Lodging A Compliment

| Truro, England, UK | Awesome Customers, Hotels & Lodging

(I work on the reception of a large hotel chain. We do a deal where you can get cheap nights at a hotel under three circumstances: 1) you book and pay in advance, 2) you don’t alter the booking in ANY way, and 3) you book online. As there’s minimal person-to-person interaction, there are plenty of people who tick the ‘terms and conditions’ without reading them. The biggest catch is that if you cancel, as you’ve paid in advance, the hotel still charges you the stay.)

Me: “Hello, this is [hotel and chain] and I’m [name]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “Hello, I’ve made a booking for the 21st until the 23rd but I’ve changed my mind, and I’d like to come the following weekend instead. Could you change this for me?”

Me: “One moment, sir. I’ll just bring up your booking…”

(I take his details and quickly notice he’s on this deal, and therefore I cannot make any changes.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, it’s not possible for me to change it. You’ve booked through our [offer system] and therefore we can’t make any alterations to the booking.”

Customer: “What do you mean? I just want you to change the dates. What’s so difficult?”

Me: “I understand, sir, but you’ve made this booking under the deal, and part of the contract of that is that there cannot be any changes to the booking.”

Customer: “What?! What contract? I signed no contract!”

Me: “The details of the offer are in the Terms and Conditions when you made the booking. We do advise you read those.”

Customer: “Fine! I don’t want to come to your hotel now at all. Just cancel the booking.”

Me: “Of course, sir, but you must know that we’ll still charge you for the stay. That’s also in the terms and conditions. If you cancel for whatever reason, [chain] will still charge the money.”

(The customer explodes down the phone at me, and I have to hold the phone away from my ear because of the noise level. He begins threatening to go to the media, ruining the chain’s reputation and generally being abrasive. At this point, two women walk into the reception and I ask them politely to wait as I’m currently dealing with the customer on the phone. They both lean on the counter and can clearly hear the man on the other end shouting at me. Finally, he calms somewhat.)

Me: “I completely understand your predicament, sir. I have been wondering if my system would allow me to change the dates of the stay in such an event but haven’t been able to do so for obvious reasons. The only thing I can offer you is that I, out of curiosity, change the dates on your booking. I warn you, I have no idea if this will be successful, as I’ve not attempted it before. If I change it you may still be charged. This is the best I can offer you. Do you understand?”

Customer: “Yes, I understand. You’re going to try to change it, but your system might not allow it?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Customer: “And if the system doesn’t allow it, I may be charged.”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Customer: “Let’s do it, then!”

(I change the dates and luckily, it allows it. He is still on the offer, but on different days. I explain this to him.)

Me: “So, you’re booked in for [dates] which will cost you [price] and I do suggest that, next time, you don’t use this offer. It’s quite tempting, but if you aren’t absolutely certain on the dates of your stay, it’ll cost you extra.”

Customer: “Thank you so much! I’ve written down your name, I’ll enjoy meeting you. You’ve been such a help and I’ll bring you a bottle of bourbon for you when I get there.”

(I end the call, and make a note of his attitude on his booking, as warning for other receptionists that might encounter him. I look up sheepishly at the two women still waiting to be checked in.)

Me: “How can I help you today?”

Woman #1: “Get your manager down here right now.”

(I call down the manager, knowing what they’ve heard me do is against company policy, and that I could be in a lot of trouble for doing it.)

Manager: “What can I do for you, ladies?”

Woman #2: “This girl has just shown the best customer service we’ve ever seen.”

Woman #1: “Yes, we stay in these hotels all the time, and I’ve never seen anyone handle a bad customer like that.”

Woman #2: “It was amazing! You should’ve seen it! She deserves a medal for keeping her cool. Definite customer satisfaction, and she hasn’t even checked us in yet!”

Manager: “Thank you, ladies, I’ll make a note of it. If that’s all, I’ll leave her to check you in?”

(I got a commendation from head office for my conduct, although they weren’t entirely clear on the details of why I should get it. It’s not monetary reward, but having ‘outstanding customer service award’ from one of the leading hotel chains in the UK does look rather good on my CV… and all for breaking company policy!)

(P.S. The man didn’t bring me the bourbon after all!)

Those Who Can’t, iTeach

| GA, USA | Technology

Customer: “I want to see the new iPods. I am interested in one because I don’t want to buy an iPhone and be locked into a data plan.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s the great thing about the iPod! With the addition of FaceTime, you can video chat people over wifi.”

Customer: “FaceTime, hmm? What is FaceTime?”

Me: “That’s a great question. It’s actually a brand new app that’s included with iOS 5 that allows you to video chat, like Skype.”

Customer: “Well, how does it work?”

Me: “Easy! You just open the app, tap the person you want to contact, and your device will attempt to connect to the person’s device for a video chat.”

(At this point in the conversation, I think I am doing a great job explaining FaceTime. Then, the tone completely changes.)

Customer: “Right, but how does it work?”

Me: “Like I said, you just tap the—”

Customer: “Stop, stop, stop! You already explained that. You’re avoiding the question now. How does FaceTime actually work!?”

Me: “…Like, the technology behind it?”

Customer: “Yes! What’s the technology behind it?”

