Everyone has heard the saying "you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar". I have heard it many times and have understood it to mean it pays to be nice. I am also a believer in karma - meaning you get what you give.
In my mind, I have combined these two statements into one as a mantra of 'to get respect, you need to give respect' and respect entails (in some part) being nice. This, I believe, is especially relevant in customer service. The name says it all, you are in service of the customer. No, that does not mean bowing down to them; but it also means treating them with respect and decency. Also, it is the customer who has to complete the transaction because without the customer's actions there is nothing.
All of this to say that I do not understand why people - especially in the customer service industry - are so rude to customers. You are not doing me any favors - i am the one ordering and I am the one paying. I am not asking for your blood nor your first born; all I am asking is that you do your job with a smile and respect to others - apparently that is too much to ask.
I have worked in the customer service industry - I have had stuff thrown in my face, I have been cursed out by frustrated customers, and have had people come in and talk to me as if I was beneath them. The entire time any of these actions were occurring, I stood there with a smile and still showed them respect. Just because they were disrespectful that did not mean I had to stoop down to their level and be equally disrespectful. I showed up everyday with a smile on my face and respect for the customers in my heart; I was choosing to do this job and any baggage or issues I had with my life or my job were that - my issues! They had nothing to do with the customers so why take it out on them.
Today, at the same company, I had two complete opposite interactions of customer service. The main person we were dealing with couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating and bent over backwards to help us. His colleague, whom we needed to interact with for part of the transaction, was the complete opposite - a complete ass who was rude and disrespectful. We had to get some things from this colleague, and we could have gotten more - but why? Why would we choose to provide our business to someone who is rude or disrespectful to customers - when it is those customers who are the key to his business' success!! Had he been nice or respectful, we probably would have bought all the extra stuff he was trying to sell us, but we decided to stick with the man who showed us respect - by respecting him back and rewarding his offering of being nice and respectful.
One provided vinegar and the other provided honey -- which to you is more appetizing?!?!