Totally Wired

, , , , , , | | Working | May 22, 2018

(We have had repeated outages with our Internet that the ISP has never managed to diagnose. They seem to correspond to rainstorms, and tech support constantly says they cannot find any problem and blames it on our house wiring. After yet another outage, I walk outside and unscrew the cable connection from the outside box. I plug it directly into my cable modem and verify that I cannot connect to the Internet. This definitively proves that it cannot be the wiring in my house, so I call up the ISP and have the following exchange.)

Technician #1: “Hello, what can I do to help you today?”

Me: “I have recurring Internet outages, about which I have called repeatedly. They have occurred once again. Before you walk me through your normal steps, yes, I’ve restarted the modem, repeatedly. Also, I am plugged directly into your service drop, so this is not a problem with my house wiring.”

(The tech ignores what I just said and starts following his script:)

Technician #1: “So, you are experiencing a lack of Internet connectivity. Have you restarted the modem?”

Me: “Yes. As I told you, I’ve restarted the modem and am plugged directly into your service drop.”

Technician #1: “Okay, sir. Let me see if I can ping your modem.” *pauses* “I am unable to ping your modem. This most likely indicates a problem with the wiring in your house, as we have no reports of service outages in your area.”

Me: “It is not the wiring in my house. As I told you, I am plugged directly into your service drop. I am bypassing the wiring in my house entirely. It cannot possibly be the wiring in my house.”

Technician #1: “Sir, I understand what you are saying.” *obviously he does not* “But I assure you, it is most likely the wiring in your house. If we have to send out a technician and he finds that it is the wiring in your house, you will be subject to a $150 service fee.”

Me: “I understand that. It is definitely not the wiring in my house, because I am connected to your service drop.”

Technician #1: “Before I send out a technician, I need you to check the connections in your house to be sure that you do not have a wiring problem.”

(At this point, I give up. The technician clearly has his script, and has no capacity or desire to think beyond it. I politely end the call and then call back. This time, I hit the jackpot and get a tech who immediately understands what I tell him:)

Technician #2: “Well, that pretty much proves your house wiring is not at fault. Have you tried logging into the modem…” *gives me instructions* “…to see if it is getting any signal?”

(I do what he says and confirm that it is not.)

Technician #2: “Okay. I’ll set up a service call for you for tomorrow.”

(This tech then told me that he was glad someone called up who actually knew what to check. He chatted with me for a few minutes about how little the general public understands and how he was glad I knew about things like service drops and general troubleshooting. The next day a service technician came out, and my Internet was working, but I explained about the outages and the correlation to rain. He spent a few hours in the neighborhood and finally came back to tell me he had found the problem. Squirrels had chewed their way into an equipment box on a pole and, when it rained, water would get in and short out connections. Had I not done my own testing at the service drop, they wouldn’t have found the problem, because they would have tested my connection when it was working fine and assumed it was my problem.)

A Name That Just Rolls Off The Tongue

, , , | Right | May 8, 2018

(I take inbound calls for a national cell phone company in customer service.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. My name is [My Name]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “F*** YOU!”

Me: “Hi, Mr. F*** You, how can I assist you today?”

Customer: *click*


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Breaking Down Your Breakdown

, , , | Right | May 7, 2018

(I work in the complaints department for a telephone company. The customer is escalated to me after the initial agent can’t resolve the query.)

Me: “Good afternoon. My name is [My Name] in [Company]’s complaints department. How can I help?”

Customer: “I’m really f****** annoyed. I saw on your website that there were service issues a few days ago.”

Me: “Mr. [Customer], I’d appreciate if you could refrain from cursing—”

Customer: *interrupting* “Don’t tell me what how to f****** talk.”

Me: *deciding to ignore his language* “I can confirm we did experience a network outage last Tuesday around 2:00 am. Our technical team is available 24 hours and they were able to resolve the issue in under an hour. Because of the time, most customers were unaffected.”

Customer: “That’s f****** ridiculous. What if I had an emergency?”

Me: “I do apologise for the inconvenience, Mr. [Customer]. Were you trying to use your phone at the time?”

Customer: “Of course not. I was asleep! But what if I had? I wouldn’t have been able to because your stupid network was down. I’m paying for a service that I couldn’t use.”

Me: “Again, I sincerely apologise. As I advised, the network outage lasted less than an hour so the interruption was minimal.”

Customer: “I don’t f****** care. I’m not paying for something I didn’t get. I want to be refunded for the time I was without service.”

(An idea starts to form in my mind. I put the customer on hold and check with my manager. Laughing at my plan, the manager gives me approval to go ahead.)

Me: “Apologies for the delay, Mr. [Customer]. I understand you are unhappy and would like to resolve this for you. Just so I’m clear, you want to be refunded for the time you were without service. Is that correct?”

Customer: “Yes. I don’t think I should have to pay for service I’m not getting.”

Me: “Of course. I can see you’re on [Phone Plan], which costs €40 a month. Assuming a month is 30 days, that works out at €1.37 a day or 6c an hour. As our network was unavailable for just under an hour, I have applied a refund for 6c to your account now. That reimburses you for the time you were without service. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Customer: “Uh…”

If The Shoe Fits

, , , , | Right | April 15, 2018

(I get this call at my office.)

Customer: “I love your company’s sandals, but I hurt myself while hiking!”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that!”

Customer: “They really need to have more protection for the foot. My feet got all cut up on the rocks!”

Me: “Ah. Well, for hiking on rough terrain, sandals might not be your best bet. We have some hiking shoes and boots that might work better for you.”

Customer: “No, I prefer to wear sandals; they’re much more comfortable. I just wish they had something on top to protect my feet.”

Me: “Um, I really think a pair of shoes might be the way to go here.”

Customer: “No, you’re not listening. I want a pair of sandals with an upper to protect my feet!”

Me: “Uh… I’ll pass it along to the design team.”

Politeness Saves From Hair-Raising Situations

, , , , , , | Working | April 13, 2018

I got a very nice coupon emailed to me from a beauty supply store that I like to visit. The location by my house has a salon, and I intended to get a haircut there after my next paycheck came through. Unfortunately, the email link for printing the coupon didn’t work by the time I was really ready to use it, so I called up their customer service line to see what had happened, figuring it was either my browser being buggy or the link having expired.

As protocol, I was as polite and clear about my issue as I could be with the woman I ended up talking to, and we both ended up agreeing that the link breaking was very odd. It took a couple of check-ins with a supervisor, but she managed to confirm my details and that the coupon had indeed been sent to me. For all my waiting, I got an e-gift certificate matching the dollar amount of the coupon.

It hit me afterwards that she might have thought I was lying about having gotten the coupon in the first place, but politeness seems to get you everywhere with people on the other side of the phone.

My hair thanks you, customer service lady!

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