Me: “Oh, okay. Well when you’re connected to wifi, it allows you to—”

Customer: “No! That’s not what I am asking. You know, I was a teacher for 20 years and if you were in my class, you would be given detention for having a smart mouth!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I am not sure how else to explain it.”

Customer: “Is there someone else I could talk to who knows anything!?”

(I ended up getting my manager; they had just as tough of a time pleasing her!)

1-800-WE-R-NICE

| MO, USA | Awesome Workers, Pets & Animals

(Our medical device company has an 800 number that is one digit off from another company, which sells skin care products. We therefore get a lot of wrong numbers.)

Me: “Good morning, [medical devices company], how may I help you?”

Elderly Lady: “Hello? I need to order some cream. I have a terrible rash on my bottom.”

Me: “I’m sorry ma’am, but we are [medical devices company], not [skin care company]. I can give you their number.”

Elderly Lady: “But this rash is terrible! I live in Florida and the heat makes it worse!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. If you want to write down the—”

Elderly Lady: “It’s very red and sore! I live alone, you know. My husband died a few years ago. I really need some cream!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. But we don’t sell that. Their number is almost the same—”

Elderly Lady: “I have a cat. Do you like cats?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I do.”

Elderly Lady: “His name is Buster. He is old like me.”

(She seems lonely, so I decide to just talk to her for a while. I finally manage to give her the other number.)

Lady: “Thank you, sweetheart. You are a very nice young lady!” *hangs up*

Loss Of Hearing Vs Lack Of Respect

| MA, USA | Bad Behavior, Health & Body, Theme Of The Month

(Several months ago, I suddenly lost most of my hearing in one ear. I’m a singer and this has been devastating to me. Thanks to medication, it’s almost back to normal, but I have trouble with background noise and I’m very sensitive about the subject. I’m in my early 30s, and most people think I’m several years younger. I’m giving a tour of our winery, and one visitor has been very difficult through the whole tour. I’m at the last stop on the tour and explaining how the machines in the room work. The visitor starts motioning at me, but I have no idea what these motions mean.)

Me: “I’m sorry, did you have a question?”

Visitor: *mumbles something I can’t hear at all*

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t quite hear you, what did you say?”

Visitor: “Could you speak louder?! I can’t hear you at all.”

Me: *laughing a bit* “That’s a little ironic that I couldn’t hear you asking me to speak up because you couldn’t hear me.”

(Apparently, she doesn’t see the humor in this.)

Visitor: “You young people! You have no respect! You have no idea how it is not to be able to hear when you’re old! You should be in my shoes and not be able to hear well.”

Me: “Actually ma’am, I’m hard of hearing myself. I know I’m not old, but I know what it’s like to not be able to hear. At least you were fortunate enough to have good hearing for most of your life.”

Visitor: *a little taken aback* “Well, you just don’t… you don’t know—”

Me: “I do know. And this concludes our tour. The exit is right here.”

(She hurries right by me to leave and doesn’t make eye contact at all. However, the other members of the group pause to thank me for the tour and the information. One girl even said she wanted to give me a drink and a hug to try to make up for that difficult visitor. I appreciated that comment more than I can say!)

He’s One Slice Short Of A Pie

, | Grand Rapids, MN, USA | Bad Behavior, Bizarre, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month

(I have returned from delivering a pizza to the last customer of the night. Upon returning to the store, it is after closing time, so we begin cleaning and closing the store. The phone rings; we normally don’t answer the phone after closing time, but since I recognized the name on the caller ID as my last delivery, I decide to answer it.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [restaurant]. I’m sorry we’re closed, but how can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I just had a pizza delivered and there’s a problem.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. What is the problem, exactly?”

Customer: “Well, this has got to be some sort of joke or something.”

Me: “Okay, what is the problem?”

Customer: “I just sat down to eat my sausage pizza, and 7 of the 8 pieces are just fine, but the 8th piece doesn’t have any sausage on it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, that shouldn’t have happened. How about I give you a $2 discount on your next purchase?”

Customer: “Sure.”

Me: “Okay, sorry again. Have a nice night.”

(Before I can even turn around to walk away, the same caller ID rings again, so I answer.)

Customer: *yelling very angrily* “I’m so mad right now! I can’t believe what I’m looking at! What, are you messing with me not putting sausage on one of the pieces of my pizza?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, it was an accident. Sausages are small and round, I’m sure after they were put on the pizza they rolled around when the cheese was applied. How about instead of a $2 discount, I mark you account for a free pizza on your next order? Would that fix it for you?”

Customer: *calm now* “Yeah, that would be great, thanks.”

(We once again finish the call and hang up. Again before I can turn around the phone rings with the same caller ID so I answer and greet the caller.)

Customer: “YOU MUST BE PLAYING A JOKE ON ME! This must have been done on purpose! I’m gonna come down there and cut your heads off!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir! I just wanted to remind you that you’ll get a free pizza on your next order. Is that okay?”

Customer: *calms down again* “Yeah, thanks.”

(I quickly got off the phone while he was calm. We then quickly locked up and went home for the night without cleaning up the store, in case he was truly coming down to cut our heads off.)

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