Some English Is Not The Same English As Your English

, , , , | | Right | May 20, 2019

(I am trying to explain to the customer that she will have to pay $25 for her service because her insurance only covers half of it, but she is obviously having some difficulty understanding the coverage details. I’ve explained to her about twenty times how it works, lining the details up in the simplest way possible. Throughout the entire call, the customer has been switching between her and a companion. While the customer herself seems to have difficulty giving me the information I need, her companion seems to have trouble hearing me at all. I am speaking to the companion when this happens. Keep in mind that I was born and raised in a family that spoke only English, and do not have a thick accent at all.)

Me: *explaining the situation for the twentieth time*

Customer: “What?”

Me: “Here, ma’am, let me explain it again…”

Customer: “Can I speak to someone who speaks English?”

Me: “I’m sorry? I don’t know what you mean…”

Customer: *very slowly* “English. I want someone who speaks English.”

(I am completely thrown off, as she is treating me as if I’ve been speaking with a very thick, foreign accent when I have been speaking completely normally. I decide to just go with it and get a supervisor to speak to the customer since I’m not having any luck getting through to them.)

Me: “Okay, may I put you on a brief hold while I get someone on the line?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: *slowly* “A brief hold?”

Customer: “Oh. Okay.”

(I found a supervisor and brought them over. The supervisor ended up repeating exactly what I had said and finished up the call. All of my coworkers had a nice laugh about it afterward, as I had clearly spent a long time with the customers trying to explain to them what was going on.)

A Catalog Of Errors

, , , , | | Right | May 19, 2019

(I work in a call center that supports our product catalog. Normally, when customers call in looking for current pricing on an item, we like to put a record of the transaction on their account. If the customer is brand new to us, we like to get basic info from them so we can enter them into our system. Calls like this happen far too often:)

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

Caller: “I need to get pricing on one of your items.”

Me: “Okay. Can I get your account number, please?”

Caller: “I don’t have an account. This is my first time calling. I found you online.”

Me: “All right, can I get your business name and mailing address so I can get you set up in our system? It will just take a minute.”

Caller: “I am not going to give you that information. I don’t need you to start sending me a bunch of your garbage, or worse, sell it to someone else; I’ll be getting junk mail for the rest of my life.”

(Our company rules state if the customer starts getting agitated in a situation like this, we can give them the info they are looking for so they can go on with their day.)

Me: “Okay, sir, the price on this item is $[total].”

Caller: “Fine, and can you send me more info on this item?”

Me: “Would you like me to send you one of our catalogs? It has a lot of info on this specific product, as well as everything else we carry.”

Caller: “You guys have a catalog? Can you send me one?”

Me: *rolling eyes* “Yes, we can. Can I have your business name and mailing address, please?”

Data Protection Protects You From Callers Like Her

, , , , , | | Legal | May 16, 2019

(I am working in the collections department for an energy supplier when I get a call from a woman regarding a letter she says she received. She says she has a question about it. She gives me a reference number and I pull up the account.)

Me: “I’ve got the account up. May I ask your name?

(The customer gives me her name and it is the same as on the account. I then ask her to confirm address and DOB, both of which match what is on the account.)

Me: “Thank you for confirming those details. What was your query?”

Customer: “Yes, what is this letter all about?”

Me: “There is a balance on the account. It needs to be paid. You owe [amount].”

Customer: “No, I don’t.”

Me: “I’m not seeing any payments since [date].”

Customer: “No, you don’t understand. This isn’t my account.”

Me: “Your name is on the account and you confirmed the address.”

Customer: “No, no. This letter isn’t for me. This is my friend’s account. My name is [Different Name].”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, I can no longer discuss the account with you without the customer’s permission. Is the customer there?”

Customer: “You just broke the data protection law. You disclosed my friend’s details.”

Me: “Actually, madam, you committed fraud.”

Customer: “No, I didn’t. I never said I was the customer. You broke the law; now you’re going to lose your job. I’m going to report you.”

Me: “Actually, madam, when I asked what your name was, you told me it was [Customer’s Name], when I asked what your address was, you said it was [Customer’s address], and when I asked you to confirm your date of birth, you told me it was [Customer’s DOB]. You pretended to be your friend, which is fraud.”

Customer: “No, I didn’t. If you heard that, that’s your fault. I’m going to report you!”

Me: “You are welcome to report this to the data commissioner. I’ll get you the details if you like. We are obligated to report this incident, as well, and will send the recording of this call to prove what was said.”

Customer: “How dare you say that to me?! Get me your manager!”

(I got my manager, who took over the call. My manager promised to listen to the call and arranged to call the woman back once she had done so. Later that day, my manager came and spoke to me. She listened to the call and confirmed that the customer definitely committed fraud – she clearly said her name, address, and DOB were the customer’s. My manager gave me an anti-fraud form to fill in so it could be passed on to the police. During the call, the woman gave me her full name, and she gave my manager several phone numbers when they arranged the callback, one of which was a work number. My manager also got the woman’s address because she wanted me to write her a formal apology for accusing her of committing fraud. All these details went on the form we sent to the police.)

Some People Are Jerks And That’s Final

, , , , , | | Right | May 16, 2019

(I used to work for an electricity company’s call centre. I now work in an office, and I overhear this conversation. My coworker is not the nicest or brightest person in the world.)

Coworker: “I have a bill here that says, ‘final bill.’ I need to know if this bill is a final bill. No, I won’t tell you my account number! Tell me if it’s a final bill! I don’t care if you can’t see the account!”

(This goes on for a few minutes until she’s speaking in an utterly condescending tone.)

Coworker: “I know it says, ‘final bill,’ on it. I need to know if that means it’s a final bill. Derrrr!”

(The poor soul on the other end finally convinces her that yes, “final bill” means, “final bill.”)

Coworker: *muttering to herself* “How stupid are some people? How hard is it to tell me if a final bill is a final bill? That’s all I needed to know! Morons!”

(I’m so thankful I don’t work in an electricity call centre anymore. This, unfortunately, is a typical call.)

Something Off About That Call

, , | | Right | May 14, 2019

(I work at a call center for a major technology firm. I overhear one of my coworkers’ first calls of the day, early Saturday morning.)

Coworker: “No, sir, if your phone won’t actually turn on, then you don’t have to turn it off, as it’s already off.”

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