Why Don’t You Leave It To The Experts, Buddy?

, , , , | Working | January 18, 2021

I’m helping support a stand at a work convention for the company I work for. We resell technology from various overseas companies as their UK partner. It’s high-tech, industry-leading stuff. The stand is just to get our name out there.

We get through the morning without incident, and then, I hear my boss mutter:

Boss: “Oh, no, not this guy.” *To me* “I will let you handle this one.”

Me: “What? Who?”

Man: “Hi, [Boss], didn’t know you would be here.”

Boss: *With some mock enthusiasm* “Hi, [Man], good to see you here.”

Man: “So, you have some new technology?”

Boss: “Actually, [My Name] can give you the full introduction.”

Me: “I… Err… Sure. Let me power it up.”

I go through the technical details, benefits, and basic uses. I explain what software it’s compatible with and answer all his questions. I feel like I have done pretty well. But [Man] wants to know more.

Man: “How much is it?”

Me: “Prices will vary for each user depending on training, hardware, and software requirements. I can take some details and someone can go through it with you?”

Boss: “They start at £30,000.”

Man: “Oh, that’s expensive. If you sold them for £5,000, you would sell far more.”

I grapple with his logic and how he thinks companies can just sell things for massive losses, regardless of production or development costs. But my boss interjects again.

Boss: “Thanks, [Man], I will pass it on.”

The man disappears.

Boss: “He always does this; he comes round and acts interested, even calls the office. Then, he tells us how to run the business. He will be going around the whole convention. They nearly banned him last year. But you did fantastically.”

I was put on “[Man] watch” and became a bit of an expert on getting rid of him the quickest.

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Welcome To Not Always Right, [New Hire]!

, , , | Working | January 12, 2021

I’m training a new employee in a side-by-side where she sits next to me and looks at the screen at what I’m doing while listening in on the call with a second headset. I’m a middle-aged woman with lots of experience in customer services and as a trainer. My trainee is a young man just starting his first job.

I’ve just deescalated a very angry customer and fulfilled his request.

Me: “Thank you for your business and have a great weekend!” *Click*

New Hire: “Wow, that sounded so sincere! As if you really meant it!”

Me: “That’s probably because I meant it.”

New Hire: “But he was so rude!”

Me: “He wasn’t rude, though. Just angry. And rightfully so. Had I been double charged and then dealt with like this, I’d be angry, too.”

New Hire: “But still he could have been friendlier! He was so unfriendly and curt. He should… I don’t know. He should care more for you. That was a lot you had to do and it was so complicated to sort out.”

Me: “Why should he? As far as he knows, I’m paid to do this job. And my job is to take calls of people who have issues with us. I’m here to take care of them and not the other way around. Besides, that was a huge mess-up from our side and it’s the fourth time he had to call to sort that out; for that, he was still very friendly and patient.”

The customer was indeed very friendly, although curt and rightfully angry.

New Hire: “Well, I still found him to be very rude! He accused you of lying when you told him everything was sorted now.”

Me: “No, he didn’t accuse me of lying. He just asked for written confirmation because he’s been told three times already that the issue had been sorted and still got an invoice.”

New Hire: “I don’t see how that’s not rude. He still didn’t believe you, and you even gave him a gift card! I’d never given him a gift card after that.”

I shrug and let it go. It doesn’t seem worth the effort. It’s clear he doesn’t get it. The customer had a serious complaint and had to call repeatedly to get it solved even though it should have been a one-click issue. I felt he deserved a gift card. I take the next call, hoping I’ll get a really rude customer to show the new hire the difference and that he’ll understand then why I didn’t think the other customer was rude.

I promptly get my wish fulfilled. The next customer comes in yelling over my greeting already. She’s totally outraged at something and it’s a hassle to just get her to confirm her data to get up her account.

Then, it turns out the thing she’s so outraged about is a billing difference of just 5€. After a price check, I confirm she’s right. She has indeed been overcharged 5€ on her 650€ order. I apologize, correct the overcharge, and send her a corrected bill. She screeches about my incompetence, the incompetence of the company as a whole, and my family’s incompetence the whole time. But I bring this to an end and even manage to distract her from asking for a manager. She demands all kinds of things, all of which I turn down.

Me: “I’m sorry for your inconvenience. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Have a great weekend.” *Click*

The new trainee sits next to me completely stunned.

New Hire: “Wow.”

Me: “Well, yes. That was one rude customer. Any questions?”

New Hire: “How could you stay so calm? How could you let her say all this to you?”

Me: “Oh, that’s easy. I don’t care about her. I don’t care about any of them, really.”

The new hire looks at me as if I’ve grown a second head and I feel the urge to explain some more.

Me: “You see, I don’t care much for people in general. I’m not interested in their feelings, I don’t care for their opinions, and it doesn’t matter to me at all how they behave. If they’re too loud, I turn the volume at my headset down. All I care for is getting through the day as smoothly as possible, going home, and getting my money. The easiest way to achieve that is by doing everything strictly by the book. Follow the script to a T. Don’t get involved. Don’t believe anything you can’t see in the system.

“If there’s something wrong, correct it. If there isn’t, let them know as gently as possible. Stay firm and don’t get involved in discussions or try to dispute opinions; those people are not worth your time or thoughts more than necessary.

“Regarding gift cards and courtesies: here’s the guideline. Just do what it says; it gives a very good lead to keep good customers happy by compensating our faults and drive scammers away who don’t get any. Don’t try doing favours to bad customers to make them like you. They won’t. Don’t try to punish customers you don’t like, either. They’ll only call again and hassle a colleague.”

