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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003

    Double standard on language in tickets (little rant + advice)

    Bit of background: We've introduced a term into our TOS that basically says if you are constatly rude to staff via swearing/abusive language we can terminate you account.

    Anyway today we got a ticket which a customer replied to with something like "B*******. That won't work etc" and now personally I felt this crossed the line over abusive langauge though not directly at staff so I pulled the customer up on it and just said please don't use language like that to which I got a sarcastic reply I just let slip and fixed the issue anyway and now hes happy as larry.

    So now I'm sat here thinking

    1) Was I right to pull the customer up and give a warning as I think it crossed the line.

    2) Surely if I had replied to a customer using B******* I would soon here plenty of ranting over how "We are abusive to customers"

    (Feel a bit better now)

    Russ Foster - Industry Curmudgeon

  2. #2
    and that's life
    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

  3. #3
    I believe it was right to pull the customer up, however you need to make sure it is done tactfully.
    Something along the lines of "it is difficult for our professionals to help you if you keep being unprofessional and abusing our staff. Please refrain from the offensive language and we will be happy to help you."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Bay Area -USA
    The bad thing about the internet is sometimes people forget its a person(s) on the other end still.

    I feel ya, and I think you did nothing wrong - good even.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    New York
    It is very unpleasantly when someone has a customer that uses offensive language. At the same time support or customer service operators should be very polite. No matter what a customer says.

    That's the rules! Most people however are courteous when the have a correspondence with a service provider. For those who are not I can suggest to providers to stop the service and to refund them.

    This way a customer could pretend that they have been ripped-off and they will not put your business reputation on doubt.

    But it is not a good idea to close a customer's account only because they might sad bad words on your operator. Provider should work to resolve such problems and both sides to be contented.

    Best Regards

    Best Regards
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    I got a help offer one time that went "wut can i help u with???"

    Does that count?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    EU - east side
    At the same time support or customer service operators should be very polite. No matter what a customer says.
    Easier to do when handling a ticket, harder to do when using the phone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    State of Disbelief
    Originally posted by Rax
    I got a help offer one time that went "wut can i help u with???"
    You then assess a translation charge for deciphering what it is they're trying to say. Tell them you had to hire a 13 year old IM specialist who "spoke the lingo".
    Having problems, or maybe questions about WHT? Head over to the help desk!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    We have the same kind of clause in out TOS regarding abusive language towards staff. We have never had to invoke it and to be honest I'm not sure what I would do in that case.. I guess it depends alot on exactly what the abuse was or to what degree.. Either way I make it a point to stress the importance of being professional to the customer. Generally I find when you respond with courtesy no matter what the circumstance you usually get a favorable response.

  10. #10
    You give no indication of if this is chronic issue or not. We had a client that sent us a few support tickets on an issue that was not supported and we helped him with it. He sent us a glowing response about how great we were. It was the type you would love to use as a testimonial. He broke something else later that day and sent us a very nasty email calling us every profane name you can imagine and cancelled his account.

    Here is the great part. He had several sites hosted with us and only cancelled the one. Six months later he signed up a new site and sent us an email that he had never had an issue with us and wanted bygones to be bygones. The kicker is that he left our link on all of his sites the whole time.

    Bottom line is that unless it is chronic I would let it go.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Montana USA
    We have always found and I continue to train staff that the best reaction to rudeness is compassion and politeness -- the more the better. Through 5+ years and thousands of clients, we have never terminated or suspended an account for rudeness alone.
    John Masterson
    Former Hosting Company Owner

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Lansing, MI, USA

    Re: Double standard on language in tickets (little rant + advice)

    Originally posted by vaserv
    1) Was I right to pull the customer up and give a warning as I think it crossed the line.

    2) Surely if I had replied to a customer using B******* I would soon here plenty of ranting over how "We are abusive to customers"
    1) Sure. If you felt the need to enforce your TOS.. by all means. It is your TOS

    2) Feel free to call me whatever you want.

    For the most part, things need to be kept professional, and I will agree to that... BUT, there are exceptions.

    We have one client... and I am the only one who his tickets go to because of this, but it's fun none the less... who every time he submits a ticket (which is rather infrequent... 1-2 a month) he comes up with an even more outragious crazy/lude/outlandish 'non de plume' to sign as.

    Occasioanlly I will do the same (though always polite, just silly) and it seems to make him have even more fun.

    Everyone is different, and while I will agree that everyone should remain CIVIL, we've had clients use 'harsh' words, but their tone was over all civil and reasonable, which I felt was quite acceptable. Some people are natual potty mouths... as long as there's no menace... just smile and laugh.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Philadelphia, Pa
    Originally posted by ldcdc
    Easier to do when handling a ticket, harder to do when using the phone.
    Yes, and even over tickets it's sometimes hard

    but alas, we have to hold ourselves together. Because THEY are the ones paying US.

    However, someone who habitually does it, and it's in our TOS, I would have no problems cutting lose. We provide you a service. But we are allowed to decide with whom we want to do business.

  14. #14
    I've given the boot to a couple of rude customers. That's how you get a good customer base. The abusive customer either quickly stops being abusive or leaves. The money they pay will be replaced with a new customer by the end of the day.

  15. #15
    We have a clause in our TOS/AUP outlining that abuse towards our staff is unacceptable.

    If I see any tickets come in where a client is being abusive to our staff, I will be sure to update that ticket to remind them that abusing staff will not help their situation, it does not improve productivity and is in breach of our AUP. After this most customers are apologetic and do not abuse staff again. Luckily we do not have to deal with many abusive customers...
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  16. #16
    having worked in customer service, i can tell you first hand that it is not just being on the internet that makes people "forget" that they're talking with another person.

    Customers yell, scream, curse, and insult ALL THE TIME.

    Generally if they curse casually I ignore it. If they curse AT me I warn twice and disconnect the call on the 3rd time.

    Usually warnings will get most people to take a breath. Others it will cause to purposefully curse. Either way they're off the phone and are unable to resolve thier problem. I've seen the same customer call and curse at 5 or more people (getting hung up on each time) before realizing they have to act like a civil person to get help.
    I reserve the right to be wrong at all times

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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Flint, Michigan
    I think you were completely in the right here Rus.

    I have several different groups of clients that I handle. A large majority of them are older (meaning 30-60's) weekend racers. They are always very kind, polite, and just plain nice reguardless of the issue. I honestly think some of them are _too_ nice, but don't tell them I told you that.

    I also do quite a few sponsorships for clans (mind you they get hosting, no ads, for free), and you would not believe the times I've been cussed out for stupid things. The simple fact that their hosting is free and their troubles are caused by uneducated webmasters make me not even think twice before suspending their account for a week, deleting it the second time. If I had a paid customer use an unreasonable amount of profanity in any type of support request with me that would be the end of that account (99.9% of the time at least).

    Now if for example a machine went down because of me doing something stupid, or even if it was down because of a network outage, for 24 hours, I would expect and welcome profanity in the support tickets because I know it would be hard to keep myself from using it in their shoes.

    The clause you have is good and should stay, just so long as no techs abuse it (I had one tech that wanted to suspend a client simply because he said "what the h*** is going on with my hosting?" when in truth he never removed the index.html file and uploaded an index.php file (default directadmin screen was showing still). To something like that I let it slide, it's not a big deal.
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