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Sometimes The Helpline Needs A Little Bit Of Help, Too

, , , , | Right | September 27, 2021

Things looked rough a few years ago. I almost lost a close friend of mine to alcohol and drugs, was being harassed at work for months, and was constantly in need of medication because of flu symptoms and throat infections, which I later found out were stress-related.

I heard of those phone helplines where you talk to strangers about your life. I tried it out, and WOW! Multiple times I had someone to talk to for what felt like hours. 

A year later, things weren’t that grim anymore and I felt the need to thank them for their support, so I called the line. 

Contact: “[Phoneline], happy to help, this is [Contact].”

Me: *Stuttering and nervous* “Yes, this is [My Name]. I got helped by you and your helpline multiple times these years and… and I simply wanted to say thank you. You are all doing great work and I felt the need to say it out loud.”

There’s a prolonged silence on the other end of the line. Then, she responds, with a trembling voice.

Contact: “Wow. In all my years of working here, I haven’t had someone call to just say thank you. That was very sweet, and I want to thank you in return.”

That felt good!

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Wants A Connector But Can’t Find The Connection

, , , | Right | September 27, 2021

The call has been a fairly run-of-the-mill order so far, until the very last item.

Caller: “Shoot, I don’t have a part number for the last item.”

Me: “Do you have a description? I can try to find it that way.”

Caller: “A three-inch male pipe connector.”

With this description alone, I have hundreds of potential matches.

Me: “What material do you need? Iron? Steel? Stainless? Brass?”

Caller: “Um…”

I hear him flipping through papers.

Caller: “Regular.”

Me: “Regular?”

Caller: “Yeah, just regular pipe.”

Me: “That’s not… Do you know the schedule or wall thickness?”

Caller: “The what?”

Me: “Would you like to call us back when you’ve found the part number?”

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Voicing Concerns Over Your Phone Voice

, , , , , | Right | September 25, 2021

I’ve worked in the same job for almost five years, repeating the same things over and over again, so much so that I’ve perfected my phone voice.

Every now and again, customers may confuse me with cold callers as we sometimes need to call customers back who are having issues. Sometimes, I also get confused for a computer or robot instead of a person.

What is new is that when I asked a customer to tell me her date of birth the other day, instead of telling me, she started hitting numbers on her phone! It took me a few seconds to process what she was doing, and she was quite embarrassed when I asked her to tell me out loud.

The rest of the call went smoothly, though!

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A Caller By Any Other Name

, , , | Right | September 22, 2021

Like most call centers, we are required to do a “handshake” at the beginning of each call; that is, get the caller’s name and, if applicable, the company they are with. We get dinged during performance reviews if we don’t ask.

Caller: “I have an issue with my invoice.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. Let me take a look. Can I get your name, please?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: *Taken aback* “I’m sorry?”

Caller: “No, you can’t have my name. That’s private. It’s rude of you even to ask.”

Me: “Okay, well, what information can you give me to find the invoice?”

Caller: “You can find the order under my name.”

Me: “…”

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Won’t Take “Yes” for an Answer

, , , | Right | September 22, 2021

We are told to never, ever interrupt the callers.

Me: “How can I help you?”

Caller: “I was told that I would get a credit when I called back with the replacement phone. Now they’re saying I don’t get it? THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I WAS PROMISED A CREDIT!”

This ranting continues for several more minutes.

Me: “Yes, I see the credit and will be giving it to you.”

Caller: *Pauses* “Oh.”

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