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Expect The Unexpected

, , , , , | Working | August 20, 2021

I work for a grocery store call center, and my job is to call customers up when their payments for orders don’t go through. We get a lot of customers who are suspicious of us as we call from withheld numbers and most aren’t expecting their payment to fail. That is fine; half the job is to put their mind at ease. A lot want to know why the payment failed and while we don’t get told why, we can guess.

A customer has just given me their card details, and while it’s processing, asks:

Customer: “So, why didn’t it go through before?”

Me: “I don’t know for sure; we don’t get told. But we did try at 5:00 am, so it’s a chance the bank may have stopped it for a security check and then timed out the transaction.”

Customer: “Oh. Well, is there anything I can do to stop this from happening again?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. If the bank chooses to do a check, then we can’t stop them.”

Customer: “But is there a way to stop it?”

Me: “Unfortunately not. I can’t say it will never happen. There is always a chance of it happening. It’s like crossing the road; there is always a chance of getting hit by a bus but it probably won’t happen.”

There’s a three-second pause as I realise what I just said.

Me: “That’s a very bad analogy. Umm… there is always a chance it will happen, but I can’t say it won’t. Anyway, your payment has gone through and your order will be delivered today between four and five.”

Luckily, the customer laughed at my “open mouth, insert foot” moment, but my colleagues didn’t stop making fun of me for the rest of the shift. But hey, at least I didn’t get hit by a bus.

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What is the absolute most stupid thing you’ve heard a customer say?

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