The Real Issue To Address Here Is You

, , , , | Right | February 24, 2018

(I work in customer service at a manufacturing company. Usually, customers send in their purchase orders via fax or email, but some prefer to do over-the-phone orders. On this particular day, the caller ID comes up as a customer that is known for being cranky on a good day, and I usually pray that he asks to be transferred to another desk.)

Me: “Good morning. [Company #1]. This is [My Name] speaking.”

Customer: *already sounding a little cranky* “Hi, I’d like to place an order.”

Me: *internal cringe* “Okay.” *even with caller ID, we have to confirm details* “What company are you from, sir?”

Customer: “[Company #2].”

(Since many of our customers have similar names, I always confirm the address to make sure I am entering the order under the right customer.)

Me: “And that is [Company #2] located out of [address]?”

Customer: *immediately irritable* I’ve ordered from you before.”

Me: “Yes, I know; I’m just confirming that I have the right company.”

Customer: *more irritated* “It’s not being shipped to us. You don’t need our address.”

Me: “That’s fine, sir, but I still need to confirm your company address just to make sure I am putting the order with the right customer.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. Yes, that’s our address.”

Me: “Okay, and what can I get for you today?”

Customer: *very quickly and not very clearly* “I’d like a [Part Number #1], [Part Number #2], and [Part Number #3] to [His Customer] at [address].”

Me: *cringing* “I’m sorry, sir, but could you slow down? That was a [Part Number #1] and what else?”

(The customer is immediately angry again, and he rattles off the same order and the whole customer address again before I can finish entering even the parts they are ordering.)

Me: *panic level rising* “I’m sorry. I’m going to need that address again. What is the customer name?”

Customer: *almost yelling now* “I said, [whole customer address, slurring the city name beyond recognition].”

Me: *confirming* “And that was [His Customer] out of [Town]?”

Customer: *screaming at the top of his lungs* “LISTEN! I SAID [entire address, very clearly this time since he is yelling in my ears].”

(We luckily don’t get very many rude customers, so I am not used to being yelled at, and I am almost about to cry. I try to make my voice drip with politeness and up the number of “sirs.”)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I am listening, sir. That was [His Customer] out of [address], correct?”

Customer: *still angrily* “Yes.”

Me: “And how would you like that shipped, sir?”

Customer: *affronted* “Are you new?”

Me: “No, sir. I’ve been here over a year.”

Customer: *suddenly the calmest he’s been the whole time, almost cheerful* “Oh. Well I’d like it shipped [ship method].”

Me: “Okay. I think we’re all set, sir. Is there anything else that I can help you with today?”

Customer: *still inexplicably cheerful* “No, that’s all. You have a nice day, now!”

(After I hang up, I look over and see my fellow office clerk staring at me.)

Clerk: “What was that?! I could hear him yelling all the way over here!”

(Luckily, that customer has been mostly civilized since.)

Retire This Line Of Enquiry

, , , , | Working | February 13, 2018

(I have been getting letters and sign-up information from a particular retirement group about things to do when I retire, and about putting assets in the correct places. They are coming more and more frequently and getting almost spam-like. Sign-up age starts at 65.)

Customer Service Rep: “Good morning! Thank you for calling [Retirement Group]. Can I have your account number and reason for calling?”

Me: “Yes, hi. I don’t have an account.”

Customer Service Rep: “No problem! I will be happy to sign you up for our great benefits and services. What is your name and address?”

Me: “No, you don’t understand. I don’t want to sign up; I would like to stop receiving emails and letters from you about retirement.”

Customer Service Rep: “I’m sorry to hear that. Can I ask the reason you do not wish to receive the information, which can help you in your later years?”

Me: “Because I am 25 years old. I have no wish to retire soon.”

Customer Service Rep: “Oh… How did you get signed up for [Retirement Group]?”

Me: “You tell me!”

Loan Me A Bone Here

, , , , , , , | Working | February 13, 2018

(I have gone online to set up a payment plan for my student loans, only to find out they want a minimum payment of $400 a month. Since this is well out of my price range, I decide to call them directly.)

Me: “Yeah, I went online to set up the payment plan, but $400 a month isn’t going to work for me. We are a single-income family, with two children. Is there any way I can pay less?”

Customer Service: “I completely understand. Let me see what I can do for you.”

(They put me on hold for a couple of minutes.)

