demanding / difficult (customers)

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epistolario

Senior Member
Tagalog
I'm reviewing the definitions of the adjective demanding. After reading them, I realize that I'm not sure anymore if it's correctly applied to the following situations:

1. A lot of people here are working in the customer service department catering to clients oversees (usually first world countries). Some callers would shout and swear or cuss at the representative for various reasons: delay in the delivery, excess charges, slow Internet, incompetence of the agent, etc.

Why did you leave your call center job when the pay is good?
- The callers are very demanding.

2. Some local stores have customers asking to speak to a supervisor, which was unheard of before international call center companies started to appear and eventually mushroom here. They noted that these local call center agents simply wanted to take out their anger on those who work in local stores.

What can you say about your customers at store ABC?
- It is difficult to deal with the customers, especially call center agents because they are very demanding.

Is the word demanding correctly applied here? How about difficult?

- The callers are very difficult.
- It is difficult to deal with the customers, especially call center agents because they are very difficult.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would use "rude."

    "Demanding" is not necessarily a negative if there's a requirement for quality and it's stated with respect ... although frivolous requests and intractability can quality as demanding or difficult.

    I don't know that I understand #2. I can imagine people getting fed up with no-nothing, stock-answer phone answers at call centers and wanting to avoid the same thing at the store so they ask for a senior person, but I'm not understanding the interaction between call-center staff and store staff.
     

    epistolario

    Senior Member
    Tagalog
    Thanks, Copyright. I'm sure that irate will also work on both scenarios.

    As for #2, there are two possibilities. Let's say John Doe works in a local call center, and he usually gets an irate or rude customer shouting and cursing at him.
    After receiving his salary, he buys a smart phone at a local computer store, but it turns out defective a few days later:

    1. The incompetent tech support says that he cannot fix it and the phone cannot be returned or exchanged. John asks for a supervisor who is then able to fix it.
    2. The tech support is competent but he's just following the rules. But John is unreasonable and he wants the tech support to bend the rules, so he asks to speak to a supervisor.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, "irate" is good too.

    As for #2, I don't see John being unreasonable, so I can't think of a negative word for him. If you're dealing with junior staff who don't have the knowledge, experience or authority to solve your problem, it's only reasonable to ask for someone who has all those things and may take a different approach to your problem. Indeed, you're doing the retailer a favor by doing your best to go away satisfied with their service, rather than leaving to tell all your friends what an incompetent, rip-off place it is.
     

    epistolario

    Senior Member
    Tagalog
    I've reread your answers and thought about it. When we hear some people describe customers as demanding, I think some people will associate it with their collective experience with the customers.

    The word irate is also used a lot here, but some people would describe their customers as demanding. It appears that being rude or irate is only the consequence of being demanding.

    I believe that there are at least two types of demand. Let me give you one example for each:

    (1) Reasonable: The product or service matches the description or even surpasses the expectation of the customer.
    (2) Unreasonable: The customer expects a refund or replacement of the product after the warranty has expired.

    I think customers are labeled demanding because of the following examples of customers' expectation, depending on the product or service that they are paying for:

    - Internet speed equal to or faster than the speed advertised. If I avail myself of 20 Mbps and pay the corresponding monthly fee, it should never be slower than that.
    - The charges on my credit card should not be more that what I've authorized. There should be no hidden charges.

    I think these are reasonable yet can be unrealistic sometimes because the system is not perfect. I think it's okay if the Internet speed becomes slower once in a while, but it should not be almost every day.

    Maybe agents would normally consider these as demands whether the expectation of the customer is reasonable or not.
     
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