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    A Feint Complaint

    | London, England, UK | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (We’ve been really busy lately. Senior management won’t approve any extra staff, so we’ve been getting a lot of abuse from customers. Because most of them want to complain about the wait before letting us get on with fixing the problem, this just puts our wait times up further.)

    Me: “I understand completely, sir. You’re right. I don’t think this is at all acceptable. I’ve been quite happy working here for the last few years, but I’m now looking for other jobs. I would, frankly, be delighted if you would put in a formal complaint to our senior management about this, because I assure you, all we want to do is fix our users issues, and instead we’re wasting a lot of our time trying to calm people down about the wait. None of us are being allowed holiday requests, we often don’t get our breaks, most of us are coming in when we’re ill, and we’re all doing overtime,. The management won’t approve any extra staff because while customers are quite happy to yell at us about it – people who, let’s be realistic, can do NOTHING about the situation – nobody seems to want to complain officially so that something might be done. About the only thing I can think of to say that might improve how you feel about the wait times is that at least you don’t work here.”

    (After a brief silence, the caller outlines the problem.)

    Me: “Right, so you’re having the issue mentioned on our recorded message which tells you to download the patch from our web site. I take it you’ve done so and it hasn’t resolved the issue?”

    Caller: “No. They just put those messages on to get people off the phones. They never change. It’s always ‘download the patch’!”

    Me: “Well, you’re right about that in a way, yes. We put those messages on so that people who have the issue mentioned don’t have to wait in a queue to be told they need to install the patch, and thereby increase the wait time for our other customers with issues that take more investigation. I assure you, the messages are changed regularly to reflect the current situation.”

    Caller: “What do you know about the messages? You don’t have to listen to them!”

    Me: “Actually, I do. I call every line to ensure that the message is clear right after I record them, which, incidentally, was on my lunch break yesterday. I’m surprised you don’t recognise my voice, as you’ve been listening to me for the last hour.”

    (Unfortunately, the caller still didn’t put in a complaint, and we still don’t have any more staff.)