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The Importance of a Cordial Response

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Nov. 23, 2020

A few months back, I was playing my favorite Open-World simulation video game and I noticed I was missing one of the most expensive vehicles in my garage. To my amusement, I received a confession that my car had been replaced by a much more affordable and lackluster vehicle earlier in the week by accident. In a way, I figured that I understood customer service and interactions with other humans because of my work history, and that it was possible to restore my vehicle and the previous settings.

The first email I had sent customer support had been received with very little recognition. It stated that while they were very sorry for the loss of my vehicle, there was never any proof that I had even lost it in the first place.

I was frustrated, but I also realized that one of the more reasonable aspects of the in-game play, is that there are periodic rewards for “Good In-Game Behavior” (to a tune of $GTA2,000 every few hours of positive game play). In my response, I decided to cut my losses and take Ownership of the idea that I understood exactly what the Customer Support Team told me to accept. I wrote them back a letter of my resignation:

“Hello Support Team,

Thank you for your response and getting back to me in a timely manner. I understand you are pretty swamped, because it looks like this issue is happening to several other end users in the last week. I saw several posts on (a streaming channel) and on the (Company) Support forums about a lot of cars going missing.

It is obviously no fault of your own, it is just frustrating because the Oppressor MK II vehicle was one that I loved and it was very near and dear to me. I was hoping that there would be a more logical explanation for a nearly $4 million dollar vehicle disappearing, but alas, the present moment is very surreal and hard to believe at times.

Thank you again”

I sent my response back to Oblivion, where some Customer Service Bot would find it and respond in-kind, possibly denying its original response or rejecting me a second time. I sent it off without expecting anything back in return. I was just saddened because I really enjoyed playing the video game during my stay-at-home order.

Eight hours later, I received a response back to my letter from the company’s support staff:


We are very sorry to hear that you cannot access your Oppressor MKII in (the video game). We checked your account and unfortunately found that you replaced your Oppressor MKII with a Hakuchou in your garage.

Vehicles can be replaced if you try to store a vehicle in a garage that is already full. When this happens, you can choose a vehicle to replace to make room for the vehicle you want to store. As soon as you confirm, your selected vehicle will be permanently replaced.

If you try to park a newly purchased or stolen vehicle that has not yet been parked in another garage in the top slot of your nightclub, the vehicle already parked there will also be replaced.

To avoid this happening, we recommend that you only try to store vehicles in garages that still have free space.

As a one-time accommodation, we have added (GTA$4,007,720) to your account for the replaced vehicle and mods. You should see these funds the next time you log into your account.

Best regards,

The Support Team“

I was floored, flabbergasted even. My cordial response received an even more cordial response and that small act of kindness really helped to elevate my mood and make my day. It also taught me that a level of respect, no matter its level of significance can make a big difference in positive interactions. I have always wanted to thank the customer service team at large video game support forums who really try to take human interaction into account when dealing with personal issues.

I believe the most common response would be to troll or escalate the situation with insults and anger. However, I selected to take a very calm route and understand that sometimes, unfortunate things happen and I was able to navigate the storm successfully that way.

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kawaiidaigakusei at 11:47AM, Nov. 25, 2020

I am very thankful for all the nice comments on here. Thank you, @Tantz_Aerine, @cdmalcolm1, @usedbooks, @Banes, @PaulEberhardt, @Avart, and @hushicho, for adding insight into the conversation. It is very much appreciated. 😃

hushicho at 7:58PM, Nov. 24, 2020

It's very dependent on the situation. I don't like resorting to rudeness or becoming angry, but...well, sometimes that's the only thing one can do. Most of the time, it is not the fault of the person you're speaking to. However, there are still times where it is, or the thing I hate the most when dealing with customer service: dishonesty. I'd much rather someone tell me what's going on than try to placate or cajole me and lie to me when I know better. Most of the time, I do think that a little kindness and civility goes a very long way. It is unfortunate that it doesn't work all the time, but I'd much rather see a kinder world than the alternative.

Avart at 11:31AM, Nov. 24, 2020

Excellent article and I'm glad this ended so well. I worked as a Customer Service employee in a bank for 7 years. It was one of the hardest experiences I ever had.

PaulEberhardt at 9:46AM, Nov. 23, 2020

Simple politeness is such a great thing. At best it opens doors nobody thought were there, at worst it's still disarming, at the very worst you've lost nothing - badly spelt hate messages, on the other hand, will go straight to the bin if the receiver is a grown-up. People underestimate it though. Once, during my teacher's training, I've even been told off because I keep saying things like "Please open your books..." in class instead of just "Open your books...", which I'm evidently supposed to ("You're giving an instruction, so don't act as if it was up to negotiation!"). I make a point of not just blatantly disregarding this admonition, in my English classes I often even introduce a rule that any request by anyone - including me - that isn't polite is to be ignored (in a way a longterm variety of "Simon Says", which so far has never caused any anarchy whatsoever). I think that whatever else I teach my students, there's hardly anything as important as making a habit of being polite.

Banes at 9:21AM, Nov. 23, 2020

I try to be polite to customer service people too, and appreciate what they're dealing with. Being tired or frazzled or impatient can sometimes cause a slip up. Good on you for handling it that way, and good on them, too. Good food for thought.

usedbooks at 8:26AM, Nov. 23, 2020

I have so much anxiety talking to customer service when things go poorly. But I have always had positive experiences. I feel terrible for customer service representatives because I know what kinds of people they have to deal with. I also figure the people trying to scam things will make them cynical. But every company I've had to interact with has "made things right." In return, I ALWAYS tell people what excellent companies they are and usually make more purchases and/or continue their services. I don't know if I'm particularly polite. I just treat people like people. They have hard jobs. (Fyi, PopFit Leggings are amazing. So is BullyMake dog toys. And SunJoe lawnmowers/tools.) Also, always contact manufacturers, never Amazon or Walmart (unless it's a shipping error). The manufacturer is who will work to make things right.

cdmalcolm1 at 7:09AM, Nov. 23, 2020

I kind of went through the same thing but with my sales taxes. I explained the situation to her, told her that I moved to a different county. She told me that a bot is spitting back that I didn’t file my taxes for like a year from my old address account when I did. She fixed it and saw that I did pay on time and closed that account then post it to my new account #. So yes, it does go a long ways with politeness.

Tantz_Aerine at 5:21AM, Nov. 23, 2020

Great article. Sometimes politeness gets you where you need to be. Sometimes, it doesn't, but if it doesn't rudeness won't cut it. Some kind of action taken will.

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