on it in the Dark Globe Forums, lol

        So I’ll just say this, most people I used to work with in my Sales Jobs were scared to death of “The Big Cheese”…

        Maybe part of it was because they could hear him yelling at “A/R” about Collecting on people who didn’t pay their Bills (That all changed later by the way, no more yelling)

        But I really liked our owner, and talked to him all the time.

        In fact I ended up being on the “Marketing Committee” prior to us hiring an Actual Marketeer… And yes, that is a real word, a “Marketeer”… Get that dude some Mouse Ears, lol

        In the End, not only did he let me move to any Sales Department I wanted to go, leaving Data Entry in the dust, but it ended up being me that Created our Company Motto, “Customer Driven Innovation”, as we had more Research and Development Engineers in our company than any other Orthopedic Brace Company…

        And, “Listening to the Customer”, was our Number One Strategy… At least it was when they brought me into Sales.

        Nuff Said

        KICK A$$!! AND TAKE NO PRISONERS!!!

        DarkJade-

  1. Well done. You have a real opportunity here, Pete. Take this company by the b***s and give it a good shake. It needs you – needs someone in charge with a plan and the head to do it. You may not be everyone’s buddy at the end of the shake, but you’ll be a damn good boss and be really going somewhere.
    Hang in there. NO CUSTOMER F**K YOU’s!!! Remember what it feels like to have a negative bank account?!?
    Zo 🙂

    1. Too rate, they’re pissing about trying to sort out an app for the web site when they need to be fixing all the other problems first! Priorities!

      I still have a negative bank account haha, hopefully that’ll be sorted soon! No prisoners!

      1. But you won’t for long, yes! 🙂

        I have a 2nd Interview with a large CC company Monday also handling inbound calls for corporate holders. I could be griping soon about my day. 🙂

        NO PRISONERS 🙂

  2. Poor Pete! I agree with Dribblingpensioner, have a word with the highest person on the corporate ladder and tell him after one week that you really like it but that you’ve made some observations that could save the company a lot of money. I think he’ll appreciate it more than be annoyed?
    I think you’re right about the system needing an overhaul. You should know exactly what’s in stock at any given time.
    You must be so frustrated. Good thing you’re super calm! Haha!
    Hope it gets better!

    1. My second day they had me calling stores for stock updates, it was funny when they got arsey coz then I could say, if you did your job properly to begin with I wouldn’t be phoning now

      My calmness was definitely tested today!

  3. Hi Pete,
    I used to be hired by owners of dysfunctional small businesses solely for the purpose of going into their business, evaluating employee productivity, redesigning all blog descriptions, retraining employees and kicking ass. I was very handsomely paid to do so. I wouldn’t accept the job of “cleaning house” without the authority to hire and fire. It’s my experience that about 20 % of the employees in any business produce 80% of the work. It’s called Pareto’s Principle and I’ve blogged on it in my personal blog. What I did was kick the asses of everyone of the incompetants, slackers, fakers and socializers out the door. I replaced them with new employes who I trained to put the customer first.

    In any business situation like the one you describe, provided you have the backing of the owner you can make a huge difference.

    1. Hey TT, thanks for the visit! I’d love a job such as the one you used to have, I have heard of the Pareto principle before actually, I can’t remember where I’ve seen it (perhap it was on your blog). I’m definitely going to write up an action plan for the chief exec, he may not listen to me because of my inexperience but I’ve been in enough companies to know how a company should run it’s not rocket science after all, whether he listens to me or not is up to him. It’d be his loss if he didn’t and at least I did my job 🙂

  4. Wow you went from not having a job, getting a job you love, getting a nice sounding position, to being completely stressed about the entire situation. This was in the span of what, 2 weeks? Once you get used to it I’m sure things will calm down a bit in your head.

    1. A week, it’s a fast paced moving environment obviously haha. Once I know what the fuck I’m doing I’ll be calmer. Today was alright though, only a few phone calls with it being Sunday and I got to have an hours sleep.

      1. Awesome! Congratulations! 😀 Now if you could please dish out some interview tips :p

      2. Haha, just be “calm” and you’ll be fine 😛

        Seriously though, I don’t know how I do well in interviews now. If it’s just me and one or two people interviewing me I’ll do really well and I have the mentality of “I don’t give a shit if you give me the job or not” so I’m not really fearful of not getting it anymore which let’s my personality shine through.

        Last year I had an interview in front of five people, it was a joke, it was only for a night time call centre position and I had every manager under the sun battering me with questions. Needless to say I didn’t get that job! And I’m glad.

      3. Wow! honestly that would’ve sucked! I hate night time shifts at call centres! I had to do that for just one day and it was like a living nightmare. In short, I freaking hate call centres!

        But I am going to take your advice! I am a recent graduate, and I am not really very good with interviews! 🙂 I mean I think it seems fine but a company called to tell me I was in the top two and didn’t get selected! What does that even mean? It was an entry level position and they gave it to someone with more experience. I mean… HUH?

      4. No clue how companies work, some of the people I’ve seen that have jobs I wonder what their boss was smoking the day they hired them. One of the interviews I just turned the question around.

        Interviewer: “Why do you want to work in customer service?”
        Me: “…Why do you want do work in customer service?”
        Interviewer: “Oh well, I like the ambience of the room and talking to people as well.”
        Me: “Yeah, that’s exactly what I was going to say.”
        Interviewer: “Ooh kay… Why should we hire you?”
        Me: “Why shouldn’t you hire me? Why should I come and work for you?”

        I just pulled shit like that all the way through and I got that job too!

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