Life Advice



Ask Amy: The customer isn’t always right

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

(February 2011)

Dear Amy: I'm responding to the letter from "Fired," the customer service worker who was fired after an angry customer took to Twitter with complaints.

I am a customer service manager, and I have noticed in recent years that angry customers have become increasingly more confrontational and aggressive.

While registering complaints through social networks can make us all more informed consumers and make organizations better at serving customers, it also can lead to outrageous abuse of customer service personnel, and cannot be relied on as fact.

Bad customer service shouldn't be tolerated, but more often I am seeing customers who come in looking for a fight, wanting to post that scathing review, wanting retribution for an unknown transgression.

It's not uncommon for customers to scream at us, insult us, and threaten to have us fired. They don't want resolution to their problem.


My co-workers and I have had customers take our pictures, and some post those photos with hateful commentary – and even our names – on Facebook and Twitter pages.

One customer videoed a conversation with a customer service representative on his phone and posted it on YouTube with the representative's name, referred to her as "a stupid pig," and encouraged further confrontation from strangers.

Many times, we've found online reviews of our organization that include unfounded claims of racism and theft, reviews that are sexually explicit and overtly racist.

– Management


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