I have worked in customer service based roles throughout my working life and so have dealt with my fair share of, um, “challenging” people who feel the need to complain. Now, complaining has its place. Sometimes a situation has not met expectations, or something has gone horribly wrong and a complaint is perfectly justified. However there are some situations whereby I am genuinely interested in the thought processes behind some of the questions and actions of those “challenging” individuals. For example, a lady arrived at my building to take part in a radio interview and complained when I refused entry to her dog (this was after ascertaining it wasn’t a guide dog which was very clear as it was a tiny lap dog. I don’t think they make great guide dogs). The lady then asked what she should do with the dog. I said that it was up to her but it wasn’t going to come into the building. She then suggested that I should get one of my staff to look after it. Errrr no. I know it may have appeared that I was being unhelpful but I was interested as to why she thought it was a good idea to bring a pet into a working office environment where no animals are allowed. I didn’t actually ask her what her thought process was as she didn’t seem like she would be amenable to giving me an answer. Another example was when we received an internal phone call from a “colleague” who complained when we wouldn’t give them Salman Rushdie’s phone number. Apart from the fact we were in the Facilities Management department and wouldn’t have this information anyway (unless he’d phoned us previously to let us know a light was out or something) it wouldn’t be the type of information you would give out willy nilly. These are the type of complaints where you start questioning yourself but then come to the conclusion, no, it isn’t me, it’s them.
Why have I waffled on about this? It is because I came across an article today (click here for the link) regarding some of the complaints which had been received by a cruise travel agency which made me laugh out loud. Complaints include the sea being too loud and the fact that the cruise liner Celebrity Cruises didn’t have any celebrities. Awesome. See, don’t you want to ask these people – what were you thinking?