« Ready For the Grind | Main | Blog and Response Schedule »

That Glib And Oily Art

The world runs on charm. The easiest way to get ahead is to be a smooth talker, a person who knows what to say. It doesn’t matter what you say, so much as how you say it. Look at the whole concept of customer service.

When you try to contact someone about a problem for a product or a service, what you reach—most if not all of the time—is the customer service department. That, as you can tell by the name, is a department for dealing with customers. They are not the department that builds things. They are not the department that programs things. They aren’t even the department that delivers things. Customer service doesn’t have the power to resolve much. If Customer Service Representatives were vital for the basic functions of a company, they would not have the time to answer phones. Most of the time, the things that customer service tells you, are things you could have figured out yourself. Who doesn’t feel a little silly when told, “You don’t have internet access because your modem is probably broken.?

Last year I worked as a “Customer Service Representative,? answering phones at Schwans Food Company. I was told that Schwans’ Customer Service Department had the highest customer satisfaction rating in the country for a few years now. And yet, transferring calls was the only thing that was in the power of the department to do. What customer service really did was soothe ruffled feathers. Being able to actually do something to resolve the situation was rare enough to be happy surprise. Although most of the time nothing immediate happens, if the person answering the phone is “glib? enough, the customer is happier. How the customer responds doesn’t correlate with what is being done to resolve the problem as much as it correlates to the manner and phrasing of the words of the customer service representative.

A lot of a person’s qualities aren’t visible, so people can get judged, and misjudged, on what shows. Mostly, it is the Gonerils and the Regans of the world that are highly regarded.


The world runs on charm, yes, but is it always the charm that we hear about? The way I see it, those who do things and say things that others don't necessarily want to see or hear get the press. If you think about it, most people remember the bad situations and bad things that they have heard over the good. Between the news and gossip, society overlooks the people-pleasers and focuses in on those who speak up.

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everyone said what was needed to be said and not just covered up their feelings. Cordelia obviously did not lie and say that Lear was everything to her. Would more issues be addressed and problems be fixed?

I also work in a customer service-based job (not exactly an over the phone helping people job, but with customers none-the-less) and find it rather hard to be fake and nice to people who definately need a reality check. Maybe that is where we as students and citizens in this world need to work to change things in society. We are at a point in time in our lives where we can change things, and maybe we should.