Approaching Zero Hour

, , | Right | September 13, 2018

(I work in the call centre of a water company. My department deals with the infrastructure so people call us to report supply disruptions, leaks, etc., and we dispatch the relevant work crew if needed. We are told not to give callers a time for when a crew will arrive as situations beyond our control may arise, so instead, we tell people, “in due course,” “as soon as possible,” and so on. A man calls to report his water supply is off. I take all the relevant details and advise him that a crew will be dispatched as soon as possible.)

Caller: “So when will they get here?”

Me: “I can’t give you an exact time, sir. The crew will arrive in due course.”

Caller: “So, about an hour so?”

Me: “No, sir, I didn’t say that. A work crew will be dispatched as soon as one is available in your area, but I can’t give an exact time when that will be.”

Caller: “But an hour is more than enough time to get to where I live.”

Me: “I appreciate that, sir, but I can’t guarantee they will be there within that time.”

Caller: *clearly not listening to a word I’m saying* “So, I’ll expect them within the next hour.”

Me: “Sir…”

Caller: “Tell you what; if they’re not here within an hour I’ll call back.”

Me: “You do that, sir. Thank you for calling and have a nice day.”

(Sure enough, he called back almost exactly one hour later to complain that they weren’t there yet. Luckily, he got through to one of my colleagues instead of me, who then had to go though pretty much the exact same conversation with him.)

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