Setting Precedent For The President

, , , , , | Right | February 25, 2018

(I used to work at a call center that was contracted with a health insurance company. As you can imagine, I got a lot of “interesting” phone calls. This is probably one of the more unusual calls I ever took.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Insurance Company]. My name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: *with a thick Southern accent* “Yeah, can I please talk to the president of [Insurance Company]?”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m unable to connect you with the president of [Insurance Company].”

Customer: “Why? Is he too busy with his coffee break to speak to me? Do you even know who I am?”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry, but I have no way to transfer you to our corporate office.”

Customer: “Well, that’s just silly. Is there anyone there I can talk to?”

Me: “I would be happy to assist you today, ma’am. How can I help—”

Customer: *cutting me off* “No, I don’t want to speak to you. You’re being uncooperative. Can I talk to the president of [Insurance Company], please?”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but as I said before, customer service does not have the direct number to [Insurance Company]’s corporate office.”

Customer: “Then let me speak to your manager.”

Me: “All right, I’ll be right back with him.”

(By this point, I’m getting a little frustrated. I grab my manager, and he hooks up my headset to his headset so that I can listen to the conversation. It’s a common practice where I work to observe and listen to a manager de-escalating an issue.)

Manager: “Thanks so much for holding. My name is [Manager] and I’m [My Name]’s manager. How can I help you?”

Customer: “GET ME THE PRESIDENT OF [Insurance Company] NOW!”

Manager: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I can’t do that. I can help you with whatever you need.”

Customer: *suddenly cheery* “Oh, all right!”

(For the remainder of the phone call, the customer was cheery and cooperative. Turns out she actually had a complicated billing issue that my manager had to send to another department for resolution. We still don’t know why she was so adamant to speak to the president of the company, though.)

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