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This Is How You React, Even If They’re Just Being A Drama Queen

, , , , | Right | November 17, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: Suicide Ideation

I was in my first week on the phones after training. As it was April of 2020, I was not in the office but being looked after in my work-from-home setup.

It was my last call of the day. The customer had physically damaged their device, so a repair was the next step. I was explaining the limited options due to lockdowns starting in their area and that they weren’t able to go to their preferred store due to this. The call had been relatively normal up to this point, though with a few minor phrasings and comments that made me think the caller might not be all there.

Me: “All right. Since you don’t want to do any of the repair options, we’re going to have to wait until things open up more.”

The caller spoke in the same tone that someone would use to comment on the weather in a boring conversation.

Caller: “Okay, I guess I’ll just kill myself, then.”

Panic mode instantly shut down almost everything, and I jump instantly to the “if a customer threatens harm” area of my training:

Me: “Please don’t hurt yourself; we don’t want you to hurt yourself. If you feel that way, you should talk to a doctor or someone—”

Caller: “No, I think I’ll just kill myself.” *Click*

I called back immediately, very panicked but keeping my tone as calm as I could.

Me: “I’m sorry, we seemed to get cut off there. I just wanted to make sure you were all right and heard what I was saying — that we don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

Caller: *Slightly confused tone* “But I can’t go to [Repair Shop] and my [Device] is broken?”

Me: “No, you can’t right now, I’m sorry. The only other way to get it fixed right now is [slightly roundabout method].”

Customer: “Yeah, I’ll just do something, maybe kill myself. Bye.”

I freaked out more than a little, calling up the supervisor level, asking if it counted as a customer being in “immediate physical danger” because, again, that tone was so casual. My brain was just looping on the “threat”.

The supervisor managed to calm me down and gently explained that I had done my best, but if the customer wasn’t accepting my comments, it wasn’t like we could force them into medical help, and since we didn’t really know where they were, then it wasn’t like we could get an ambulance out there.

I ended up at my end-of-day briefing sobbing over it and had no less than three of our trainers jumping up on the conference program to call me directly and make sure I was okay.

I STILL don’t know what was going on in that person’s head, or if they really meant anything by it, but I lost someone important to such thoughts, so there was no way I wouldn’t try to stop it if I could.

The weirdest praise I got for it, though, came from the trainer who I’d chosen for the comfort, who reinforced that they were impressed at how well I’d reacted to it in terms of giving the customer the correct information — that we didn’t want them hurt and that they should see a doctor for those feelings — and attempting to get help. Apparently, she didn’t think even a fully-trained supervisor would have responded with those sentiments so immediately. So… good for me for having a traumatic childhood?

Doing It For The Ella It

, , , , | Right | November 17, 2022

I had a call with an elderly gentleman who had an issue with his satellite box that was easily resolved.

Customer: “Thank you for the help. You’ve been so nice to me.”

Me: “Glad I could help. Have a good day now!”

Customer: “Can I play some music for you?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: “You’ve been so nice, and I want to do something nice in return. Can I play a song for you?”

Me: *Pauses* “Well, I suppose.”

He proceeded to put his phone down by his stereo and put on an Ella Fitzgerald song. He had no way of knowing, but she’s one of my favourite artists and I enjoyed every second of the song.

That call absolutely destroyed my average call time for the rest of the week. So worth it.

The Customer Is Just Accentuating The Problem

, , , , , | Right | November 16, 2022

I work from home for a shoe company in the customer service department. My particular department deals with USA customers. A man calls regarding a credit on his account; he wants to use that to purchase another item.

I must note that I have a northern English accent, but just as I can have trouble with American accents, I always believe patience is key because accents are just a way of life.

Customer: “What is the name of the shoes that I had before? I want to look them up on the website.”

Me: “The name is [Shoe].”

Customer: “What? I cannot understand you. Is that English?”

I repeat the name three times and use it in a sentence.

Customer: “Your accent is too thick! Are there any Americans to speak English to me?”

Me: “I apologise; we do not have any USA staff and I have not had this problem before. I will try to speak slower.”

I speak slower, and the customer begins to sarcastically laugh.

Customer: “Does anyone else speak better English?”

Me: *Through gritted teeth* “The employees on call tonight — apart from me — are actually from Liverpool, and you may find that a harder accent to understand, but I can transfer you.”

The customer sighs dramatically.

Me: “I understand that we both have accents. If you can be patient, I will speak as slowly as possible.”

The call somehow comes to an end, and I finalise the transaction — however, not before I am subjected to the customer telling me:

Customer: “You don’t speak English; it’s like Mandarin English.”

He laughs hysterically. My silence must speak volumes.

Customer: “You don’t find that funny?”

Me: “No!”

I then hung up.

Sounds Like He Hasn’t Built His Echo Chamber Yet

, , , , , , | Right | November 13, 2022

I work for an ISP, and I get this call.

Caller: “You need to cancel some Internet pages! They’re saying things that I don’t like about [President]!”

Me: “Sir, we just provide you with access to the Internet. We’re not responsible for what is actually on the Internet.”

Caller: “Well, that’s stupid! As a patriot, you shouldn’t be allowing these people to say these things about [President]!”

Me: “Sir, the Internet is an open forum for lots of opinions about every subject. If you don’t agree with them, then—”

Caller: “Oh, these aren’t opinions. It’s the news!”

Me: “News?”

Caller: “Yes!”

Me: “If they’re verified news, then what is your complaint?”

Caller: “Aren’t you listening, son? I don’t like them!”

Me: “Maybe you should avoid that particular website, then, sir?”

Caller: “But it’s on all of them! Here, I made a list of sites for you to close: CNN, NBC, BBC—”

Me: “Sir, we can’t do that!”

Caller: “Useless! I never would have gotten this Internet thing if I’d known it would tell me things I didn’t want to hear!” *Click*

Vaccines And Flat-Earthers And Q, Oh My!

, , , , , | Right | November 12, 2022

I work at a call center for a phone company.

Caller: “You need to take away the 5G!”

Me: “Pardon me, sir? What do you mean?”

Caller: “The 5G! I saw it on Facebook! It causes autism!”

Me: “Sir, I can absolutely assure you that isn’t true.”

Caller: “But I saw it on Facebook!”

Me: “Sir, you shouldn’t trust everything you read on Facebook. It’s not really a news site.”

Caller: “Get me your manager! You sound like you’ve been brainwashed by the media.”

I’ve been brainwashed?!

Me: “Yes, sir.”

I call the manager over and explain the situation. He looks at the account information, rolls his eyes, and takes over.

Manager: “Yes, sir, I heard you’re worried about the 5G causing autism. Well, don’t worry, the 5G doesn’t cause autism. The 5G towers are just placed strategically to spray lots of vaccines into the air. These vaccines contain the microchips that cause 5G, and they’re simply for government spying, not autism. Autism is just what the media wants you to think is the problem, so they can keep on spying. Okay, thanks for calling, and bye!”

He hangs up while I just stare at him in shock.

Manager: “Next week is the annual manager’s conference. We’re having a competition to see who got the nuttiest conspiracy theorist and who best shut them down. Last year, [Other Manager] won by getting a Flat Earther who was worried he would lose his signal the closer he got to the ‘edge’. I was hoping to get one of these this week, so thank you!”

Sadly, my manager didn’t win that next week. That went to a caller who thought we were all acting against “QAnon” and wanted to cancel their contract for patriotic reasons.