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I Definitely Exist, Thanks

, , , , , , , | Working | January 21, 2022

Many years ago, a popular mobile phone service provider noticed that a lot of their call centre’s time was being taken up with complex billing questions (and not-so-complex calls which took longer because customers wanted to complain about legitimate charges).

Up until this point, all of their contact centre agents were expected to deal with any and all types of customer queries including sales, first-line tech support, and other general queries. To address the perceived problem of billing queries taking up too much time, the business decided to create a dedicated “Billing” support team. I was hired with around twenty other agents to staff it. We were given comparatively intense and detailed training on the billing and payment systems but were not trained in any other areas.

Now, this would have been fine, but our team didn’t have a dedicated phone line, and customers being customers, callers would regularly ignore the system prompts and come through to us with unrelated questions which would then have to be transferred to other agents.

This would also be fine except that the other teams hadn’t been briefed on us and didn’t believe that we couldn’t handle questions that weren’t about billing issues. That all leads to this conversation I had with a coworker during an attempted transfer.

Me: “Hi. I have a customer on the line with a query about their upgrade. As I’m part of the billing team, I can’t answer their queries. Can I pass them through to you?”

Coworker: “No.”

Me: “Sorry? What do you mean, ‘no’?”

Coworker: “My manager says that there is no such thing as a billing team and that you need to stop transferring calls you don’t want to deal with.”

Me: “Ooookay. I don’t know what to tell you other than that we absolutely do exist and that we have had no training in anything other than billing. Can you please tell me your name again and give me your manager’s name so I can escalate this?”

Coworker: “I’m [Coworker], my manager is [Manager], and I’ve alerted them to this conversation and they are listening. Let me put you on hold and have a quick word with them.”

A few minutes later, during which I apologised to the customer for the delay:

Coworker: “Okay, my manager says to accept this call but to tell you that no other transfers will be accepted and that they will take it up with your manager.”

I spoke with my manager after the call. He rolled his eyes and told me that he couldn’t believe people were still complaining about this. However, a few weeks later, the company pulled the plug on our team and integrated us into the main pool of agents after a little further training.

Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 24

, , , | Right | January 20, 2022

I mainly do tech support but also take calls regarding billing. A customer calls to complain that his Internet is out. After the usual spiel with privacy checks and bringing up his account, it immediately becomes apparent that he is disconnected due to non-payment, and, in fact, has been permanently removed as a customer because of the number of unpaid bills.

The man is outraged about this. He decides to treat me to a string of expletives that quite enhances my own vocabulary (and that’s a feat) and demands to be reconnected.

Caller: “You do what I say! Don’t forget, I’m the customer; I pay your salary!”

Unbeknown to me, at the time, my supervisor one cubicle over is listening in.

Me: “No, sir, that’s the problem; you haven’t paid us for six months.”

This was when I noticed that my supervisor was listening in, because of the laughter from his spot.

Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 23
Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 22
Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 21
Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 20
Doesn’t Understand The Custom Part Of Customer, Part 19

Customer Threw Tantrum; It Wasn’t Very Effective

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: certifi3dhoodclassic | January 20, 2022

I work as a tourism counselor in a small town in Canada situated near a national park. We share a building with Parks Canada so that they can provide information about the park, and we can give information about the town.

National Parks have an admission fee, and if you don’t pay the admission fee, you receive a reminder that you need to pay. If you do not pay, then the reminder turns into a ticket and gets sent off to a collection agency, and you have to pay a larger fine.

I am able to deal with these tickets at my desk, in case of it getting too busy at the Parks desk. This does not mean I have anything to do with these tickets.

It is five minutes before closing and I’m getting ready to shut down when a clearly distraught man comes storming up to the door holding a ticket in his hand. He gets to the door and realizes he does not have a mask (still required in Canada at the time). He goes back to his truck to get a mask and doesn’t even put it on when he enters.

My desk and the Parks Canada desk are situated across the room from each other, and Parks Canada’s desk is closest to the door, so typically, people will go to the Parks desk first, but of course, this gentleman comes storming right up to my desk yelling about his ticket.

When he gets to my desk, he throws his ticket at my face which ends up being a critical hit and leaves me at low Health Points.

Man: “I was going to throw this ticket out, but my girlfriend convinced me to pay the fee.”

This fee is only $10. I ask him the required questions so I can charge him the correct amount and he starts yelling.

Man: “I’ve been coming to this park for fifteen years and I’ve never had to pay an admission fee! This is bulls***! How long have you been charging people to enter national parks?!”

I lean over so I can see the person at the Parks desk, who should be dealing with this lunatic, and ask her how long.

Parks Desk Employee: “Since 1984.”

This nice gentleman decided that the woman working at the Parks desk and I were lying about this and got fed up. After yelling at me a little while longer about how stupid I was and how I shouldn’t be working this job, he threw a $10 bill at my face, draining the last bit of Health Points I had, and stormed off.

The woman working at the Parks desk proceeded to thank me profusely for dealing with him as she should have been the one dealing with him.

If You Can Read The Paper, You Can Read The Calendar

, , , | Right | January 18, 2022

When I was working in the escalation line for a newspaper, I had a customer call to berate us for the price of her newspaper doubling. It doubled because she had twelve weeks at 50% off and then her price returned to its normal level. She chewed one rep’s ear off for that, and then she asked for a supervisor and got me.

I loved being the escalation person because you could say no and it would stick. And most customers would either be understanding or not understanding but really funny to me. But this lady went on and on about how it was deceptive business practice, and how yadda, yadda, yadda. She managed to get under my very thick skin.

Customer: “How was I supposed to know when twelve weeks were up?”

I could not stop myself in time.

Me: “Well, ma’am, there are calendars.”

I found out years later that I was supposed to be fired for that, but my manager refused to do so because he was proud of me and a little jealous.

Expecting Both Telepathy AND Time Travel

, , , , | Right | December 16, 2021

Caller: *Irate* “I received this letter from [Collection Agency]. Why is that? I paid my bill!”

Me: “Let me see… I see the payment for [previous month] has not been received.”

Caller: “I did pay it! I paid it [twenty days too late]. I always pay at the end of the month!”

Me: “When did you exactly pay?”

Caller: “[Date].”

Me: “I see that payment, but it seems it’s been processed for [current month].”

Caller: “That is wrong; it was supposed to be for [previous month]. How could you mess that up?! I paid in time!”

Me: “I see you used your customer account to pay it.”

Caller: “I did. I used the link you guys generated, so this is not my mistake.”

Me: “Did you perhaps use the link for [current month], instead of [previous month]?”

I can see which month she clicked; I’m just trying to be kind.

Caller: “So? You guys should process the money with the oldest bill anyway.”

Me: “Miss, if you use that link, we clearly state which month the money will be processed with. This is an automatic process.”

Caller: “But you guys can see which month is unpaid. You should use the money for that month!”

Me: “Both months were unpaid at that moment. If you use [link A], we have to assume you want to pay [bill A].”

Caller: “Well, you guys should have checked! I just misclicked; you should know I meant the previous month.”

Me: “I’m sorry, miss, but it’s impossible to check with every client if they intended to pay the bill they clicked the link for. Let me patch you through to the collections agency; maybe they can help you.”

Caller: “But you should have known I meant [previous month]!”

I tried, but I still can’t mind-read.