to want to tell the customers to shove their laptops up their arses

(56 Posts)
lappy Mon 04-Mar-13 17:54:11

I work for a very customer service orientated company. Any problems that arise can be quickly dealt with and almost always after one communication. I do generally love my job, it's a great company with great people but what's been starting to really get on my tits recently is the same old phrases that customers are starting to throw in. This is mainly emails but now it's starting to creep on to the Facebook page.

Such phrases as:

'not the quality I expect from you'
'not good in this economic climate'
'disgusted with the service' ...this is usually over something very trivial and non-intentional! Disgusted is more often than not spelt as discusted.
'imagine my horror' ... again usually over something as life-shattering as a parcel arriving with a slightly bashed corner'
'as a valued customer' apposed to what?
'as a loyal customer' ..if you say so.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't complain if something has gone wrong, you definitely should so it can be put right but why is everyone using these same old phrases? Where have they picked them up?

I'm getting really bored of them now.

FillyPutty Mon 04-Mar-13 18:32:14

They probably don't look at complaints emails all day long like you do. YABU to expect original, non-hackneyed prose.

AnnaRack Mon 04-Mar-13 18:38:47

They are hackneyed phrases but try and see it from your customers' point of view, tgey are trying to vent their frustration and get something done about their problem!

aldiwhore Mon 04-Mar-13 18:40:08


YouTheCat Mon 04-Mar-13 18:43:59

I haven't yet had to complain about any service, but when I do I shall be sure to be interesting and entertaining in the hope that someone in CS might get a giggle and move me up the queue a bit wink

saintmerryweather Mon 04-Mar-13 18:45:04


CockyFox Mon 04-Mar-13 18:47:09

That is the appropriate way to complain. State your surprise at the poor service/product you have recieved while acknowledging that the company is much better than this.
What you prefer a foul-mouthed outburst?

CockyFox Mon 04-Mar-13 18:48:04

* what would you prefer

TomArchersSausage Mon 04-Mar-13 18:48:29

Blimey they're complaining about things that have gone wrong, not trying to win the Booker Prizeconfused.

Go through their complaints with a red pen and write 'could do better C+'wink

montage Mon 04-Mar-13 18:51:21

Mail them back and request that they frame their complaint in more interesting and diverse terminology. Let them know that they will be ranked, and attended to, in order of originality.

I think sometimes people hide behind standard phrases when they are not necessarily in their comfort zones or are getting defensive in advance.

"imagine my horror" is great though - please do let them know you can't quite visualise it and ask that they forward you a picture of their horrified selves. Like shock

Montage, I love that suggestion - perhaps you could ask for different media - photo/collage/sculpture!
OP, YANBU, people complain at the drop of a hat, and never think how/by whom it will be received. I had one person complain that we'd moved an event (we emailed to tell her, but she 'doesn't check email' hmm) and failed to put a note on the door - the door of the place where the event was NOT HAPPENING. Just for her.
If you can accept that you'll never EVER please everyone, you will find life much less stressful and horrid. Took me bloody ages, but a lot calmer for it! Have a wine.

JenaiMorris Mon 04-Mar-13 19:33:44


I always go hmm whenever I read those phrases and I'm not in your line of work. They appaul me wink

Bearcrumble Mon 04-Mar-13 19:37:47

I bet you work for John Lewis. I know that recently their customer service on the online side of things has gone downhill. I think it is mainly the courier services they now use, the heartsink ones, you know - but they should really use a good courier or do it themselves.

Mia4 Mon 04-Mar-13 20:05:24

YABU, they probably got off an internet site, a template or just from what they now. Be lucky you didn't got what my friend who worked for a building company in customer services did, screaming, swearing, verbal abuse and threats. She was stressed and ill and really upset by it. I expect the old politer ways here would have been awesome to her.

lappy Mon 04-Mar-13 20:15:12

I don't work for John Lewis, but for 'a smaller but similar company' and one that has plenty of fans on this site wink. I thought I probably was being a touch unreasonable but feel better now having got it off my chest. Thank you for the wine Humpty.

Really don't expect our customers to go to the trouble of composing an original piece but please leave out the dramatics!

