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Your Excuses Have No Power Here

, , , , , , | Right | October 14, 2022

I work in tech support for a cable company. A customer calls in.

Caller: “Why is my television not working?!”

After some troubleshooting, I am forced to ask:

Me: “Sir, is there an issue with your power supply to your home?”

Caller: “Well, my electricity was turned off, but I don’t see how that’s relevant.”

Me: “Sir, you need electricity to power your TV.”

Caller: “That shouldn’t matter! I’m paying for a service and you need to guarantee it no matter what! You’re the only company that still requires televisions to be connected to utility power!”

Me: “Sir, all televisions need to be connected to utility power.”

Caller: “Must be because the service is not digital like your competitors!”

They Don’t Really Care About Us

, , , , , | Right | October 12, 2022

It’s at the end of June 2009, and I am doing call center customer service for a cable company.

Caller: “My cable is out!”

Me: “I can see that. You’re in the Philadelphia area, which is very busy at the moment. I won’t be able to get a tech out to you for a couple of days.

Caller: *Suddenly screaming* “Racists! You cut my cable because [Company] doesn’t want Black people to know that Michael Jackson is dead!” *Click*

You Have The Power To Solve Your Own Problems

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: nowhereman1223 | September 16, 2022

I work for a major cable provider, and the issues that come up and are repeated are… something. This is one of those.

If you are unfamiliar with call centers, most large ones have systems in place to route callers back to the last person they worked with if that person is available. My job is to handle what I call Tier 1.5 issues with all services as well as billing (when that department is slammed) for business customers.

Me: “Thanks for calling [Company].”

I ask for verification information and the customer provides it.

Me: “How can I assist?”

Customer: “I don’t have a picture on my TV. Before you ask, yes, it is connected to the cable box, yes, it is set to the correct input, and no, I’m not going to double-check those things.”

Me: “Okay, thanks for confirming that information. Does the TV show ‘no signal’ or a blank screen?”

Customer: “Why does that matter? I told you everything is hooked up correctly. Just send me a new cable box as this one is obviously broken.”

It is worth noting there is no way to “send” a cable box to a business customer. A technician has to go out to collect the old or broken box and install and activate the new one.

Me: “We can send a technician out with a new box; however, if they don’t find any issues with the box, there is a $150 service call charge.”

Cue the customer having a meltdown and threatening to not pay, etc., but agreeing to have the tech come out anyway, fully understanding the likely cost.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. The same customer calls in again with the same issue and gets me.

I literally repeat the same scripts that happened the first time. However, this time, I have added notes from the tech as I see there was a $150 charge.

Me: “Before we send another technician, can you verify that the cable box is plugged into a power outlet?”

Customer: “It is not, and I will not plug it into one. Why should I pay to power the device when I pay you for it and the cable can carry power?”

I knew this was coming from the tech’s notes; otherwise, I would have needed a mute break to laugh my a** off. Yes, a coax cable CAN carry enough power to keep cable boxes and small modems running without a power outlet, but it shouldn’t as that wouldn’t be safe.

Me: “Sir, as the technician advised you, the cable box needs to be plugged into a power outlet to function. The cable does not carry enough electricity to allow it to function.”


Me: “Without power, it will not work, and the cable system does not provide power at this time. Can you plug it in now to verify it is working?”

Customer: “Fine, but I still need a tech out because the box isn’t working when I unplug it.”

I ended up sending another tech as the customer refused to hang up without that being confirmed. The result was another $150 charge and me fielding the call when he got shut off for not paying the bill. They still had the box unplugged and continued to unplug it after every tech visit. In the end, they were disconnected for non-payment and charged an early termination fee, and they still refused to plug cable boxes into a power outlet.

Some People Take Sports Way Too Seriously

, , , , , , , , | Right | August 18, 2022

It’s been a few years since this happened in 2016, so some of the specific details are fuzzy. I was working as a floor supervisor for a satellite TV company’s technical support center. The call group I was heading up was a corporate-level team designed to handle customer situations that were recurring frequently or just not getting resolved.

The customer called in and spoke to my agent, demanding credit on his account because he couldn’t watch a baseball game that had happened two days before. On top of that, he was wanting the company to reimburse him for his ~$100 bar tab because he “had to go there to watch the game” because he got an error message. Company policy was that if there was an actual issue and we couldn’t fix it, we’d give credit for the time you were without service.

