Beware House

, , , , | Right | February 26, 2021

I am in the call center for an industrial supply company. The office is physically attached to the very, very large warehouse, but office workers are not trained in filling orders or other warehouse operations. Despite the fact that we’re a relatively large company, some customers are under the impression that our facility and operations are significantly smaller.

Caller: “Hi, your website says that [item] is in stock. Can you check for me?”

Me: *Checks our database* “Yes, I’m showing that these are in stock.”

Caller: “No, you didn’t check. I mean, can you physically check your shelves? I can wait.”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t do that.”

Caller: “I’m a paying customer looking to spend good money here, and I’m willing to wait for you to take a look. Can you please do your job and check your shelves?”

Me: “Sir, I am doing my job. Our warehouse is over a half-million square feet in size. I am employed in the office. It would take me at least ten minutes just to get to the warehouse. Even if I was trained in how to navigate our inventory system and was willing to dodge the forklifts and other heavy machinery that a half-million-square-foot facility entails, it would not be conducive to your time or mine to have you wait while I physically check the shelf for something I’ve already told you is in stock. Now, our system occasionally makes mistakes, but that’s not often, and if this happens to be one of those rare instances, we will certainly make it up to you. Now, how would you like to proceed?”

There’s a pause.

Caller: “So, you said it’s in stock? Will I see it tomorrow?”

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Wary Of The Warehouse

, , , , , | Right | February 26, 2021

The company I work for has five warehouses in five different states. While the overwhelming majority of orders ship around the world, each warehouse also has a will-call where local customers can pick up their orders.

I work in the call center where we often get calls asking for directions. The caller ID and area code will usually tip off which location I have to give directions to, but not every phone number will show up.

Caller: “I’m having trouble finding your will call. Can you help me?”

Me: “Sure. Let me just confirm which warehouse you’re trying to reach.”

Caller: “The warehouse with the will call.”

Me: “Yes, each of our warehouses has a will call. Which state are you in?”

Caller: “I’m by the glass doors.”

Me: “We have five different locations in five different states, and I need to know which one you’re trying to reach.”

Caller: “I see a lot of trucks.”

If anyone can tell me how I can possibly be clearer or more straightforward, please let me know!

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This Will Be Exhaust-ing

, , , , | Right | February 25, 2021

Caller: “I’m looking for an exhaust fan. Do you have technical support to help me?”

Me: “Sure, I can help you. What do you need?”

Caller: “An exhaust fan to blow fumes out of our welding shop.”

I look in our system and get 458 results just for “exhaust fans.”

Me: “Okay, any specifications? Voltage? Horsepower? Size? Dimensions?”

Caller: “No. Do you have a picture?”

Me: *Inwardly* “Literally no.” *Outwardly* “Can you maybe take some measurements and call us back? I have over four-hundred pictures I could show you right now.”

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This Job Is Hard On The Teeth

, , , , | Right | February 22, 2021

A version of this conversation happens multiple times a day.

Caller: “I’m trying to reorder this item, but I can’t find your part number for it.”

Me: “No problem. I can help you track it down. What are you looking for?”

Caller: “I don’t know. That’s why I need you to find it. If I knew, I wouldn’t call you.”

I rage inside and speak through gritted teeth.

Me: “Yes. Can you describe it to me?”

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The Gloves Are Off… You Just Don’t Know Which Ones

, , , , | Right | February 19, 2021

The company I work for sells industrial supplies, and many people still place their orders over the phone.

Caller: “Do you guys sell disposable gloves?”

I check our system.

Me: “Yes, eighty-seven different kinds.”

Caller: “I’d like a package.”

Me: “Sure, can I get more information? We have quite a few to choose from.”

Caller: “Disposable rubber gloves.”

Me: “Material? Thickness? Length? Powdered or unpowdered? Textured fingers?”

Caller: “The kind you’d see in a hospital.”

A version of this call happens every. Single. Day. Just substitute almost any part you like for “gloves” — “screws,” “washers,” “pipe” — typically people asking for the “regular” ones.

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