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Uhh… Have You Tried Turning It Off And On Again?

, , , , , | Working | August 9, 2022

My cell phone provider has merged with another provider and the transition has been anything but seamless. We have a family plan with three devices. The account is in my name with my phone as the “primary” on the account. The website requires two-factor authentication but doesn’t show my phone as an option for authentication. I decide to try online chat.

I explain my problem to the customer service representative.

Customer Service: “Two-factor authentication is a security issue. We ask for it so that you can be sure that no one but you is accessing your account.”

Me: “Yes, but my phone number isn’t showing as an option so I can’t use it.”

Customer Service: “We are showing both numbers on your account: [number #1] and [number #2].”

Me: “But I have three phones on this account. [Number #1] should be mine, [number #2] is my husband’s, and [number #3] is my son’s.”

Customer Service: “Do you have access to [number #2] or [number #3]?”

Me: “Not at the moment. They aren’t home. The real issue is that I need my number to show up as an option. It’s the main number on the account and the one I always have access to.”

Customer Service: “I’m only showing [number #2] and [number #3] as active.”

I make a quick call to be sure I have service.

Me: “But [number #1]  is currently in my hand and it works.”

Customer Service: “I think you need to clear your cache. Are you using a browser to access the website?”

Me: “Yes, but I fail to see how clearing my cache will make my number show up on your computer.”

The representative sends incorrect instructions to clear the cache.

Me: “First off, those are not correct. The browser was updated months ago and those instructions won’t work. Again, clearing my cache will not affect your computer. If you cannot see the number on the account, there is a problem with the account, not my computer.”

Customer Service: “If you can’t clear your cache, you will need to go into a store.”

Me: “I’m going to need to talk to someone in technical services or your supervisor.”

Customer Service: “If you are unwilling to clear the cache, I will have to end the chat.”

I call tech support from the supposedly inactive phone and explain the issue.

Tech Support: “Wait. What?”

I explain again.

Tech Support: “That. Can’t. Happen. Let me check your account.”

The agent works on my account and finally fixes it.

Tech Support: “I just don’t understand how clearing your cache would make your account change on our servers.”

Me: “Neither do I, but I got disconnected for refusing to follow incorrect directions to solve a problem that didn’t exist.”

Tech Support: “I’m going to put notes in for the supervisor. I hope it helps.”

I didn’t hear back from them, but I do see a random $100 credit on my bill.

She Set Herself Up For That

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: Warlandobloom | August 7, 2022

I sell phones and everything that goes with phones in a retail setting. The job has gotten frustrating because the people who still go into a retail store are often just people who can’t figure out how to work a website and won’t bother to read anything. This is true for my customer the other day.

This woman comes in and buys a smartwatch, and she wants me to set it up for her. I’m more than happy to do so, but it really just boils down to her needing to configure it to her specifications — things like deciding which wrist it’ll be set for.

Customer: “Just do all the setup for me while I go get coffee.”

Me: “Ma’am, I really need you to stay. It’s going to ask me things that I can’t answer if you’re not here.”

She blows me off.

Customer: “Just do it and I’ll be back.”

I set it up and just guessed what she wanted. When it came to her height and weight, I put 6’2” and 385 pounds and set it to notify her about her daily workout progress as much as possible. She was probably more like 5’5” and 130 pounds.

She came in mad that her watch kept calling her fat and telling her that she needed to walk more.

Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 45

, , , | Right | July 29, 2022

Some customers tend to give us VERY little information on what they want from us.

Me: “How may I help you?”

Customer: “When I’m getting called on WhatsApp, my phone goes BRRR, BRRR, BRRR.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “So… you want us to switch off vibration or change your ringtone?”

Customer: “I… I don’t know! It’s not like I know any of these technical terms!”

Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 44
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 43
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 42
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 41
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 40

No Good Deed Goes Well With Corporate

, , , , , , | Working | July 27, 2022

In my early twenties, I worked in a cell phone store in a strip mall. The store was an authorized dealer for a national, growing cellular provider. As an authorized dealer, my store could not do all the same things as a “corporate” store of the cellular provider, despite most of our branding looking identical.

As employees of the authorized dealer, we were sales agents, and our main focus was on selling phones, service, and accessories. Anything beyond that — warranty claims or exchanges, in-depth troubleshooting, most account maintenance, etc. — had to be handled at a corporate store. This often resulted in confused and/or frustrated customers.

One day, an elderly woman came in with an old flip phone that was no longer working properly. She needed it fixed or replaced. Upon looking up the woman’s account information, we discovered that she had obtained this phone several years ago, and as such, it was out of warranty. However, she wasn’t eligible for an upgrade, either; this was back in the days of two-year contracts, and she always gave her upgrades to the other family members on her account.

