Even Clear Labelling Doesn’t Work

, , , , , | Right | January 16, 2020

(I work in a call center for a clothing store. A customer calls and gives me a very long-winded description of how we made an error on her previous order and reshipped it and included a prepaid return label to send the error back. When her elderly husband went to the post office to return the item, he forgot the label, and instead of returning home to get the UPS label we sent and returning it to the correct shipping company, he just paid $20. Now she wants us to refund that.)

Me: “Yes, um, no. We did everything we could to alleviate the error but the prepaid label should have been used.”

(We negotiate lower rates with some carriers and don’t pay for stupidity.)

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Red Alert About An Orange Flag

, , , , , | Right | January 14, 2020

I used to work for a third-party call center contracted to a large, national bank, where I was a Debit Card Fraud Analyst. I enjoyed the job, but I had my fair share of belligerent customers. 

My supervisor was going in for surgery for a chronic condition, and I had been teasing her all week that my last call of her last night as my supervisor, I was going to get an “Orange Flag” call. This was simply a piece of orange, laminated paper with instructions on what to do with a threatening call; you would pull it off the board by your computer and wave it in the event of a threat. These events would take close to an hour to resolve, so I was basically telling her I was going to keep her over. She would laugh at me and we’d go about business.

My crew was the last to go home from this center, we’d leave at two in the morning, and on her last night as my supervisor, we had back-to-back calls. Finish a call, the next person was on the line at once. At 11:58, my cubical partner and I both got calls and as we went to pull information up, nothing worked. None of our systems would come up, nothing. We apologized to our customers, who were thankfully understanding, and put them back in the queue. At 12:02 in the morning, nothing. No calls. Everything seemed to have crashed on us, including the phone systems.

We now had close to an hour between calls, and the supervisor found out that the bank had taken its systems down for maintenance. Nothing would go through. All debit, credit, and ATM cards would not work for the next several hours, and if a customer happened to get through to us, we were to let them know to try again at a certain time. I wrote up a phone script for myself and ended up giving it to everyone there. I sounded like an automated phone system and used it to my advantage to not talk to customers. It politely let them know that our systems were down, we were unable to help them, and to please try again at the specified time. Of the five customers who managed to get through to my phone, four of them just hung up.

At 1:57 in the morning, one final call came through. I opened with the script I’d written: “Thank you for calling [Bank] Debit Card Fraud Services. We regret to inform you that all of our systems are currently down for maintenance and customers will be unable to use their Debit, Credit, or ATM cards until six am Eastern Standard Time. If any trouble persists after that time, please call the number on the back of your card to speak to an associate. Thank you for your understanding.”

And he responded with, “WHAT THE F***?!”

I tried again, but he launched into a tirade on me. “NO! NO! YOU STUPID F****** B****! NO! SHUT UP! SHUT THE F*** UP! I HAVE A FLIGHT TO CATCH IN THE MORNING, AND I NEED TO BUY MY PLANE TICKETS RIGHT NOW, AND YOU’VE BLOCKED MY CARD!”

He wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to explain to him that our systems were just out, and I was thinking to myself, “Why would you wait this late to book your tickets anyway?”

Then, he gave me this gem: “IF YOU DON’T UNBLOCK MY CARD RIGHT NOW, I’M GOING TO FIND YOU! I WILL FIND YOU, AND I WILL F****** KILL YOU AND YOUR WHOLE G**D*** FAMILY! DO YOU HEAR ME?! I WILL F****** SHOOT YOU!’

I muted my mic, sighed, and waved the orange flag at my supervisor, who just stared at me. She took over the call from there and I sat and listened to her deal with this man for a good forty minutes, taking down information. I went to clock out, use the restroom, and get a drink, and came back to ask what happened.

Turns out, he was already on file for making threats like that against employees pretty regularly, and that was his last strike. The bank was going to close out his account with them and blacklist him as a result.

My prediction came true. On the last call of her last night, I had to give her an orange flag. I couldn’t have timed that better if I had tried.

