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No Transference Occurrence

, , , , , | Right | March 20, 2023

My department essentially acts as a switchboard for a fairly large company with a lot of locations and a lot of departments at each of those locations. Mostly, our customers are happy to get a live person who makes sure they get to exactly who they need to help them, and they don’t mind being transferred.

Sometimes… they mind a lot.

This particular customer cuts me off before I can finish my greeting.

Customer: “I want to know what this ‘service charge’ on my statement is!”

Me: “Oh, uh, okay. Let me get you to accounts receivable and they can check your account for you—”

Customer: “No! I want you to help me!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I don’t have access to accounts to look at that. But receivables will definitely be able to help—”

Customer: *Getting increasingly aggressive* “Do not transfer me! You are going to help me! I want to know what this service charge is!”

Me: “Ma’am, I have no way to know what any charges on your account are—”

Customer: “Why not?!”

Me: “Because I’m not in accounts receivables, so I don’t have access to customer accounts. I just answer phones—”

Customer: “Well, get access! This is terrible customer service!”

Me: “There’s no way for me to get access, ma’am, but I will make sure someone in receivables picks up before I transfer you—”

Customer:No! No, no, no, no! You help me!”

Me: “The only way I can help you is by transferring you—”

Customer: “I want to talk to your supervisor! This is not how you treat customers!”

I dread the caller’s reaction to my next words.

Me: “Okay, but… I’ll have to transfer you.”

Customer: “Fine.”

I put the customer on hold and call over to receivables. My favorite lady over there answers, and I give her the summary of what I just dealt with.

Me: “I don’t know what to do with her. My manager isn’t here, and yours is showing as being in a meeting.”

Accounts Receivable: “Oh, I know who you’re talking about. She does this every few months, and I just talked to her a few minutes ago. She knows what the service charge is for; she just wants us to remove it. My manager just got out of that meeting and knows the situation. Would you mind transferring the caller to her?”

Me: “I will absolutely do that!”

The accounts receivable representative messaged me with more of the story a few minutes later. Apparently, the customer regularly paid late but had gotten out of late fees — the service charges — up to that point because the previous AR manager didn’t want to deal with the complaints. The new AR manager decided the customer had gotten out of enough late fees and refused to budge this time, leading the customer to try to get someone else to remove those fees. It didn’t work.

Might As Well Disconnect; They’re Already Disconnected From Reality

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Dpopov | March 20, 2023

I’ve worked at different call centers from auto insurance to pharmacy to furniture. I’ve developed a pretty thick skin and really, there are very few things that bother me. I can usually work an entire shift without getting upset. Usually.

Today, I get a call where the lady manages to do every single thing I hate.

Mid-opening spiel, the lady interrupts me.

Customer: “Hey, hey, stop. Just stop. I don’t need to hear this. I want to make a payment. My name is [Customer].”

Strike one. I hate being cut off — on purpose — just for you to be rude.

Me: “Okay, I can help you with that. May I have your account number?”

Customer: “No. I’m not giving that to you.”

Me: “Okay, well, I need to locate your account to take the payment.”

Customer: “Why do you need my number? I gave you my name; that should be enough.”

Really? Are you being serious?

Me: *In my calmest voice* “I’m afraid I need more information. If you don’t want to give me your account number, that’s okay; I can look it up with your Social Security number or phone number.”

Customer: “I’m not giving you either. I don’t give my phone out, and if I don’t give that, do you really think I’ll give you my SSN?”

Me: “Okay, I can try—”

Customer: “Don’t tell me; just do it. And hurry it up. I don’t have all day.”

Strike two. You’re not going to rush me. I really hate that. Especially when YOU’RE the reason it’s taking so long.

Me: “Can I have your address?”

Customer: “Oh, my f****** God. What do you want, my blood type? The names of my children? Fine, here’s my d*** account.”

And she proceeds to speed-read it to me in a blur of numbers.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, it was breaking up a little. Can you repeat that?”

It’s BS, but I thought it the most “polite way” to tell her, “Slow the h*** down.”

Customer: “Oh. My. God. Are you stupid? Or just incompetent? Where are you? You’re in the Philippines, aren’t you? You people are useless. Get me someone in the US!”

Strike three. First, don’t get so personal with me. You’re angry? I get it, but I’m not your punching bag. Now, this doesn’t bother me as much. But being insulting AND racist? That’s a definitive no-go with me. I won’t put up with you after that.

At this point, I’m about to hang up on her, but I decide to have a little fun. If she’s going to be a jerk, I can be a jerk, too. Now, I don’t usually do this, but… some people just deserve it.

Me: “I’m in the US, ma’am — in Arizona, to be precise. Now, may I have your account number again?”

Customer: “What’s the capital of Arizona? Quick, don’t Google it.”

Me: “Phoenix. Now, would you like me to help you?”

Customer: *Exaggerated sigh* “Fine. I don’t believe you, but I don’t have time for this anymore. The account is [account number]. My password is [password]. My address is [address]. I want to make a payment for [bill] withdrawn on [date].”

Again, she says all that in three seconds flat. The account hasn’t even populated. It indeed has a password.

Me: “Okay, ma’am, you said you wanted to use the account ending in [digits]?”

Customer: “Oh, my God, Jesus, I hate this company. Yes, that’s what I said. I told you already, dumba**. Are you even listening to me? Do you understand English?”

Me: “Ma’am, for accuracy reasons, I need to verify this information lest we take the money from the wrong account, which would cause you unwanted fees.”

