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You Keep Using That Phrase…

, , , | Right | CREDIT: ItchyScallion | January 14, 2022

I used to work at a call centre, where a big part of my job was managing warranty claims on faulty handsets. A customer called in, having made a complaint before, and having been given a resolution for a refund of £1,700 (USD $2,300) to his account. Not too shabby.

However, it had been ten days — our timescale — and still, no refund.

I couldn’t see any reason why there had been a delay, so went to speak to a manager who could check how the payment was coming along. It turned out someone had just made a dumb error, and the payment hadn’t gone through. Easily fixed, thankfully.

We made payments by submitting a VERY tightly secured form. I explained this, and seeing he had some data concerns from the notes on his account, I assured him his data was very safe.

I apologised to the customer and advised him that, as management was aware of this and closely keeping an eye on it, he should get his big juicy payment around the middle of next week. I apologised profusely for the delay; it wasn’t his fault at all, of course. He seemed to be agreeable, and just as I was about to wind the call down…

Customer: “Wait. Do you not need my card details?”

Me: “No, my colleague who took your last call submitted everything using your bank account details, and we’ve double-checked that it’s all there. You don’t need to do anything else at all to get the refund.”

Customer: “But then how do I know my payment is coming?”

Me: “I’m sorry for the delay. It should be with you by Wednesday next week at the latest.”

Customer: “But you don’t have my card details.”

Me: “My colleague on your last call took all the details we need to get that refund sorted — just your bank account details, for a bank transfer.”

Customer: “Well, that’s money laundering, then, isn’t it?”

Me: *Pauses* “Um… no, we do not need card details to make a bank transfer.”

Customer: “But I paid for my phone by card. You’re using one way to take money and another to give it back.”

Me: “The refund is being paid by bank transfer. It is not money laundering, just a means of refunding you for the £1,700 agreed on during your last call.”

Customer: “But that’s money laundering.”

It took about ten minutes to communicate what a bank transfer is.

This man has children. And I’ve never seen someone so loath to get a free £1,700.

An Interesting Twist On, “Yes, I’m A Real Person”

, , | Right | CREDIT: inq101 | January 13, 2022

I work in a call center. A call connects.

Me: “Good afternoon, [Company]—”

Customer: “Finally. Put me through to your manager.”

Me: “Could you please tell me what the issue is? I might be able to help.”

Customer: “No, I want to speak to your manager.”

Me: “I do need to know what the issue is so I can tell my team leader.”

Customer: “I’ve been waiting for hours!”

I’m confused. The rush ended about an hour ago, there’s been no queue waiting for forty minutes, and it’s actually been five minutes since my last call ended.

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear that, miss. There doesn’t seem to be any wait at the moment; maybe there’s a technical issue. Do you know what time you started this call?”

Customer: *Confused* “About a minute ago.”

Me: “And how long were you on hold before that?”

Customer: “About ten seconds.”

Me: “I don’t think I understand. Didn’t you say you were on hold?”

Customer: “No. I was waiting. I called earlier, but they put me on hold, so I told that woman to call me back and she didn’t.”

We don’t have a callback service, only doing it if there’s a major system error, something we’ve gone almost two whole weeks without.

Me: “Do you have the name of the person who offered the callback?”

Customer: “No, but it’s that girl who tells you that you are in a queue, and someone will be with you soon.”

I manage to mute myself before I laugh at the customer. She is describing the recorded message played on repeat to everyone waiting to be connected, a fully automated system with no recording, no one manning it, no one checking. I’m not entirely sure how I can resolve this and I know my team leader will get a kick out of it all.

Me: “I’ll need to take your name, as well, and then I’ll get my manager for you.”

And yes, even after having everything explained to her, she did still make an official complaint. We did hold a full review of the situation. The resolution was that, since the complaint was not directed at any staff members or against the company itself, we would not be able to resolve the complaint.

Broken By The Brokerage

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: hyacinth-wine | January 12, 2022

I work in a bank’s call centre. It’s pretty rough at the start of the month, so I am gearing up for some weird cases.

A customer calls in, enquiring about a payment that didn’t go through to a brokerage firm. While he talks, I go through his last calls and find that he is, unfortunately, a pretty entitled customer. Uh-oh. I do my best to be chipper.

Me: “Okay, sir! It seems like your payment has made it through on our end. In this case, I would advise you to check with the brokerage if there’ve been any problems.”

Customer: “Look, I just checked with them. They said to call my bank.”

Me: “I see. Did they mention anything about the status of the payment on their end?”

Customer: “They said it’s pending. That’s definitely on you.”

It isn’t. This particular payment type is usually instant, and it sure as h*** looks like it is through on our system. I do my best to explain to him how it works and to let him know he can try and check with the brokerage again.

Customer: “Fine. If you’re so insistent on brushing me off, I’ll call them now. Stay on the line.”

