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Imagine Being Responsible For Your Bills

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: jhofsho1 | February 24, 2022

I work for a retailer that provides mobile service. A customer comes in angry and upset.

Me: “How can I help you, ma’am?”

She begins to give me a very lengthy explanation about how she signed up for our mobile services with my coworker, and someone racked up over $600 in charges for a shared plan on her mother’s account.

Customer: “My mother is on a fixed income, and she can’t afford this. She’s going through a lot in life right now.”

I express my sympathy and attempt to help her out, just walking into the situation.

This is where it gets interesting.

Every time I try to read off what is on my computer system or billing ledger for her, she interrupts me and goes on a tirade about how that’s not what she signed up for or how the billing is incorrect.

As it turns out, the person berating me is the one who racked up all the charges. I tell her that.

Customer: “My son has autism, and he uses the phone nonstop.”

That’s not a problem, but it still doesn’t resolve the fact that she is the one who went over.

Customer: “All of the phones on that plan should be unlimited.”

I call up my coworker who helped them, and he confirm that they signed up for a shared plan. The woman denies this and tells me it was supposed to be unlimited when, in fact, my coworker says they insisted on the shared plan.

At this point, the customer switches to unlimited, but the charges remain because they are from a past billing statement.

Customer: “I want a refund for those charges!”

I have no authority to do so, especially for a $600-plus credit, so I email my supervisors and regional managers about what I should do.

All I can do at this point is send an email and provide her with some phone numbers to get her pointed in the right direction.

By this point, the woman is calmer and apologetic and thanks me for helping her.

Not thirty minutes later, she comes back in and interrupts me while I’m helping other customers. She starts berating me in front of them and shouts at me that no one will refund her. She forcefully puts her phone into my hands and has me speak to the phone representative.

Representative: “Since the charges were legitimate, we cannot refund her.”

The customer keeps shouting at me while I’m talking to this representative, and before I can get more information from them, she snatches her phone out of my hands.

Customer: “F*** this. F*** all of you! We’re going to the bank and cancelling the charges and switching carriers!”

And she abruptly left.

You Just Answered Your Own Question

, , | Right | February 1, 2022

A man comes into our cell phone store, clearly angry.

Man: “My phone got shut off because I owe a hundred dollars. Why did it do that?”

Well, golly gee, it’s a mystery!

Some Of You Have Worked In A Call Center And It Shows

, , , , , | Right | January 25, 2022

I work customer service for a credit card company. A customer calls, and I look him up and authorize him so I can help him.

Caller: “Yeah I just got my bill and it looks like I had a late fee from last month?”

That’s not a good start. Customers are never happy about fees or admit they did anything wrong to earn them, so I’m already a little apprehensive responding to him.

Me: “Yes, I see that. It appears you didn’t make a payment last month. Unfortunately, there is a fee of [amount] if a payment is not made for a given month.”

Caller: “Yeah, I know, it was my fault. Too disorganized to remember to make the payment like I usually do, sorry.”

Me: “Oh, I understand. That’s perfectly fine.”

Caller: “Anyway, I know it’s my fault, but you see, I’m a cheap b*****d and I’d prefer not to pay for my own incompetence anyway. Rather than me acting like a jerk about it, how about we save time and just pretend that I yelled and screamed and threatened to cancel my account while implying it was somehow your fault that I screwed up, and you somehow endured all my terrible behavior and, because they won’t let you tell me off as you would prefer, you end up promising to remove the fee as a courtesy because supposedly I’m a valued customer?”

Our policy is to allow removing one late fee a year if asked, so I can do that without needing a manager’s approval or escalating the call.

Me: “Oh, um… okay. I see you have reliably paid your account off in full every month for the last year, so I can make a one-time adjustment to remove that fee for you.”

Caller: “That would be great, thanks.”

Me: “The fee has been removed. Since you already made this month’s payment, the difference will be credited back to your account shortly. Anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: “Yes, actually. I’m still cheap, so can I ask that you remove the interest I was charged for the month I forgot to send in the payment since I would have paid the amount off in full? Paying interest on a credit card is against my religion of Cheapeanity… honest!”

Again, our policy allows us to do this, as well, in this situation; obviously, we don’t volunteer to remove interest unless explicitly asked.

Me: “Yes, I can certainly do that for you, because, as you said, you are a valued customer.”

Caller: “That would be great. Thank you so much for your help.”

Me: “No, thank you for only pretending to yell and scream at me.”

Caller: “Yeah, I had a job like yours to pay for college. I figure you get enough screaming customers without my adding to the pile.”

Me: “Sadly, I do, yes, but it was a pleasure to help you. Is there anything else I could do to assist you?”

Caller: “Nope, I’m good, at least until I manage to forget to send in a payment next year. Luckily, I’m just barely organized enough to usually manage to go a year between forgotten payments so I can get them removed. I promise when I forget a payment and have to call in next year, while I pretend to yell at whoever answers the call, I’ll pretend to complain that they are less competent than you were.”

While I’m sure my company would prefer he didn’t understand our policy for removing late fees quite so well as to be able to exploit it like that, I’m personally just thankful he figured out you don’t actually have to curse at us to get things fixed. One can only hope more people can figure that out in the future.

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