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No One Likes Calling Customer Service, But Geez…

, , , , | Right | August 3, 2023

We are constantly making little tweaks to our website, toeing the line between efficiency and user-friendliness, within the restraints of how the website and our back-end system are programmed. One thing we did was set up a whole “returns and cancelations” section on its own because people were frustrated having to go between open and closed orders trying to find the right one to return. Of course, other people then complained that they COULDN’T just click an order and hit return right there. They link to the return page, at least, but you can’t please everyone.

Enter this cheery individual. He orders a special-order item that is specifically listed as taking six to eight weeks to produce. This is 100% on the manufacturer, so we can’t do anything about it, but it’s fairly popular and most don’t mind the wait. The product comes in, we box it up and ship it to the customer, and it gets delivered. And then the phone rings.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi. Maybe you can help me, maybe you can’t, but why the f*** didn’t you cancel my order?”

Cursing is my primary language, so it’s not the vulgarity that throws me off; it’s how fluid and passive he is with how he says it — like he’s just asking for a cup of coffee.

Me: “I’m… sorry, sir. I can’t say. Can you give me your order number?”

Customer: “Shouldn’t have to; it’s the only order I’ve done lately.”

Me: “All right, then. Can I at least have your company name to look up?”

Customer: “Your little phone doesn’t say it?”

Me: “Unfortunately not — just the number you’re calling from.”

One big, dramatic sigh later, he does give me his company name. I confirm that the most recent order I see is the one he’s looking at and confirm that he received it. I look through our order system, check the emails, and look in our website’s back end.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t see any indication that we received a cancelation request from you.”

Customer: “Well, I sent the silly little email you people need, so I don’t—”

Me: “I’m sorry for interrupting, sir, but we don’t have any emails from you. We specifically ask you to fill the information in the website so it gets sent to everyone that needs to see it.”

Customer: “Your website is the worst thing I’ve seen in this business, ever. I just sent it to the cancel email.”

Me: “What cancel email?”

Customer: “Cancel at [Company] dot com.”

This entire time, he’s had that same oddly placid tone, with only the occasional hint of condescension or derision. That last one is the only time it was more clearly said with an aura of “duh” about it. It’s starting to sound like he’s simply exhausted but also frustrated and upset, and the news I’m about to give him isn’t going to make him feel any better.

Me: “Well, I’m sorry, sir, that’s not an email address we have. You should have received an automated email stating that.”

Customer: “No, I got the automatic confirmation.”

Me: “Would you kindly look back and confirm that for me, sir?”

A sigh. The sound of clicking and typing. Another sigh. More clicking. A THIRD sigh. I’m mentally apologizing for apparently putting the weight of the cosmos on this man’s very soul.

Customer: “So, how do I get this fixed on your god-awful website?”

I pointed out where to go and what to fill in, confirmed that it came through right, and wished him a good day. Then, I looked up the man’s primary representative since he has an open account with us, and it turns out the way he was talking is just how he ALWAYS is. I think I need a coffee, and I know he does!

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