Just thought of another one. Of the people that have complaints there seems to be an awful lot of them who are either retired engineers or are married to retired engineers confused

Oh and YouTheCat humerous and entertaining emails always much appreciated thanks

I work in customer services and they really piss me off. Along with

"ruined my Christmas" you were missing an egg tray love. Piss off
"I pay your wages" no you don't.
"lost my faith" you've had it 11 months. You need an engineer repair
"not fit for purpose" you bought a fridge freezer that wasn't suitable to be kept in a garage. We told you it needs to be in a room that's between 10 and 32 degrees. You kept it in a freezer. It is fit for purpose. You bought the wrong appliance dickhead! You had it six months before it went wrong. I'm not giving you a full refund.

I work in kitchen appliances. And some people are stupid.

MrsGeologist Mon 04-Mar-13 20:20:15

DH and I call it 'complaint speak.'
It's often flowery, and in reality, no one speaks like that.

Zavi Mon 04-Mar-13 20:37:36

YANBU. How annoying for you to have to listen to the same tired old phrases being trotted out the whole time. When I complain, I prefer to say things like:

"Oi, big tits! I bought this pile of sh*t here 10 months ago and now look at the fuc*ing state its in. Call that quality, huh? Well, I call it fuck*ng pants. Now get the manager down here to give me my money back RIGHT NOW. Before I get CROSS"

Obviously I only call them "big tits" if the customer service representative is a female.

If it's a male customer service representative I usually address them "Oi, Scrote"

It doesn't half cheese me off when they start saying things like "There's no need to swear/shout/be rude"

truandrakni Mon 04-Mar-13 20:47:56

Don't forget my current favourite "I spend a lot of money in here" Really makes me cringe

RandallPinkFloyd Mon 04-Mar-13 20:50:23

How about, "I would like to know how you intend to compensate me for my inconvenience?"

I like the outrage, I always picture them frothing about it to their poor beleaguered families. It must be exhausting to be so dramatic about every little thing.

Everyone seems to think they're Martin Lewis these days grin

I work in a different type of customer service, but I have to agree that complaining people do have some very hackneyed terms. Many are frankly ridiculously over anxious about what in the grand scheme is a small and solvable problem and if they truely were as upset, 'horrified, as they exclaim then perhaps a trip to the gp is needed tbh.

people think that the more they ham it up the more they will get out of you. I also find that everyone is an expert or married to one. Or there's some sob story telling on how their fault has led to a tragic event.

NumericalMum Mon 04-Mar-13 20:56:46

I bought a lot of appliances from an online shop a year ago... I bought them all over the space of a few months. This company has phoned me almost daily since December to try and sell me their "very reasonable" replacement cover. I have the phone number as "do not answer" on my phone, but i did one day by mistake. I tried to be polite. It was when he explained to me it was only £8 a week as if I was an idiot for the 50th time that I shouted. PHew I feel better now, thanks!

lappy Mon 04-Mar-13 20:58:39

It sounds like it's the same everywhere!

Just thought of another one I really, really can't bear. It's when they say that the service they've received is an 'absolute joke'

I just think get a grip. This is not life and death. Here is your money back, now go away and bother your husband/wife/partner/cat.

Bluestocking Mon 04-Mar-13 21:03:46

I am amused by all the disgust there is around - posters on MN are always describing themselves as disgusted by things that might be irritating or disappointing but probably not actually disgusting.
grin at fryingpantoface's missing egg tray ruining Mrs Disgusted's Christmas.

foxache Mon 04-Mar-13 21:04:15

Yanbu, it's Points Of View language, why oh why grin. When customers used to come in for refunds with either faulty or damaged stuff, it was always worse when they had a long, detailed, drawn-out story. It would mostly end in "...and I'm so disappointed". Nine times out of ten we'd refund or exchange whatever, but I somehow felt it was cathartic for them to have their say and for someone to listen to them hmm

When I was a student, I wrote to B&H about a defective cigarette I'd half smoked. Our shared house were desperate for free fags, so all hunched over a typewriter and wrote the most cringeworthy complaint letter, 'I was horrified, could have killed me (yes, ironic), my trust is destroyed'. One free pack and a stamp that got us.