The error he was getting was a black-out message. He lived in the Chicagoland area, and he was wanting to watch a Cubs playoff game. Since he was in the local area and it was a home game, they had restricted the broadcast in his area to encourage people to buy a ticket and see the game in person. While it’s not what most people want to hear, normally, they understand. Not this guy. He asked for a supervisor and I took the call.

He immediately tore into me, cursing the company, me personally, and anyone else he could think of that might have been involved. I let him get it out of his system and asked for some more information. After he explained the situation, I confirmed that his service was working properly and explained the issue. I also asked him to call us in the future when the issue was happening so that we could fix it.

He refused to accept anything beyond a technician coming out and a full year of service, for free. Like… everything. NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, HBO, all the international channels (from China, the Philippines, Guatemala, etc,), you name it, he wanted it — for free. I did the math out then, and I think it was around $3,500 in total services he was demanding. As a tenured employee, even I didn’t get all that, and I told him as much.

For some reason, that’s when he changed tactics and started crying, recounting the horrible things he saw and did while a member of the armed services (Marine Corps, I think it was). I have no idea the experiences he’d had and can’t imagine how traumatizing the things he was telling me must have been, but they didn’t change that there wasn’t actually a problem, and if there had been, we weren’t given a chance to fix it.

When crying didn’t work, he threatened to kill me and bomb the call centre. That’s when I took all his information (we had his name, address, phone number, SSN — the whole nine yards) and provided them to his local law enforcement agency. I escalated the call to my corporate security team so that they could provide the call’s recording as evidence for when he went to trial.

It wasn’t cost-effective to have me flown from Denver to Chicago for the proceedings, but I was kept in the loop when he was arrested and charged. I’m pretty sure he took a plea deal.

Their Training Doesn’t Account For Intelligent Callers

, , , , , | Working | August 12, 2022

My grandparents have been having trouble with a few TV channels going out for a few weeks. They think that their old cable box is going bad since it is several years old. The cable company exchanges it for a new one and they ask me to install it for them.

I get everything set up, but it’s not working, so I call tech support. I hate wasting time, so as soon as the tech asks what’s wrong, I like to be very specific about what’s going on.

Me: “Hello. I’m trying to install a new cable box, but it’s not working properly. I have followed the installation instructions, and it turns on and seems to be working until it attempts to download the channels, which is supposed to take five minutes, but after about ten minutes of it saying, ‘Preparing to load channels,’ the system stops and says, ‘Unable to connect, [error code] in the TV.’ I have checked the connections and read the troubleshooting section of the installation book, but there is nothing on that specific error message. I’ve shut off and restarted the machine three times with the same result. If you could tell me what [error code] means and how to fix it, I would appreciate it.”

Tech: “Sure, ma’am. Please take the remote and do me a favor and press the input button to be sure you have your TV set to the correct input. In order for it to work, you need the TV set in the correct input. So, let’s go through them and see if we can find the channels, okay?”

Me: “Excuse me? Did you even listen to a word I said? Since I already told you that I am getting messages and cues from the cable box, it’s pretty safe to assume that I have the TV on the correct input. I do not appreciate being spoken to like an idiot just because you are too bored to listen to what I said. Now, we are going to skip the part of the conversation where you are rude and ignore what I’m saying because you automatically assume everyone that calls is stupid, and we’ll jump to the part where you look up what [error code] means and how to fix it. Got it? Thanks.”

Tech: “One moment.”

I’m placed on hold for approximately forty-five seconds.

Tech: “I did look up [error code]. It means there is an outage in your area, which is preventing the channels from downloading. We are already working on fixing it and estimate that service will be restored in two hours. At that time, the box should automatically download the channels and start working.”

Me: “Thank you. Isn’t it so much faster when you listen to the information that you’re given? I suggest you do so more often.”

Tech: “Is there anything else I can assist you with today?”

Me: “No, thank you.”

Tech: “Would you be willing to stay on the line for a quick survey about your experience today?”

Me: “I don’t think you want me to do that, but sure.”

I understand that tech support gets a lot of idiotic calls, but if I take the time to walk you through everything going on, don’t act like I’m one of them.