The customer, to my dismay, proceeds to ring the brokerage up on his landline while I am still with him on the phone. I sit through the dial tone and the hold music.

The call is picked up by this guy who sounds like I feel. He has the unfortunate job of confirming that the issue is on the brokerage’s end.

The customer proceeds to go ballistic on him, shouting about how it is ridiculous that his payment is being held for no reason. The line begins cutting off at several points, and [Brokerage Employee]’s voice is pretty muffled on my end. I cringe for him the entire time.

Customer: “HELLO?”

Me: “Yes, hello.”

Customer: “Tell this b*****d it went through on the bank’s end!”

Me: *Slightly panicked* “Sir, I’m sure they’re doing their best to work on the problem—”

Customer: “JUST TELL HIM!”

I kept up my customer service voice, got the customer’s permission to reveal his account information to [Brokerage Employee], and proceeded to convey what I saw to him.

[Brokerage Employee] sounded a bit drained, and I wanted badly to give him the encouragement he needed. The best I could do was an apology for the trouble that sounded sickeningly scripted as ever. [Brokerage Employee] gave me an equally professional, “No worries.”

The customer curtly ended the call with me after. I hope [Brokerage Employee] had a smooth shift after that.

It’s Not Our Policy To Accept Screamed Policies

, , , , | Right | January 11, 2022

We are an inbound-only call centre and I work in the sales department. This is exclusively for people looking to take out new policies, but we frequently get calls for other departments because people either don’t know what department they need or don’t want to listen through the options. This leads to our queue being quite long most days.

Customer: “Finally! Why does it always take so long for you guys to answer the phone? I’ve been waiting for like an hour!”

The call timer shows he entered our department’s queue only ten minutes ago, but I don’t mention this.

Me: “I’m sorry about the wait, sir. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I have a policy with you.”

I wait, expecting more information, but I realise none is coming.

Me: “And how can I help you with that?”

Customer: “Well, I need to make a claim, obviously!”

Me: “In that case, sir, I’ll need to transfer you to our claims team. There will be a short hold.”

Customer: “No! Don’t you dare put me on hold! I’m not waiting any longer. I’ll give you the details so you can log it for me.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that, sir. The claims department uses a completely separate system from us and I’ve not been trained for it.”

Customer: “Then you can just take the details now and pass on the details to them. I don’t have time for this.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but as you pointed out at the beginning of the call, we have a bit of a wait for this line. I can’t take myself away from customers that actually need something from this line, but the claims team isn’t a busy as us today, so you should get through fairly quickly.”

Customer: “I told you I’m not waiting!”

He then began to tell me the claim details, screamed at me to pass it on, and hung up. I hadn’t even brought up a policy for him or gone through security, so even if I was trained for that line, I wouldn’t have been able to log it.

Needs A More Accented Approach

, , , , , | Right | January 11, 2022

I get an email from a coworker.

Coworker: “Can you please call [phone number] and ask him what he needed help with? I tried calling him myself, but for some reason, he said that my English was terrible and he couldn’t understand barely a word I was saying. I’m guessing it’s because he’s a native English speaker and my accent is different? I’m very confused.”

This particular coworker is from Colombia, and although she does have an accent, no one has ever had any trouble communicating with her. In fact, one of the requirements to even get a job here is to be able to speak English.

When I dial the number, the software advises me that the number is in the Czech Republic. The conversation — heavily condensed — is as follows.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from [Company].”

Customer: *In a thick accent* “Thanskyoucallingmebackinmiddleofmeetingyousetanothertime…”

Me: “I’m sorry, can you say that that slower?”


Me: “Yes, sir, I am from the US. I just need—”

Customer: “Nooo… it’s very bad English, like you start learning two months.”

Me: “Sir, if you are going to be abusive, I’m going to terminate this call. Now, you contacted us asking for assistance, and we are trying to help you.”

Customer: “WhatIsayIwasinmeetingyougivemeanotherforcallisverycomplicated—”

Me: “Sir… slower!

This goes on for a solid five minutes until I am finally able to gather that he can’t talk to me because he was in an important meeting and wants to set up a time for a call-back to discuss the issue in detail.

After getting off the phone with him, I leave my coworker an email.

Me: “First of all, this customer isn’t even remotely anywhere near any level of fluency in English, let alone native. It took me five minutes to understand that he was trying to tell me that I needed to call him back at another time. Then, it took a good two minutes to communicate a new time to call. Unfortunately, you have people out there who think that since they can speak a comprehensible amount of a foreign language at a level where others can understand them, they feel that by ‘stepping on the gas’ and talking fast, they’ll sound like a native. And when the other person has difficulties understanding them (and vice versa), they try to flip it around and say your English is bad. Don’t worry about Donald Duck here; there is absolutely nothing wrong with your English whatsoever. I actually wish my fluency in German was as fluent as your English!”

And she was able to perk back up and confidently continue on with her shift.