Courage Under Fire, Part 2

| Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK | Bad Behavior, Theme Of The Month, Top, Wild & Unruly

(I am a supervisor at a car contract hire leasing company. The fire alarm goes off, so I call to my colleagues to apologise, hang up their calls, and leave NOW. One colleague is left as everyone files out. She is trying to talk over the very loud sound of the fire alarm.)

Colleague: *to customer on phone* “I’m sorry, the fire alarm is ringing and we have to evacuate. If you give me your number, I’ll call you back after.”

(I can hear the sound of irate shouting from the customer on the phone.)

Colleague: “Yes, but the fire alarm is ringing and we’re evacuating. If you won’t give me your number, can you call back later?”

(Sounds of more irate shouting.)

Colleague: “No, that’s the fire alarm. I can’t turn it down.”

(Sounds of yet more shouting.)

Colleague: *to me* “I don’t know what to do.”

Me: “Leave by the fire exit now.” *I take the phone*

Me: “Hello, I’m [name] and I’m the supervisor. The fire alarm is ringing. It’s not a drill and I’m going to have to terminate this call.”

Customer: “Where’s the f***ing b**** I was just talking to? I want her f***ing name. I will not be f***ing treated like this! It’s only a quick f***ing query, why won’t you f***ing answer it, you bunch of f***ing c****?!”

Me: “This building is on fire as far as we can tell. Call back later.”

Customer: “All I f***ing want is for someone to work out my early termination fee. That’ll only take five or ten minutes. What’s f***ing wrong with you people?”

Me: “The fire brigade is here.” *sound of sirens outside* “Frankly, sir, and I mean no disrespect, but people like you are not worth dying for. Call back later.”

Customer: “How dare you! I’m f***ing paying your f***ing—”

(I hang up and run down the fire escape. A few hours later, once the fire on the roof was put out the customer called back. He was very apologetic; he’d told his wife about the outrage he’d suffered. She pointed out how much of a dick he had been. He decided she was right.)

Related:
Courage Under Fire

Hit A Wall With This Caller

| WA, USA | Technology, Wild & Unruly

Me: “Thank you for calling [cellphone company]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “My cell phone isn’t powering on.”

Me: “Well, let’s see what’s going on with that.”

(After troubleshooting the problem turns out to be a warranty issue. Unfortunately, the customer’s warranty has run out.)

Customer: “Well, is there anything I can do? Don’t I have insurance on my phone?”

Me: “Yes you do, but the insurance only covers physical damage or a lost or stolen phone.”

(Suddenly, I hear a load crash over the phone.)

Me: “What was that?!”

Customer: “There I was, just minding my own business, when suddenly my wall tried to attack me! My phone, knowing it was about to die, heroically jumped in front of me taking the full force of the wall’s assault. Sadly, it has now broken in half.”

Me: “Well! Let me get you over to our insurance department while you prepare a Viking funeral for our brave hero!”

Customer: “Do I actually need to burn it?”

Me: “No, but it will drive the insurance people crazy!”

Calling Them Out(age)

| Plymouth, England, UK | Bad Behavior, Theme Of The Month

(It is the final few hours of my twelve hour shift. We have a scheduled system outage, which customers have been warned about for some time. There is a message whenever a customer dials, long before they have to select all of their options to reach us, informing them of the outage and the fact that apart from giving information, no one on the company can perform any action as there are NO computers. As a result, we get maybe one call every hour.)

Me: “Hello, you’re through to the billing department. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I would like to pay my son’s bill, please. He’s been cut off.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that, but there is nothing I can do for you this evening due to the scheduled outage. If you would like to call back tomorrow—”

Customer: “Isn’t there someone else who can do it?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry. The whole company is out at this time.”

Customer: “What about in India?”

Me: “I’m sorry. As I’ve said, the whole company is out until about midday tomorrow, as per the message—”

Customer: “What about a manager? I need to pay this! My son’s phone has been cut off!”

Me: “I understand your frustration, but there are no computer systems at all in the whole company. That means Plymouth, the call centres in North Tyneside, the fraud department in Bristol, and our colleagues in Mumbai.”

Customer: “This is completely unacceptable! How am I meant to know about this? What is my son supposed to do? He is cut off! You are deliberately not helping me! I demand to speak to your manager! I—”

Me: “You know what? I am a very good CSR. I do my job well. I am tired of having this conversation with someone who is being willfully ignorant. You have been warned about this outage for the last month, and to get to me you had to bypass at least two messages informing you of the problem. I have explained several times that the entire company is out. And you are completely right, I don’t care that your son was cut off, because you have had over a month to make this payment and it is extremely late. If you wish to avoid this situation in future I suggest you pay on time. Good night.”