Stupid In Surround Sound

, , , , , | Right | January 18, 2020

(This story happens when I’m working as a supervisor at a call center, on an account which provides inbound customer service for an electronics company. In this case, a call is being escalated to me regarding a customer who is demanding service for his in-warranty TV without being willing to do any of the basic, required troubleshooting. This user’s TV is having an issue with the picture intermittently experiencing interference or jumpiness, across all connected devices — a problem which has become more and more frequent for him. I’ve been on the phone with the user for about twenty minutes before he says something which triggers my “spidey-senses,” and which the front-line agent didn’t mention.)

User: “I know it’s your TV’s fault! My A/V guy hooked everything up; it’s six feet in the air, and I can’t get to the power plug or any of the cords! I’m not taking it down to do anything! Just send someone to fix it!”

Me: “I understand the frustration. There are some troubleshooting steps we must take before sending a technician out, however, just to ensure the problem really is with the television. Additionally, based on what you’ve described, the TV would need to be taken down prior to the technician’s arrival anyway. I did want to ask, though — you mentioned you have an A/V guy; are all of your connected devices running through a single system, such as a receiver or surround system?”

User: “Yeah, so what?”

Me: “Out of curiosity, have you tried connecting something directly to the TV, instead of running it through the receiver, and seeing if the problem continues?”

User: “I’m not doing that! I told you I can’t get to any of the cords; everything’s behind the TV and the wall!”

Me: “I understand that; however, this is something we’d need to do in order to rule out the possibility that the problem is actually the receiver or surround system.”

User: “It’s not! My guy is a professional and this was expensive equipment! Just send someone out!”

Me: “Again, the TV will need to be taken down before a technician could look at it anyway. Also, the first thing they’re going to do is connect something directly to the TV and see if the problem happens there. Could I have you get hold of your A/V guy to take the TV down and try connecting something directly to the TV? If you do, and the problem continues on that device, we’ll gladly send someone out to take a look.”

User:Fine! I’ll call him tomorrow, but it’s not my equipment; it’s your TV! When it doesn’t work, I’m calling back and demanding you, and you will send someone out to replace it with a brand-new TV!”

Me: “We can definitely look into that, but if this is an issue with the TV — and I’m not convinced it is — we would first try to repair it.”

User: “Ugh, whatever. I’ll be calling back to talk to you!” *click*

(Out of curiosity, I followed up on their case file periodically over the next couple of weeks. They never called back. Guess my hunch was right. I’ll never understand how people can insist it’s not their $2,000 surround system that’s broken, it’s their TV… which also cost them about $2,000.)

A Squeaky Clean Break

, , , , | Right | January 18, 2020

Me: “Thank you for calling [My Company]. This is [My Name]; how may I help you today?”

Member: “Oh, honey, no. This isn’t gonna work. Transfer me out; your voice is just too squeaky.”

Unfiltered Story #182913

, | Unfiltered | January 18, 2020

(This took place back when I was in the customer service area for the major insurance company I work for. We provide coverage for when agencies aren’t open and frequently answer payment questions, this caller had questions about whose name appeared on the policy)

Caller: Yes well I’m looking at my bill and it has my name on the auto policy. My name shouldn’t be on any auto policy I haven’t driven since 2010 when I gave up my lease.

Me: Alright well I’m certainly sorry to hear about the trouble ma’am, give me a moment to look over your information and I’ll see what we can do to help you out. *looks over account information, sees that her name is on the payment plan all of the policies are under*

Me: Okay well I’m actually not seeing you listed as a named insured on this policy, you said you were looking at a bill, can you tell me exactly what the bill says?

Caller: Well it came in mine and my husband’s name and it has the account number listed, then below that there’s the two vehicles and our homeowners insurance. I haven’t owned a car since 2010 so my name shouldn’t be on an auto policy.

Me: I understand, like I said earlier, I’m not showing you listed as a named insured on the policy, however I do see that you are listed as an account holder for the payment plan that all of your policies are under.

Caller: What’s a payment plan? You aren’t listening to me, I know what I’m talking about. Take my name off of the auto policy, I don’t drive anymore.

Me: *rubs temples, beginning to feel exasperated* Ma’am you aren’t listed on the auto policy, the auto policy is under your husband’s name. Your name is on the payment plan account that you had your agent set up to divide your premium payments up into smaller installments.

Caller: So the agent put my name on the auto policy? *raises voice* I specifically told them that I haven’t driven since 2010 when I surrendered my lease, this is a nightmare why can’t your company do anything right? Take my name off of the auto policy right now!

(the conversation continues on in this manner for another 28 minutes while I try to explain in various ways that she’s not associated with the actual policy)

Me: *takes a deep breath* Alright ma’am, well what I can do for you this evening is send a message to the agent’s office requesting that they contact you as soon as they’re back in the office to discuss why you’re on the auto policy. Is there anything else I can do for you at the moment?

Caller: Well just make sure that they know I haven’t driven since 2010 and they need to take me off of the auto policy because that car has nothing to do with me.

Me: Alright well thank you so much for calling [Company Name] would you have time for a brief 5 question automated survey?

Caller: I’m not doing anything until my name is off the auto policy.

Me: Okay well you enjoy the rest of your evening.
*caller disconnects*
I sent the following message over to the agent’s office: Ms. [Name] called in wanting to know “why her name is on the auto policy.” I attempted to explain that her name is associated with the payment plan but she would like you to call her back and explain why “you put her on the auto policy” when she told you not to. Please get in touch with her as soon as possible.

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.)

1 Thumbs

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***?!”


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?”


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.

1 Thumbs