New Hire: “…”

Me: “Don’t forget, those people haven’t called you and they don’t talk to you, either. So don’t behave as if they do.”

New Hire: “Well, with whom do they think they’re speaking, then?”

Me: “The company, of course. It’s their number they’ve called. If you’re lucky, they realize during the call that you’re a real person. And you have a little wiggle room when it comes to compensation and I tell you, it’s very satisfying to use that on customers like the man we had first and give them the next higher gift card for being still so friendly. But in the end, if you really want this job, you need to separate yourself from it. Stop caring what a total stranger has to say about a person they don’t even acknowledge.”

New Hire: “So… just do the job it is, then.”

Me: “Right. Just do what you’re paid for and do it to your best ability. You’re paid for taking calls, analysing issues, compensating if needed, and following the guidelines. That is why I can honestly say, ‘Thank you for your call,’ even to nasty people. It’s my job. I don’t get paid to get angry or care for their opinions. So why bother? As long as other people mess up and those customers call, I’ve got a job and get paid.

“Besides, didn’t you hear that woman getting all agitated when she couldn’t get a reaction out of me? Wasn’t that funny? How she howled and b****ed and I still told her no? It was so obvious she wanted me to shrivel and snivel in front of her and she didn’t get it!”

The new hire laughs a little and looks at me in a different way.

New Hire: “Yeah, I guess you’re right. They definitely don’t pay enough for us to be therapists for anger management.”

After that, he listened less to how the customers talked to me but started concentrating on what issues they had and how to solve them. We made very good progress that day, and the next day, I let him take the calls and assisted him with the tasks from the side. He was very good and finished his training much faster than expected. We still work together and I’m very proud of him since he has become one of our best workers.

It’s hard not to care about the nasty customers, but if the new hires can get the knack of it, they often find that the job can be quite funny, too, and that it has its benefits.

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Berry Useful Trivia!

, , , , | Friendly | January 5, 2021

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

 

I have a fairly insatiable knowledge for strange facts. I’m reading a book about herbs and plants and things they have been used for in medical history. I come across a comment about raspberries being used to induce uterine contractions, alongside an offhand note that one shouldn’t eat large quantities of them during pregnancy for that reason. As a tidbit, it has stuck in my brain for years. I never thought I’d need it until this conversation.

Friend: “Oh, man, my poor relative. She keeps having false contractions. It’s been really bad. She’s still months away.”

A random memory comes to me.

Me: “Okay, this is gonna sound like a weird question, but does she like jam?”

Friend: *Long pause* “Yes, that is a super weird question… but yeah, she does.”

Me: “Is it raspberry jam, by any chance?”

Friend: “Yeah, actually.”

Me: “Has she been eating a ton of it lately?”

Friend: “I think so; she really likes it.”

Me: “That could be it; raspberries can cause uterine contractions.”

Friend: *Pauses again* “You’re s***ting me.”

Me: “Absolutely not.”

I pull up a few different Googled pages on it to refresh my memory.

Me: “I mean, it might not be what’s happening, but it might be worth checking out?”

You’ll never guess what stopped happening after that! Last I heard, the baby was delivered none the worse for wear.

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Advice, In Short: People Suck

, , , , , | Working | October 5, 2020

I had just started my first serving job at a chain seafood restaurant. Like many restaurants of this particular stature, we servers carried our own change, cash, and charge slips through the night and cashed out at the end of our shifts. Our managers told us over and over and over to never carry our cash in our order booklets and keep it in our pockets instead, but I liked having everything in one convenient place so I ignored their advice. 

One night, I was about an hour into my shift. I took a table’s order, made their salads, and then went to ring in their food, and noticed my booklet was gone, along with all my cash. I started looking around frantically for it. I got only passing sympathy from my coworkers as they worked their own tables, and I fell into a panic, not knowing what to do.

I eventually got a new booklet, retook the orders I needed to, and then continued as normal. Some coworkers told me that they saw my section partner walking around with her shirt untucked over her apron right about the time I started panicking about losing my booklet, and that a manager called her on it, and she promptly went to the back room to tuck in her shirt. This particular server who was my partner that night had been caught trying to steal other people’s tips a few times in the past. She, of course, denied it.

By the time I was told about this, she had already clocked out and left. I never before nor after saw anyone get their side work done and cash out that fast. I mentioned it to my managers but they just shrugged. What are they gonna do? The end of the night came and, of course, I was short by about $100, despite using all tips earned to make up my loss. I got written up and I went home with nothing but my hourly wage — just over two dollars — for my trouble.

My lesson was learned that night and I never kept my cash in my order booklet again. Despite no one being able to prove anything, I think the managers were fed up with my section partner that night because I only ever saw her partnered in the future with the veterans that she couldn’t pull anything on if she even tried.

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A Yummy Meal AND Good Advice?!

, , , , , , , | Working | October 5, 2020

My mom had had her eyes dilated at an eye doctor appointment, and I’d had a long day on four hours of sleep and was in no real mood to cook, so I decided to order a pizza for us.

When it arrived, I signed the receipt and handed it back, but as I reached into my pocket for the tip, the delivery guy imparted some advice: he pointed out two other blanks on the receipt — one for a credit card tip, and one for the post-tip total — and told me that, since I ordered with a debit card but was tipping him in cash, I should write “cash” in the tip line and the original total for the post-tip total, so that no one less honest could write in a massive tip and steal from my account, which would definitely have been a pain to dispute.

Massive thanks to him for the advice! It was good to see an employee that looks out for the customers.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

Read the next Feel Good roundup story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

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