Unfortunately, this meant that she didn’t have many options apart from adding a new line of service to her account (which would significantly impact her monthly bill) or purchasing a phone “outright” at full retail price. She couldn’t afford (and didn’t want) anything fancy, and although smartphones weren’t around yet, most of the phones we carried were “feature phones” with things like QWERTY keyboards or fancy cameras. We only had a couple of “basic” models, and even then, the full retail price for those was at least $200.

I’ve always been service-oriented more than anything else, and the rest of the employees in my store — and even many of those from other stores in the region — knew me to be a very honest person who hated taking advantage of anyone just to make a sale. I really wanted to do everything I could to help this woman, so I grabbed a cheap pre-paid flip phone out of our stock room and explained to the customer that although it was marked for pre-paid service, we had a workaround that would allow us to activate it on her post-paid plan.

Technically, this wasn’t allowed under the authorized dealer contract we had with the cellular carrier, but it was a common tactic that we somehow managed to get away with for quite some time. An important caveat of selling a customer a pre-paid phone is that the sales representative doing the sale got virtually no commission from it unless they convinced the customer to purchase some additional accessories. I wasn’t invested in this particular transaction for the money.

The customer seemed a bit confused about the whole process — she wasn’t very tech-savvy or even fully understanding of how her service was set up in the first place — but decided to purchase the pre-paid phone and a phone case on clearance. (Read: still little commission for me.) My assistant manager helped me activate the phone in the system, and the elderly woman left the store with a working phone.

Alas, that didn’t last.

The woman came back the next day, complaining that the phone was dropping calls, failing to connect when she tried to place calls, etc. A coworker and I did some basic troubleshooting but to no avail. Pre-paid phones were often older post-paid phones that had been refurbished (poorly), and I suspected that this was the case with this phone, although I didn’t voice that concern to the customer. We encouraged her to visit the corporate store about three miles away, and this only furthered her confusion about the whole situation. Eventually, she conceded and left for the corporate store.

A bit later that day, we got a call from a representative at the corporate store, who asked us a number of questions about the phone and how and why it had been sold to this poor, frustrated woman. Despite my assistant manager’s explanations, the other store’s rep seemed convinced that we had sold the customer the pre-paid phone illegitimately in order to scam her out of her money, and they hung up.

I don’t know what the corporate store did to assist the woman, apart from somehow getting her a (different) working phone and sending her back to my store to return the pre-paid phone and case.

When she walked in the door, she was visibly angry, although calm, and she marched up to the sales counter and spoke to my assistant manager, who happened to be standing right next to me. She politely asked to return the phone and the case, and my assistant manager complied. Neither of them said much during the short transaction. Once the return was complete and the customer was assured that her money had been refunded to her debit card, she thanked the assistant manager and then turned to me and looked me in the eye.

Customer: “And you, young man. Shame on you, taking advantage of naive customers like me. You shouldn’t be allowed to keep working here with your unscrupulous sales tactics. I don’t know how you sleep at night.”

Keep in mind that I had made next to nothing on the sale.

While she was speaking, I maintained eye contact with her and waited a moment to be sure she was done. I then simply nodded my head and said, “Okay.”

This seemed to fluster the woman, whose expression passed through confusion and then further anger before she huffed and quickly left the store.

As soon as the door had shut behind the customer, my assistant manager burst out laughing at a customer telling me — who would rather take a punch to the face than be unkind to anyone, ever — “I don’t know how you sleep at night.”

To this day, I still appreciate him for recognizing how ludicrous that was and for making me feel better about myself.

It’s Not Unheard Of, But Most People Only Have The One

, , , , , , | Working | July 13, 2022

I used to have my mobile phone set up through Australia’s largest telecommunications company. When I would receive my bill, I also received a printout of all the phone numbers I supposedly called during the month. I never looked at it… until this one time.

I called the company. The representative did their spiel, clarified my information, etc., and asked how they could help. 

Me: “There’s a mistake on my bill. There are phone calls I didn’t make.” 

Representative: “I can assure you that our records are never wrong.”

Me: “Well, this time, they are.”

Representative: “Okay, ma’am, please tell me which date, time, and number.” 

I do so.

Representative: “Do you not recognise the number, ma’am? You’ve called that number in previous months.”

Me: “Yes, I do recognise it, but I didn’t call it this month.”

Representative: “Perhaps someone else used your phone to call them?”

Me: “No, no one would take my phone without my permission anyway, but they wouldn’t have called that number. It was my fiancé’s number when he was overseas, but he’s been back here in the country for two months.”

Representative: “Maybe it was a different fiancé.”

Me: “Um, what?”

The line goes silent, except I can hear the cogs turning. 

Representative: “I’ll get that fixed for you.”