I am afraid to try and calculate the number of minutes I spent on the phone on “hold” this week. Our family recently switched cell phone and cable companies without realizing that it would require oodles of time on the phone with customer service people in order to get everything set up and the billing information correct. I think I had to call at least four times just for them to get my email address right.

But I noticed something though in all of those conversations that kind of broke my heart a bit. Almost every time the person on the other end of the line started a new sentence, they said: “please bear with me a little longer.” At first, I thought it was just one particular representative. And then I noticed it was happening with all of them; it didn’t matter if the call center was in Dallas or Mumbai. They also apologized a lot and thanked me for my patience profusely. There was no question in my mind it was part of their script to use with all customers. Even their online text chat support people used the phrases.

I am convinced that these lines exist because so many of the calls they get are from angry people who think that the service representative is the direct cause of their issue. I used to work in customer service, and it brought back some memories of customers who took out their frustrations on me from time to time. And it broke my heart a bit because as frustrated as I was with the process, I knew that I simply had to “bear with them” until my issue was solved, whereas they have to deal with irate customers every day of the week.

It has long been my belief that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat customer service people, whether they are over the phone helping you sort out a technical problem, taking your order in a restaurant, or asking you if you would like a refill on your coffee.

One thing that I always remember when working with people is that Jesus told us the last shall be first and the first shall be last and that the greatest among you will be the servant of all. If we want to be great, if we want to fulfill the gospel call, then we need to serve everyone, especially those who are already serving.

– Rev. Mike


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