How Customer Service Can Take a Toll on Your Mental Health

A lot of people unjustly look down upon people in customer service roles. This can make the job of a customer service worker even more difficult. It is an industry that requires workers to be pleasant with the public, even if the public is not pleasant back. Being denigrated at work all day and having to stand there and take the abuse with a smile on your face is enough to push the mental health of anyone over the edge.

Customer Service Workers Are Extremely Underappreciated

You’ve probably heard someone say it. Maybe you’ve even said it yourself. “How hard is it to get a simple cup of coffee right?” This question and others like it are heard all the time in the customer service industry, and it’s really not okay. Customer service workers are most often making minimum wage. Many work multiple jobs and/or are in school. They often have a lot on their plates.

Yet, if they make one simple mistake, many people treat them like they have committed an unforgivable sin. Accidents happen by employees in all professions, and many have much more dire consequences. For example, doctors do sometimes make mistakes and yet they are not yelled at like customer service employees.

Many treat customer service workers as people they think can be disrespected. Even in situations where a customer service worker does everything right, they are often abused. They don’t make any mistakes, they are friendly and helpful with a smile on their face, and they even go the extra mile to ensure that their customers are happy. Yet, a customer who is having a bad day still feels like taking out all of their daily frustration on them.

People can be unusually cruel to customer service workers and speak to them in ways that they would never speak to any other figures in their life. Meanwhile, a customer service worker is supposed to put on a smile, take the abuse, and apologize. It doesn’t matter if they were at fault or not because the mantra of customer service is that “The customer is always right.”

The Customer Is Often Wrong

The truth of the matter is that the customer is not always right. Anyone who has worked in customer service knows that most of the time when there is a point of contention between an employee and a customer, the customer is, in fact, wrong. However, employees are not allowed to tell the customer that in most positions.

If you haven’t worked in customer service, then imagine having a person come up to you and tell you that two plus two equals five. Now imagine not being able to tell them they are wrong but instead being forced to agree with them. Now imagine that happening several times a day for years of your life. You can probably see how frustrating that would be, and anyone who has worked in customer service knows how frustrating that is.

Other Factors

Getting mistreated by customers is only one of the things that negatively impact the mental health of a customer service worker. Other stresses that employees in this field often face are:

  • Low pay
  • Unfixed schedule
  • Other jobs
  • School
  • Fast-paced environment
  • Constantly on your feet

While many people look down upon customer service jobs as easy jobs that anyone can do, that simply is not true. Yes, many customer service roles do not require formal education, but that certainly does not make them easy. This perception, though, gets reflected upon the workers themselves and can lead to deep self-esteem issues.

People struggling at their customer service job, or struggling to balance that job with the rest of their lives, are made to feel like failures.  Society makes them think that if they can’t even get things right working in customer service, then there is no way they could succeed in other areas of life.

Customer service jobs are rarely very rewarding, either. You might occasionally have someone who really appreciates the work you do and lets you know about it. But for every customer who does that, there are 10 others who make you feel bad about your work.

Workers’ Compensation

Unfortunately, many different things can impact the mental health of a customer service worker, and mental health is important. When people think about workers’ compensation, they typically think about a worker suffering a physical injury on the job. However, workers’ comp offers broader coverage than that.

There are provisions in workers’ compensation insurance that also cover mental health issues. Any worker, starting from the first day on the job, is eligible for workers’ compensation. If you work in customer service and feel that your mental health has been damaged by your job, you should consult with a workers’ comp attorney to explore your options in filing a claim.

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