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It Pays To Look Out For Each Other

, , , , , , , , , , | Working | January 14, 2020

(I have been receiving government benefits for a little while after leaving a violent relationship and being homeless. I finally get my own place and inform the agency responsible for the benefits; they tell me will send a rent certificate out so my landlord can sign it so I’ll receive assistance in paying rent. Fast forward a month: despite asking numerous times for it, it never arrives. I’m just managing to pay my rent but have very little left for food, bills, and essential medication. I go into an office to get one so my landlord can sign it before leaving the country for three months. I spend an hour and a half waiting for two pieces of paper, run and get my landlord to sign what he needs to, and then head back to the office. I wait another hour for a lady to take the papers.)

Lady #1: “It will be in your next pay.” *starts to walk off*

Me: “Excuse me, but I’ve waited for a month for the rent certificate. I really need the money. Shouldn’t I get back paid?”

Lady #1: “It will be with your next pay.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I was told it could be done immediately. I would also like to know how much the assistance will be.”

Lady #1: “Fine, take a seat and I’ll find out.”

(I wait another twenty minutes.)

Lady #1: “It will be [amount that’s $50 less than should be] and will be with your next pay. If you want money now, you have to get on the phone.” *walks away*

(I get on the phone to a department that is notorious for keeping people waiting and then not helping. I am extremely lucky to get a woman who goes above and beyond. She messages the lady I originally dealt with to actually upload the paperwork — which she hasn’t done — and gets the amount I am to receive corrected. Because the office I am in is closing, the lady I originally dealt with tells me I have to leave. The second lady promises to call me on my mobile once she has everything sorted out. Twenty minutes later, [Lady #2] calls me and verifies who I am.)

Lady #2: “I have some good news: [correct amount] will be in your account overnight. I’m sorry for what happened today at the office but I’ve had four people working on it and it has been escalated to a supervisor.”

Me: “Thank you so much. Everyone else I’ve dealt with didn’t care, but you’ve been amazing. I really appreciate it.”

Lady #2: “Not a problem; I’m glad I could help. Now you mentioned you need medication; is there anything else you need tonight? I won’t be able to give a lot right now as the money will be in your account tomorrow, but I can see what I can do.”

Me: “Just my meds, which will be about [amount], and something for dinner.”

Lady #2: “What about getting home? It’s too hot to be walking long distances.”

Me: “I have enough on [travel card] to get home. Thank you.”

Lady #2: “Okay, I’ve just put [amount] on your account, which means you’ll get [amount] tomorrow. Things will get better; keep your head up.”

Me: *now crying* “Thank you so much. You’ve been amazing. No one else I’ve talked to has cared. Thank you, have an amazing rest of your day.”

(This might not seem like a lot, but the second lady I spoke too really went above and beyond to get it sorted and make me feel better. So, to the lady, if you’re reading this, thank you; your kind words and going the extra mile to fix others’ mistakes for someone on the end of the phone really made a difference.)

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Now I’ve Heard It All, In Español

, , , , | Right | January 11, 2020

Me: “[Company] customer service. How can I help you?”

Customer: *obviously struggling with English* “Helou, I needo help with…” *tries to explain problem*

(It dawns on me that this person is Latino like me.) 

Me: “Oh, sir!” *in Spanish* “I can speak Spanish if you want.”

Customer: “No, no.” *in Spanish* “I want to speak with a person that speaks English.”

Me: *Spanish* “I speak English, sir. But it is hard to understand you; your Spanish is much better.”

Customer: *Spanish* “No, no, pass me on to an American that speaks English; this problem is too important and I know the best help is on the English-speaking lines.”

(At the end I had to transfer him. Later, I got reprimanded because my line is not supposed to be in Spanish. This actually happened often; my coworker explained that a lot of people think like this.)

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Half-Baked Excuses  

, , , , , | Right | January 10, 2020

(I am telefundraising for our school.)

Me: “Hello, I’m calling from [School]. Can I speak with Mr. [Call Recipient]?”

Old Man: “Why do you people always call when I’m eating my baked potato?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir… Is there a better time to reach you when you won’t be enjoying your potato?” 

Old Man: “I never know when I’ll be having one… but somehow you always do.”

(Click.)

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