Listening means you not talking

I guess it might have something to do with the fact that I only have 3 days left at work here but I've been really in a "rant mode" lately.

One of the things I'm noticing is that rude customers are bugging me more. But I'm also noticing that there's a lot of little rude things that people do that they probably don't even realize they're doing.

Frequently customers cut off my opening spiel on the phone. This is particularly annoying if they cut me off before I give my name and then proceed to ask who they're speaking with. Or if they may cut you off before you get to say anything and then immediately ask if it's the internet department (which again, I mention in my opening spiel). Another related thing I experience on a regular basis is customers who start with asking how I'm doing (which is nice) but then proceed right into talking about what their problem is before you get a chance to respond. I think a lot of people have just adopted, "Hi how are you today?" as a standard opening line but have forgotten that it's a question that they should give time to be answered. If you honestly cared about how I'm doing then you'd give me the time to answer. If you don't care (as these people obviously do not), then don't bother asking, it's that simple.

Related to this is people who will cut you off in general or just not stop talking long enough for you to get a word in edgewise. What I find most annoying is the group of people who have mastered the art of pausing for just long enough for you to think you can start talking but then cut you off as soon as you try to get something out. Often the customer will go on at great length about things which are completely unrelated to the problem at hand. This is especially annoying if you then finally manage to ask them what the error message says and they then proceed to either not have it or omit all of the pertinent information. Often it goes something like this, "yeah the error says 'Some errors occurred while processing the requested tasks,' blah blah blah." Well every error in sending and receiving mail in Outlook Express starts that way so this is completely useless. If the customer then proceeds to start talking again about more stuff (related or not) it's particularly annoying because you just want to get the chance to ask them what the complete error message says so you can determine what the problem actually is.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are customers who expect you to instantly know what the problem is without them giving you any information. Usually this goes something like, "yeah my email isn't working, what's wrong?" Unless there's a system-wide outage there's really no way that I can answer that question. If I don't even have your account up yet then I can't tell what's going on with your connection which means that I don't know anything about the problem. I think a lot of these customers think that just by telling you the problem or error message that you'll instantly know what the problem is. Unfortunately, it doesn't usually work that way. Even with the complete error message there's not always a lot of detail to tell you exactly what the problem is. Troubleshooting is all about a process of elimination. You check settings and try different fixes until something works. Now a good tech will have the experience and instincts to narrow things down pretty quickly but they still have to start somewhere. Usually you have to start with the easiest or least intrusive fix and go from there.