Some English Is Not The Same English As Your English

, , , , | Right | May 20, 2019

(I am trying to explain to the customer that she will have to pay $25 for her service because her insurance only covers half of it, but she is obviously having some difficulty understanding the coverage details. I’ve explained to her about twenty times how it works, lining the details up in the simplest way possible. Throughout the entire call, the customer has been switching between her and a companion. While the customer herself seems to have difficulty giving me the information I need, her companion seems to have trouble hearing me at all. I am speaking to the companion when this happens. Keep in mind that I was born and raised in a family that spoke only English, and do not have a thick accent at all.)

Me: *explaining the situation for the twentieth time*

Customer: “What?”

Me: “Here, ma’am, let me explain it again…”

Customer: “Can I speak to someone who speaks English?”

Me: “I’m sorry? I don’t know what you mean…”

Customer: *very slowly* “English. I want someone who speaks English.”

(I am completely thrown off, as she is treating me as if I’ve been speaking with a very thick, foreign accent when I have been speaking completely normally. I decide to just go with it and get a supervisor to speak to the customer since I’m not having any luck getting through to them.)

Me: “Okay, may I put you on a brief hold while I get someone on the line?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: *slowly* “A brief hold?”

Customer: “Oh. Okay.”

(I found a supervisor and brought them over. The supervisor ended up repeating exactly what I had said and finished up the call. All of my coworkers had a nice laugh about it afterward, as I had clearly spent a long time with the customers trying to explain to them what was going on.)

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