We all love to hate some of the awful customer service reps we see in movies and on TV because sometimes we can relate so closely it hurts. Here are some of our favorite customer service reps and why you never want them anywhere near your customers (except one).
It’s hard not to love the receptionists in both the original Ghostbusters and the recent reboot. They each bring a unique brand of humor to the situation, yet neither is really good for your customers.
Janine Melnitz’s apathy and sarcasm help her balance the rest of the team’s unadulterated enthusiasm for catching ghosts, yet you’d never want her answering your phone and talking to your customers the same way. Her abrasiveness would have customers running to your competitors faster than you could imagine.
Chris Hemsworth’s Kevin is less offensive, but basically useless. His completely clueless attitude is hilarious, especially from Thor himself. This is also the antithesis of what anyone’s customer service should look like. Kevin didn’t even know what the Ghostbusters did after he took the job!
2. Office Space
While Office Space may be a near perfect satire of the workplace at the turn of the millennium, it also gave us the easily relatable “just a moment” answering line, again and again. Too often it seems we are talking to a recording or a broken robot and are left feeling unimportant. Don’t ever let your customers hear the same canned answer from call to call. Listen and adapt to your customers, and don’t shove them on hold right away every time.
3. Nick Burns - Saturday Night Live
The computer guy with a fantastic mustache and killer knowledge of everything computer related. Yet, he is impatient, a know-it-all and generally not a great person. Expertise is something that shouldn’t come with a chip on anyone’s shoulder. Instead, bring a great experience when your customers are in need of help. The next time they are ready to make a purchase, they will think of you first.
4. April Ludgate
While Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation may have been a strong Libertarian that was trying to dismantle the federal government from the inside, it doesn’t mean you should want a receptionist like April Ludgate. Her cold tones and systematic dismantling of any semblance of organization have left the parks department director without a single meeting for months at a time. While Marchtember Oneteenth may sound like the perfect day for a meeting, good luck trying to find it on a calendar.
5. Pretty Woman
The poor front desk customer service in Pretty Woman is so satisfying, as we get to see Julia Roberts get her sweet revenge. While we just love rooting for her, she should never have had to go back in the first place. It’s important to never judge any of your customers, or else you could lose their business, or at least the commission.
6. Soup Nazi
Soup is serious business, and it’s important to take pride in your work, but not to the point the Soup Nazi did in Seinfeld. Jerry and George cross the threshold of his restaurant terrified to make the wrong move or lose their soup. While the hilarious setting leaves all of us wondering if the soup is worth it, the loss of customers certainly wouldn’t be.
Honorable Mention: Kenneth Parcell
We didn’t want to fill this list with only bad examples of customer service. While Kenneth Parcell might be focused internally at 30 Rock, he is a prime example of who you want at the forefront of your customer relations. No one has the drive, energy or lifespan of the mythical Kenneth. His smile and willingness to go the extra mile (or many miles) for his coworkers are a prime example of how we should all approach customer service. Provide an experience they didn’t dare hope to ask for and you’ll have lifelong customers. Kenneth is the true magnificent peacock of customer service.
As fun as it is to look at these famous examples of terrible customer service, this should never be your reality. To build excellent customer service, focus on your expertise, willingness to go the extra mile, and always keep one eye on both your needs and those of the customer. If your customer service needs extra support, a professional answering service can bring expertise and friendly interactions with your customers when you can’t.