Truffkin Mon 04-Mar-13 21:13:58

DH's job involves some customer contact and he always favours the amusing / ironic / clever complainers grin Also, the customer care team at work send free vouchers to people who compliment the products much more often than those who complain!

maddening Mon 04-Mar-13 21:15:56

Although maybe vent at your employers for providing complaint worthy products and services.

Fakebook Mon 04-Mar-13 21:48:16

YABU. I wish I knew which company you worked for. Wanting to tell customers to shove their laptops up their arse? Charming.

LineRunner Mon 04-Mar-13 22:24:51

But if people could actually just say, 'May I have my money back, please, the product is poor?' and you just said, 'Yes,' then there wouldn't be any need for further words, would there?

It's the 'customer service' verbiage that began the annoying crap.

'We've never had a complaint before.'
'Well you'll have to take that up with the manufacturer.'
'Can you actually prove you didn't break it yourself?'
'Did you not take out the extra additional optional insurance at the pint of purchase?'
'I'd claim on your household insurance, to be honest.'

I used to work in a bank. the letters of complaint were very funny. grin

giraffesCantDateDucks Mon 04-Mar-13 22:27:52

Company company your service was shit,
it left me feeling down a bit.
Please sort the whole thing out,
else I shall feel the need to scream and shout.
If you don't fix it without fail,
I will write a rant to the daily mail.
Please compensate me as soon as you're able,
else I will become rather unstabe! xxx

How is that for a complaint?

Grinkly Mon 04-Mar-13 22:35:54

Aaah - but we have the last laugh.

We can leave a CRITICAL REVIEW online - heh, heh, heh....

YesIamYourSisterInLaw Mon 04-Mar-13 22:36:41

Dear lappy
I am discusted by this post, it is not the quality I expect from you and I think in this economic climate you could do better than to slag off your valued and loyal customers.
Imagine my horror upon reading this post
Please make my compensation cheque payable to :
31 filled with horror road

Thanks grin

cumfy Mon 04-Mar-13 22:40:45


Sometimes you do want to say 'get a fucking grip'

If you work in the public sector, you get the joy of people invariable starting their complaints with 'as a taxpayer....'
I have noted quite a few 'discusted' people on MN of late.
Agree about JL's new couriers, BTW!

BOF Mon 04-Mar-13 22:52:58

I think it's because lots of people have little experience of writing formal letters, so they fall back on clichés. It's actually quite difficult to write a letter of complaint- just look at how many tweaks the perfect email gets on here when people ask for advice.

That said, I'd love to hear some funny stories, if anyone has any.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Mon 04-Mar-13 22:53:20

YA soooo NBU. I almost started a thread like this last week after dealing with some extremely annoying customers!

A lot of the bank complainants liked to try and charge us £25 for the letter they had written to us. As the bank charged £25 unpaid fee for letters to them re returned cheques. confused

CrystalTits Mon 04-Mar-13 22:59:03

DH recently returned a cheap pair of trainers with hard, slippery soles. I know, you get what you pay for, but in an attempt to exaggerate the unsuitability of the product, he said to the CS lady, '! nearly fell over and...errrr...broke my hip.'

He's only 43. She was hmm

BOF Mon 04-Mar-13 23:03:09
BumBiscuits Mon 04-Mar-13 23:41:02

Perhaps customers should use the medium of dance to express their complaint or you should find a job you can be happy in

Mspontipine Mon 04-Mar-13 23:46:15

If we're correcting spellings it's 'opposed'.

foxache Mon 04-Mar-13 23:49:23

BOF, that's brilliant, Jane was very patient. And yes I agree that it's hard to write letters of complaint (or any letters imo) so cliches are often easier.

meddie Tue 05-Mar-13 00:29:31

My friend who works in a childrens hospital recently had an emergency admission overnight. They have a macdonalds house but the reception is only open during the day so they put the parents up in an emergency overnight room (basically just a bed) until a room could be arranged the following day

They received a formal complaint via PALS the next day that:
a) the room was too small
b There was no tea or coffee making facilities in the room
c) there was no en suite toilet

The room was right next to the parents sitting room that has 2 toilets, vending machines and a microwave, kettle and fridge and a small supply of emergency packs, which contain tea/coffee/sugar/wet wipes/toothbrush and deodorant that the nurses supply by fund raising.

