A Serial Problem

| GA, USA | Bizarre, Extra Stupid

Customer: “I tried to register my serial number on the website last night but it wouldn’t take it.”

Me: “Not a problem, sir. I can go ahead and get that registered for you. Can I have the serial number, please?”

Customer: “No, I don’t have it right now. Don’t you have it?”

Me: “…”

Running ‘Counter’ To The Spelling

| UK | Language & Words

(I am helping a caller complete her passport forms over the phone.)

Caller: “I’m fine with most of it. It’s just at the end. It’s talking about a ‘courier sijenterary’.”

Me: “A courier sijenterary?”

Caller: “Yes, do you know what one of those is?”

Me: “I’m afraid I don’t. Would you mind spelling it?”

Caller: “I can try. I have dyslexia, so it’s difficult.”

Me: “That’s no problem. Take your time.”

Customer: “C O U N T E R S I G—”

Me: “Oh, I see. Sorry to interrupt. You’ve jumped ahead of me. It reads as ‘countersignatory’. It means someone else needs to confirm that your photo is a true likeness.”

Caller: “So, what do I need to do?”

Me: “You just need someone who knows you, but is not a family member, to sign the back of one of your photos confirming it looks like you. It’s to protect against stolen identity and reduce confusion when flying. If you give your chosen person the forms and the photo, I’m sure they’ll be able to figure it out. If not, just get them to call us.”

Caller: “Oh, thank you so much. This is such a hassle, and I panic sometimes.”

Me: “It’s no bother. You’re almost there, actually.”

Caller: “That’s good. Thank you so much for the help, and sorry about the… sijenterary.” *hangs up*

(She was probably one of the nicest callers I’ve had working here, dyslexia and all.)

Listening To The Voices Of Reason

| CT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Technology

(I am transgender, male to female. I have an amazing voice range due to being a singer in a high school band. I am working at a call center in tech support for an ISP that caters to CT, NY, and NJ. A large number of our clients are immigrants from a country that traditionally looks down on women. I get this call shortly before the end of my shift.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [ISP]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, I’m having trouble with my Internet. Can you transfer me to a man who would be able to help me?”

Me: “I’m a fully trained technical support representative; I’m sure I’ll be able to help you. What kind of issues are you having?”

Customer: “No, I don’t think you can. Could you transfer me to a man, please? I’m having trouble with my Internet.”

Me: “Sir, as I just said, I am a fully trained tech support employee. I’ve been working in the IT sector for a number of years. If you could describe your problem, I’m sure I could help you.”

Customer: “No, you women don’t understand technology. You just don’t have the brains for it. Now, get me a MAN who can help me!”

Me: “One moment, please.”

(I place the customer on hold for 30 seconds. When I come back, I voice drop so I sound male.)

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [ISP]. My name is [Fake Name]; how can I help you?”

(The customer describes his problem — router is offline. I walk him through the troubleshooting steps. A basic reset fixes his issue.)

Me: *still voice dropping* “All right, looks like that takes care of your issue. Anything else I can help you with today?”

Customer: “Nope, thank you very much!”

Me: *switching back to my female voice* “I just want you to know, you’ve been helped by a woman this entire time. Have a nice day!”

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A Pre-Holiday Basket Case

| USA | Holidays, Technology

(I work for a call center handling issues typical AFTER something has already gone wrong. I take a call on the Thursday before Easter Sunday.)

Me: “Thanks calling [Company]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I need help finding an Easter basket for my nieces. I am not sure what to get them. I have never bought one before.”

Me: “Well, I can try and help with that? Do you know what your nieces like?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Well, do you know their favorite color?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Do you know what kind of candy they like?”

Customer: “No. Look I just need help picking out a basket.”

Me: “I’ll be honest. We are a major online seller. Since it’s so close to Easter, sir, there are hundred of baskets for sale on the website.”

Customer: *long pause* “Well… I know they like girly stuff… How about something with crafts?”

Me: “Sir, I looked and there are still several baskets with that type of stuff. Do you have anything else to help narrow down the search?”

Customer: “Just pick some out for me and I will look.”

(I spend the next 45 minutes adding over 20 different baskets to his cart/basket online and he says no to all.)

Customer: “We are getting nowhere with this. Every basket I want won’t make it in time. Why?”

Me: “Sir, the ones you picked out are sold by third party sellers. It looks like the each one is made to order when you order it.”

Customer: “Why don’t you make them ship faster? You should make them ship faster.”

Me: “Sir, I can’t make them ship faster. It’s their choice if they want to ship that fast.”

Customer: “You are no help. Screw it. I am going to Wal-Mart!” *click*

They Have An Immuno-Deficiency

| Green Bay, WI, USA | Language & Words

(I work in a major health insurance call center, and receive a call about getting vaccines in pharmacies. I have told him that some pharmacies are able to send the claim to us directly, but others he will have to pay himself and mail us the claim. There is no rhyme or reason for it; each pharmacy is set up differently.)

Customer: “When I talk to the pharmacy, how do they have to be set up?”

Me: “They just need to be set up to send us the bill automatically.”

Customer: “NO! You said a word! Munual, manicle…” *rambles off a bunch of random words, some made-up, beginning with ‘M’*

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but I don’t remember naming a specific system, because there isn’t a name for it. They just need to have the ability.”

Customer: “You mean to tell me you don’t remember saying it, four-five times, just a couple minutes ago?” *keeps rambling ‘m’ words*

Me: “I’m sorry, but I really don’t. Was the word ‘manual’ maybe? You’d have to file a manual claim—”

Customer: *interrupting* “NO!” *keeps rambling ‘m’ words* “Munizate…”

Me: “Immunization?”

Customer: “YES, that one! They have to have immunization computers?”

Me: “Sir, ‘immunization’ is just another word for ‘vaccination.'”

Customer: “Well, you shouldn’t use such fancy words. I don’t know what they mean!”

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