(I work in an office for accounts receivable that takes payments, sets up payment agreements, etc. One night, I am working late on the fourth floor with a customer on the line when the building’s fire alarm goes off for a scheduled routine drill.)
Me: “Okay sir, your payment just went through. Your confirmation number is–”
Customer: “What’s that noise?”
Me: “It’s our fire alarm. They’re going to start clearing the building for a drill, so I need to give you this number quickly.”
Customer: “Is your building on fire?”
Me: “No, sir. It’s just a scheduled drill. Your confirmation number, if you’re ready, is–”
Customer: “Should I call the fire department?”
Me: “No, sir. It’s a drill. The building is not on fire.”
(I finally manage to give him his number and am finishing up the call.)
Me: “Thank you for calling finance, sir. Have a good evening.”
Customer: “You, too! Don’t burn to death!”
Me: “Good morning, this is [name] at [company]. How may I help you?
Caller: “May I please speak to [co-worker]?”
Me: “He is not in the office today. May I take a message?”
Caller: “No, I just wanted to confirm if he got my email. Can you have him call me and let me know?”
Me: “Of course, may I get your name and phone number?”
(The customer proceeds to give me a phone number, the spelling of her name, and a detailed message.)
Me: “Okay, I have everything. I’ll be sure to give him your message as soon as possible.”
Caller: “No! I didn’t want to leave a message. I just want him to call me back.”
Me: “But you do want me to tell him it’s regarding your email, correct?”
Caller: “Yes! And don’t forget to let him know about the change in time.”
Me: “Okay, I’ll give him the message.”
Caller: “I’m not leaving him a message! I just want you to give him that information!”
(I work at a start-up company in a very small office space that used to be a window shades store. We occasionally get people knocking on the door looking for the old business. A gentleman knocks on the door and I talk to him.)
Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”
Customer: “I bought these blinds, and they don’t fit my window.”
Me: “Oh, you’re at the wrong place. That was the last tenant. This isn’t a shade store anymore.”
Customer: “Oh, but in the phone book this is listed.”
Me: “I know. He hasn’t updated it. We’re not a shade shop. I hope you get help with your problem.”
Customer: “Well, you might be able to help. You’re a woman. Women put up blinds a lot.”
(It’s early morning. I need to organise my notes, so I sit down in the Reception area. The suited guy next to me is looking very nervous.)
Customer: “You’re a bit of a porker, eh?”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Customer: “You’re really chubby. I mean, they told me they were considering someone else for the position as well. But if you’re all I’ve got to compete with, I’ve got it already!”
(I realise that his pre-interview technique is from some old self-help book about psyching out the competition.)
Customer: “And I was so nervous too! Guess you don’t have much of a chance, huh?”
(I consult my notes.)
Me: “Mr. Becker?”
Customer: “Yeah, that’s me! How’d you know that? You’re here for the job too, right?”
Me: “No, Mr. Becker. I’m Gary Robbins, a technical specialist from Human Resources. I’m here to conduct your interview.”
Me: "Hello, this is [Company Name]."
Caller: "Hi, who just called me?"
Me: "I’m not sure. You’ve reached general reception."
Caller: "Well, someone just called me from this number."
Me: "Sorry, but there’s no way for me to tell who called you, as this is the general number."
Customer: "What are you?"
(I explain the company.)
Customer: "I didn’t understand anything about what you just said. Why did you call me?"
Me: "It could be a wrong number."
Customer: "Ugh, fine. Stop wasting my time by calling me if you don’t know who you are, please!"