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Mar-13 00:34:30

Foxache I love "Points of View" language! I see it on MN ALL THE TIME and I HATE IT.

"Why oh why..." I want to say of FUCK OFF with your unimaginative shite.

LittleEdie Tue 05-Mar-13 00:56:38

meddie shock

IRCL Tue 05-Mar-13 01:24:14


The last company I worked for was very big on customer service.

I had one lady who bought an unreturnable product due to hygiene reasons. I even made a bloody point of telling her this. Low and behold she tries to return said item threatening me with a long call to head office there the ones that make through soddin rules in the first place.


I work in the complaints department of a council. I see complaints ranging from very serious issues (social services) to the most petty things. The petty complaints are always the most dramatic. My favourite was the man who complained that the council were doing nothing about his neighbours' cats going in his garden. He was horrified, distressed and at his wit's end. Another man was obsessed about his bin collection being missed in 2010 due to snow. It was collected a week later and his was still writing to us in October 2012 about it.

My favourite complaints are ones that quote Article 8 of the European convention on human rights. Usually in relation to council tax or recycling.

Lifeisontheup Tue 05-Mar-13 07:38:15

We had a complaint from a man about his relative who had been involved in a car accident at night in the rain.

She'd been taken out of the car on a spinal board and apparently we hadn't taken her jewellery off before immobilising her thus wasting valuable time at hospital. He was shocked and horrified at our incompetence.

lappy Tue 05-Mar-13 09:06:45

BOF - that letter was brilliant!
YesIAmYourSisterInLaw I think I received and answered your letter last week didn't I smile
Giraffe - a voucher is on it's way to you.

poozlepants Tue 05-Mar-13 09:21:01

YANBU. That would do my nut in.
I've noticed people do like a bit of the dramatic at the moment. Nine times out of ten when I click on OP here that says "I'm devastated" it's usually someones Mother or MIL has put their bins out without permission.

TheCraicDealer Tue 05-Mar-13 09:40:40

The only time I've ever complained about anything was when a dress I got from Asos spilt right up the bum while I was in work. I then repaired it and it spilt again below my new seam while I was out for dinner with friends.

I like to think I brightened that customer service person's day with my email- "you can imagine my embarrassment, which was only increased by the fact I was wearing flesh coloured knickers", "thankfully I was able to effect an emergency repair with a stapler from the office once the customer brought this to my attention", etc.

SecretNutellaFix Tue 05-Mar-13 09:54:04

I highly recommend the site

Some very funny and some not so funny tales of customer rudeness and complaints.

vladthedisorganised Tue 05-Mar-13 10:44:46

YANBU. People really have no idea how to complain properly - I spent a few (long) years in customer services and the thing that got me was the emotive language, and the way people made it so personal..
"imagine my horror..."
"I was truly appalled.."
".. nothing disgusts me more than this.." (^Really^? So pictures of slaughtered Syrian children leave you cold, but the fact a computer warranty doesn't cover a cracked screen disgusts you beyond measure? Hmm..)
"I hope you're happy that you, personally, have ruined my business, my personal life and any prospects I may have had.." (had sent them a notice that their warranty had expired the previous year)
"I want nothing more than to ruin your life as you have ruined mine" - see above

If I ever have cause to complain I try to:
- Set out what happened in non-emotive language
- State what I'm not happy with (use 'surprised' and 'disappointed', not 'shocked' or 'horrified' unless really talking about chainsaw-massacre stuff)
- Say what I want and why - "Given that I did not receive the goods in an acceptable condition, I would like to have a working replacement sent to me within the next x days and a freepost address where I can send the faulty goods back to you. If this is not possible, please let me know what your company policy is on these matters and how the situation can be rectified as soon as possible."
- Thank them for their attention

Calabria Tue 05-Mar-13 12:16:45

Phew. So glad I didn't use any of those phrases in the email I sent the other day complaining about the lack of pasta in my pasta snack pot.

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