Customer: “You’re d*** right, you’re not charging me any fees. I’ve been a customer for [number] years, and if you want to keep my business — which I’m probably going to take elsewhere anyway based on how poorly I’ve been treated — you’re not penalizing me. Are we done here?” 

Strike four. Entitlement. I hate these “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you, I’m your boss, I’m your god” people.

At this point, I’m just having fun with her before I unplug my ethernet cable. I found out that when I do this (I work from home), it shows as a connectivity issue with the virtual desktop on the company’s end, not mine. I never use this — ace in the hole and all that — except in situations like this, or when I’m at my shift’s end and have to leave and the customer won’t hang up.

Me: “Well, just so you know, said fees are not ours; we would be charged these fees by your bank and we wouldn’t be able to waive them.”

Customer: “Really? Well, you would! I am a great customer, and you would be idiots to let me go!”

Ha! She took the bait! She then proceeds to rant for a couple of minutes, wasting more of her time. I don’t care. My AHT (average handle time) has gone to h*** anyway; we’re at twenty-plus minutes by now.

Customer: “I have to go. Did you do your job and take my payment?”

Me: “One second. I just need to read a disclosure.”

We actually do have a disclosure.

Customer: “I’m already over my lunch! HURRY!”

I did mention how I hate being rushed, right?

I started reading the disclosure and unplugged the Ethernet cable. I didn’t finish the disclosure and thus didn’t get her approval, which meant I couldn’t take the payment, which meant she’d have to call back.

I know, I know, I’m an a***hole. But I just hate people like this with all my might — especially her being racist, as a foreign-born US citizen who lived outside the US for half my life but moved a decade ago.

It was a bittersweet call in that I really wanted to punch something after that call, and I had to log out for a minute to take a breath, but I also felt a twinge of happiness just imagining her face and attitude when the call dropped.

Should’ve Gotten Out While The Getting Was Good

, , , | Right | March 16, 2023

During my time as a customer service representative for a cell phone carrier, a customer called in upset over something. (I don’t remember the exact details.) I was willing to issue a courtesy credit. It was the customer’s fault, but whatever circumstances were involved, I was okay with giving a small credit.

But the customer wasn’t having it.

Customer: “That’s not good enough! I want the entire amount credited! Let me talk to a supervisor!”

My supervisor not only backed my findings, but he also revoked my credit offer and refused to send the call higher or back to me.

Cruising On A Sea Of Lies

, , , , | Right | March 15, 2023

I’m speaking with a customer who’s angry about a cruise that was canceled.

Customer: “I even spoke with the manager! He told me that in an event of a cancellation, I would be entitled to a refund and a free cruise!

Me: “Sir, that was me you spoke to, and I did not tell you that!”

Now We Want To Know What The First Guy Did!

, , , , | Legal | March 13, 2023

I work at a call center for a company that installs security systems, and part of the job of customer service is taking calls from customers who have canceled their services and making sure the appointment to remove our equipment is scheduled.

This customer is quite clearly irate and is talking in a way that, for lack of a better term, sounds fidgety. Pulling up his account, I see that he’s canceled and is awaiting the appointment to remove the equipment.

Me: “All right, it looks like your appointment is scheduled for [date] between [time #1] and [time #2]. Is there anything I can help with regarding that?”

Customer: “You guys aren’t gonna send out the same person who put this stuff in.”

I cannot stress enough that this is not a question. The customer says, flat-out, that we are not going to send out the same person. I was told during my training that often the branches do send out the same person who put in the equipment to take it out, since they know where everything is and how it’s set up, etc., but sometimes due to scheduling, they can’t, and since I’m hundreds of miles away in a call center, I can’t promise either way.

Me: “Which specific technician is sent is handled by the local branch, so I’m not able to advise—”

Customer: “You send back that same guy, he’s gonna be leaving in a f****** body bag, you get me?”

I’m stunned. I am still pretty new, and while we’ve been told that customers can be rude and that we can hang up on customers swearing at us or using abusive language, etc., we have certainly not been given instruction on how to handle threats of violence against employees!

I’m very thankful that I’m quick on my feet; I quickly write down the call identifier (a number the managers can use to review call recordings) and respond after perhaps missing one beat.

Me: “I’m sure you realize that I’ll need to report this threat to my management?”

Customer: “Yeah, you do that.” *Hangs up*

As soon as he hangs up, I make sure I am out of the queue so another call won’t come through to me and speed-walk over to my manager’s desk.

Manager: “What’s up, [My Name]? You look awful worked up.”

Me: *Handing him my note* “Yeah, well, this guy just threatened that if the same tech who installed his stuff comes back to take it out, he’ll be — and I quote — ‘leaving in a f****** body bag.’ Here’s the call number.”

Manager: “Well, that’s a new one for me. I’ll contact the local branch’s manager. Don’t worry; they’ll be fine.”

Me: “Yeah, but even if it’s not the same tech, if this guy’s the type to make threats like that, I’d still be worried.”

Manager: “[My Name], we’re a security company. We get along really well with the police. The manager of the branch will probably get a police escort for any tech that goes out there and might even go out there personally to make sure everybody’s safe if he’s not already booked for appointments.”

Hearing that did make me feel a lot better about the whole situation. If anything, I find it kind of funny that I almost forgot what the company I worked for did.

I didn’t end up hearing back anything after this conversation, but I take that as a sign that nothing came of the threat. Hopefully, that guy got at least a very stern talking-to from some police officers about making threats!