Finally Getting With The Program

, | FL, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I work in a call center for a telephone company in their DSL technical support department. Apparently my “phone voice” is very close to the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system’s. At least once a week, I get a call like this:)

Me: “Good afternoon. Thank you for calling [Company]. My name is [My Name]. How may I assist you today?

Caller: Are you human?

(At this point, I can usually hear some frustration in the customer’s voice, so I say something that they’re not expecting to break the ice.)

Me: “No, sir/ma’am. I am just a better programmed computer…”

‘V’ For Victory

| Portland, OR, USA | Bad Behavior, Health & Body, Language & Words

(I work in a call center that offers referrals for mental health clinicians. This lady has been chewing my ear off about how she can’t find anyone in her area, despite there being around 50 clinicians within 20 miles of her.)

Caller: “I have to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist. NO NURSE PRACTITIONERS!”

Me: “Okay.”

Caller: “I need to see someone who is an actual professional.”

Me: “Well, nurse practitioners are licensed professionals. They actually can prescribe medication, whereas a PhD can’t.”

Caller: “Well, I don’t want to deal with someone who couldn’t make it in medical school.”

Me: “No psychologist in your area went to medical school, either.”

(This goes on for a few minutes, until I find her a clinician that fits her picky standards.)

Me: “So the provider’s name is Tivoli. ‘T’ as in Tom, ‘I’ as in Idaho, ‘V’ as in Victor, ‘O’ as in—”

Caller: “Hold it, hold it! What the h*** do you mean ‘C’ as in Victor? Are you brain-dead or something? There’s no ‘C’ in Victor!”

Me: “Well, for one thing, there is. It’s the third letter. And for another, I said ‘V’ as in Victor.”

Caller: “Oh. I thought you said ‘C.'”

Me: “That’s why I gave you a phonetic word. To avoid that very confusion.”

Caller: “Still… *she had nothing to follow this*

Removed From Reality

| MN, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Remove me from your mailing list.”

Me: “Okay, certainly. Nay I have your last name?”

Customer: *rattles off long unintelligible letters*

Me: “Er, I’m sorry. Could you repeat that a little slower?”

Customer: “Just remove me from the list!”

Me: “I’d be happy to, sir, but I need your name and the address you’d like to remove.”

Customer: “You know that already! You should be able to look me up by the last three letters of my last name right?!”

Me: “Uh, no. I can’t. May I have your name and address to remove?”

Customer: “NO. JUST TAKE ME OFF THE LIST. I KNOW YOU HAVE A LIST!” *disconnects*

Coworker: *who heard the whole thing and is laughing hysterically at my bewildered expression* “I hope he thinks we actually removed him and then gets a ton more in the mail!”

We Apologize For The Convenience

, | ON, Canada | Bizarre, Crazy Requests

(It is Thanksgiving Day. I am calling a customer who left a message that he wants to ‘complain.’)

Customer: “I pay for a 24/7, 365-day contract and you’re closed just because it’s a holiday.”

Me: “Actually, we’re not closed. In fact, you and I are talking on the phone, right now.”

Customer: “I think I should get a credit or something free because you’re not open.”

Me: “Except that we ARE OPEN.”

Customer: “Well, I’ve wasted my time calling if you’re open because you’re supposed to be closed. How are you going to compensate me?”

Me: “Just to make sure I understand: You’re calling on a day that you think we’re closed, in order to complain that we’re closed in an attempt to get something for free, but when you realized that we’re open, the exact thing you wanted, you’d like to complain and get something for free because you wasted your time calling to complain about something that didn’t happen?”

Customer: “YES!”

Me: “Was there a technical problem that you needed help with in the first place?”

Customer: “No! I only called to complain.”

Me: *bangs head on desk*

Customer: “Well, I think I at least deserve an apology!”

Me: “I’m, uh… very sorry that we could not inconvenience you today.”

I Don’t Speak Racist

, | USA | Awesome Workers, Bad Behavior, Bigotry

(One of my teammates is calling me to transfer a customer’s call. I’m born and raised in California. She is of Asian descent, and although her English is quite good it’s not her first language and she has her native accent.)

Teammate: “My customer says he wants to talk to an ‘American.’ He won’t talk to me at all.”

Me: “Seriously? It still amazes me how bigoted some people can be. I’m sorry; I’ll be GLAD to take the call.”

Teammate: *trying to stifle the tears brought on by the customer’s abusive comments towards her* “Thank you; I’ll bring him on.” *pause* “Sir? I have my banker [My Name] on the line. He will be taking your call from here.”

Me: *with a very slight Eastern Indian accent* “Hello, thank you for calling [Bank]. How may I help you today?”

Customer: What the f***! I said I wanted to talk to a god-d**** American! I DEMAND that you get me a blue-blooded American on the phone, RIGHT NOW, or you are going to be in a WORLD of hurt. NOW!”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. The person that transferred your call to me was BY FAR one of the most qualified bankers we have, and—”

Customer: “YOU SHUT UP! GET ME AN AMERICAN NOW, or I swear to god, you’re NOT going to like what comes next!”

Me: “I’m as American as they come. Born in the US, and lived here most of my life. Unfortunately, I don’t share your ridiculously myopic, bigoted views on other cultures, and find it unlikely that we’re going to be able to communicate.”

Customer: “What?!”

Me: “We just don’t speak the same language. I don’t feel—”

Customer: “Hey! I talk English, just like you! I’m not gonna let one of those [racial slur] or [even worse racial slur] look at my—”

Me: “—see, that’s just it. I don’t speak that language. Since we don’t offer language translation services for your particular language, I’m afraid I’ll have to disconnect at this point. Have a great day, and thank you for calling [Bank].”

Customer: “Hey! Wait! I need—” *click*

(One of the supervisors (that doesn’t like me much) listens in on the call, and afterwards immediately reports me to management. The next day, I get pulled into a closed-door meeting with the center’s head-manager.)

Manager: “I’m sure you know why you’re here. This was completely inappropriate; you know very well that ALL customers are due the same level of service, no matter what their particular beliefs are, and what you did was so out-of-bounds, I’m not even sure where I would start in filling out the paperwork to let you go. So, since I don’t know where to start, I suppose it wouldn’t make much sense to even try. That being said, PLEASE keep yourself in check. We’re a professional organization, and our customers expect the utmost respect from us when they call, okay?”

Me: “Yeah. I’m sorry. If it happens again, I’ll just get a supervisor.”

Manager: “Sounds good. Glad we had this talk. Hey, on a more personal note – good job! Don’t EVER do it again, but good job. All the managers have listened to it, and we were all rolling with laughter – we couldn’t believe that you stood up to him like you did. Just… you know; don’t do it again.” *wink*

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