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    Calling Them Out(age)

    | Plymouth, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Theme Of The Month

    (It is the final few hours of my twelve hour shift. We have a scheduled system outage, which customers have been warned about for some time. There is a message whenever a customer dials, long before they have to select all of their options to reach us, informing them of the outage and the fact that apart from giving information, no one on the company can perform any action as there are NO computers. As a result, we get maybe one call every hour.)

    Me: “Hello, you’re through to the billing department. How can I help you today?”

    Customer: “I would like to pay my son’s bill, please. He’s been cut off.”

    Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but there is nothing I can do for you this evening due to the scheduled outage. If you would like to call back tomorrow—”

    Customer: “Isn’t there someone else who can do it?”

    Me: “No, I’m sorry. The whole company is out at this time.”

    Customer: “What about in India?”

    Me: “I’m sorry. As I’ve said, the whole company is out until about midday tomorrow, as per the message—”

    Customer: “What about a manager? I need to pay this! My son’s phone has been cut off!”

    Me: “I understand your frustration, but there are no computer systems at all in the whole company. That means Plymouth, the call centres in North Tyneside, the fraud department in Bristol, and our colleagues in Mumbai.”

    Customer: “This is completely unacceptable! How am I meant to know about this? What is my son supposed to do? He is cut off! You are deliberately not helping me! I demand to speak to your manager! I—”

    Me: “You know what? I am a very good CSR. I do my job well. I am tired of having this conversation with someone who is being willfully ignorant. You have been warned about this outage for the last month, and to get to me you had to bypass at least two messages informing you of the problem. I have explained several times that the entire company is out. And you are completely right, I don’t care that your son was cut off, because you have had over a month to make this payment and it is extremely late. If you wish to avoid this situation in future I suggest you pay on time. Good night.”