Don't you EV-ER...

There is one thing in all my years running support centers that I will NOT tolerate. Do not EVER call up one of my technical support engineers or analysts and berate them with foul language. When I worked for an insurance company, the company actually instituted a policy that allowed our folks in a technical support or customer service role interfacing with a customer to end the call after warning the customer that such language was not acceptable. I loved this policy. In fact, we had internal customers (employees) who spoke to people on my team in such a manner and they were also treated in this manner. Each time this occurred, I or the sales person responsible for said insurance agent would have those hard discussions. We would explain that they would be no longer allowed to interface with our service centers if such abuse continued. I have been at my current company for 2.5 years now and never had a single instance. That is, until this morning.

This morning, I got an instant message from the team lead telling me that he's was on the phone with one of our engineers who was called directly by a client/partner manager from another organization with whom we do business. This person who just the day before had sent a very nice email through the appropriate channels praising the work of this engineer and thanking us/him on behalf of his customer, now called my engineer directly to ball him out. My engineer made a very human mistake. A mistake that we had told this client/partner manager could happen if expected to work in the manner they wished for us to work. This person used foul language and made my engineer feel as if by his small mistake, the whole contract could be lost. My engineer had sent a note to myself and the team lead resigning which lead to this conference call we all jumped on to discuss the issue.

This engineer is a good engineer. He is a professional. He is a veteran of the United States Army and served at a time of war. He worked for the OEM and trained most of their engineers on the equipment we support. He did not deserve, nor does anyone deserve, to be spoken to in that manner. Now, I have a call into the person who did this to my engineer. He and I are going to talk about how no one EV-ER has the right to talk to one of our engineers in that manner. I am going to explain to him that when he's feeling that way, his message is to come to me. And we'll see how he feels about delivering said message to a woman. Luckily, he doesn't know that I know all the potty words and use them frequently...I just don't use them to berate others in a professional environment such as ours. I find them more colorful and flowery for day-to-day use and not for calling people things unnecessarily.

Today, I lost a good engineer because someone forgot to act professionally. To me, this goes back to the basics. And everyone should know the basics from when we were all in Kindergarten. I guess someone forgot the Golden Rule today!


  1. Ohhhhh....I don't blame you for being pissed! How horrible for that engineer! I am sad he didn't give you the opportunity to resolve the matter before he resigned though. :-( WOW! I think we as a society have forgotten simple human courtesy, kindness and respect. How very, very sad. :-(

    PS Want I should trip the customer or do you just need help with the body after you give him a talking to?

  2. While this was the final straw for him, it's never one thing that makes us make big decisions. It just takes one thing to force us over the edge. I had a very nice talk with the very bad man and he and I came to an "understanding"...I am sure that he won't EV-ER make that mistake again. I was cordial and professional, but clear!

  3. Good for you! Just a shame that he was that final straw. :-(


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