Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Mean Zone

What it is like to be a Customer Service Representative? I wonder how CSR's deal with all of the hostility and frustration that is directed toward them every day.

Part of my dealing with the consequences of yesterday's car accident has been speaking to lots of different vendors and service providers. A car accident will have you tied to the phone for hours. You would think that living in the information age would get rid of some of the tedium behind the insurance claim process, but this has not been the case so far.

I have had to speak to: 1) a claims intake CSR 2) an claims assessor 3) a claims adjuster 4) the claims adjuster's assistant 5) my insurance agent 6) my insurance agent's assistant 7) 3 body shop owners 8) 2 body shop owners' receptionists 9) a AAA reimbursements manager 10) a AAA reimbursements supervisor 11) a clerk at the police department 12) a rental car agent 13) my doctor's receptionist 14) a Costco Tire Center mechanic.

This was all the result of one day's due diligence. I have a new manila folder with the words "Horrible Accident 1/1/8" written on the tab. It is already packed with paper and receipts and copies of forms and scraps of notes and about a pound of my flesh. I am already burned out and exhausted from speaking to people with sub-normal IQ's, people with unintelligible accents, people who just don't give a damn and are giving out ridiculous, contradictory information, people who are just plain asses. I am trying to be polite and patient, but my head still aches from the accident, and I am reaching the end of my rope. I feel myself getting into The Zone. The Mean Zone.

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry explains to the irritating car rental agent (who did not hold a car for him, even though he had a reservation) what the word "reservation" meant? And she replies "Sir, I think I know what the word means." And Jerry icily replies "No. I don't think you do." That's The Zone. The Zone is the place where you have just about had enough bureaucracy and bs and just want to verbally slice the CSR to ribbons. You find yourself being nasty and sarcastic and terribly, terribly impatient. You simply cannot take one more inch of red tape or one more ounce of crap. You are done.

I am now residing in The Zone. And I'm not very happy.

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