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Accidentally Encouraging, But Encouraging Nonetheless

, , , , , , | Working | November 29, 2021

I have been working at a call center for a phone company for a few months, mostly taking calls from very unhappy people who haven’t paid their phone bills in months and have had their lines suspended.

My manager keeps track of various stats we have, including results from customer surveys. One of those survey questions asks about whether or not the individual felt like a valued customer by the end of the call. My manager has told me all my stats are great but I could probably increase the customer value result. They recommend that I throw in a line during every call that’s something along the lines of, “As you’re a valued customer, I’ll be happy to help.”

Personally, I find lines like that can sound really disingenuous and I hate saying them, but I try to throw it in whenever I remember to. This call happens a few days after my manager advised me to say the line more often.

The lady on the line was calling for help making a payment plan as she had been hit hard by the health crisis and was not going to be able to pay her bill on time this month. The call was going smoothly, she was very kind and apologetic for not being able to pay in full right away, and I could tell she was really stressed about finances. 

Caller: “I’m just so embarrassed. I never miss payments. I really hate having to do this.”

Me: “Hey, I get it. The health crisis has hit everyone really hard, so we totally understand.”

I remembered about the valued customer line at this point and thought I might be able to work it into the conversation in a genuine way.

What I tried to say:

Me: “I can tell from your account that you’ve been with us a long time and you’ve always had a great record in the past. You’re a valued customer and I’ll definitely help to get something worked out for you,”

What I actually said:

Me: “I can tell from your account that you’ve been with us a long time and you’ve always had a great record in the past. You’re valuable—”

Then, my brain realized that I had misspoken and just shut down entirely, ending the sentance very short.

When the caller responded, she sounded like she was on the brink of tears.

Caller: “Oh, thank you. It’s really nice to hear someone say that. I really appreciate it. It’s been really hard these past few months, and it’s nice to be reminded that I’m valuable.”

Me: “Uh, no problem. Now let’s take a look to see what we can do to help.”

We got the caller set up with a plan and the call was coming to an end.

Me: “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Caller: “Oh, no, dear. You’ve been wonderful. Thank you so much, and just remember, you’re valuable, too!”

The customer hung up at that point. I spent the next few minutes laughing at myself for screwing up my words, but I was glad I could help and that my messed-up words had helped comfort her. It was honestly one of the most heartwarming calls I took the entire time I worked that job.

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