Customer Service: “Okay, here’s what we can do. If you can send us a one-time payment for $20,000, we’ll consider your entire balance paid off.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”

(He ended up giving me the phone number of a different department where they could work with me regarding my payment. But I just couldn’t figure out the logic of, “She can’t afford $400 a month, so obviously she must be able to pay us $20,000.”)

An Alarming Lack Of Helpfulness

, , , , , | Working | February 12, 2018

(Our smoke detectors are wired into our home security system, which is wired through our cable phone line. Over a period of a couple of months, our security system keeps randomly going off in the middle of the night a couple of times a week. The security company always calls when this happens to advise they got an alarm and to make sure everything is okay. Our phone line goes dead for a couple of minutes after every false alarm before the call comes in, so we assume — incorrectly, as we found out later — that brief cable outages are causing the system to malfunction. We tell this to the security company representatives whenever they call. This is yet another call at 3:00 am.)

Security Rep: “We’ve received an alarm from your residence.”

Me: *groggy* “Yeah, we keep getting these calls. I think it’s because of the cable going out. Can someone please figure out how to make it stop?”

Security Rep: “Can you please provide the password for the account?”

(A password hasn’t been required for these types of calls in the past.)

Me: “I don’t remember the password. We set it up three years ago and haven’t had to use it.”

Security Rep: “I’m sorry. I can’t discuss anything further with you without the password.”

Me: “I don’t remember it. I can give you the security code for the alarm.”

Security Rep: “Nope, that won’t work. I need the password you set up when you opened the account.”

Me: “No one has asked for it before. Can’t you just ask me some security questions?”

Security Rep: “No, I need the password.”

Me: “But I don’t remember it, and you called me about the alarm. I’ve told your reps before that I think it’s because of a cable outage. Can I speak to someone that can stop these calls? I need to get up for work in a couple of hours, and I can’t have these calls coming in the middle of the night for no reason.”

Security Rep: “I can’t share anything without the password.”

Me: “You called me about an alarm. Can you at least tell me what kind of alarm it is so I can call back later with all the details?”

Security Rep: “I didn’t call about an alarm. I can’t tell you anything, but it wasn’t an alarm.”

Me: *getting frustrated* “Well, alarm, alert, whatever it was, are you telling me I can’t speak to anyone about my account?”

Security Rep: “I can’t tell you anything without a password.”

Me: “I don’t remember the password. Is there someone else I can speak to so we can fix this?”

Security Rep: “No, there’s no one else.”

Me: “So, you’re saying I’ll never be able to speak to anyone about the alarm, or alert, or whatever you want to call it, because I don’t remember a word we set up three years ago?”

Security Rep: “I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you anything except it wasn’t an alarm.”

Me: “So, I can never speak to anyone about my account without this password?”

Security Rep: “That’s right. I can’t do anything without the password.”

Me: “I’m sorry. This just seems insane. You call me in the middle of the night, and you won’t tell me anything, and now you’re saying I can’t fix this because I can’t remember my password?”

Security Rep: “Well, you can come into the office on Monday and someone can reset that for you.”

(She couldn’t have started with that? We did reset the password and figure out what was causing the false alarms.)

Washing Your Hands Of Him

, , , , , | Right | January 31, 2018

(It’s the opening night at a brand new location of an upscale movie theater chain in Los Angeles. A colleague and I are working customer service. An enraged man with a stain on his shirt confronts my colleague.)

Customer: “I demand that you reimburse me for this shirt!”

Colleague: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “I spilled ketchup on my shirt during the movie, and I demand that you reimburse me! The shirt is ruined! I tried washing it off, but none of the taps in your bathrooms work!”

(He goes off into an profanity-laced rant, and my colleague is letting it get to her. I interrupt his tirade.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir. Maybe you could show me the taps?”

(We walk off to the restroom, which has about 15 taps in a row.)

Me: “So, none of these are working?”

Customer: “Yeah, there’s no running water in here. You people make me sick!”

(The faucets are operated by a photocell, so I try one out and, of course, it works perfectly.)

Me: “You see these red things on the taps, sir? Just put your hand in front of them and water will come out.”

(I proceeded to do this with all fifteen taps while the customer just stood there with his mouth open. He muttered something under his breath, exited the restroom, and RAN though the main hall and out the door. I normally don’t like to humiliate people who are having a dumb moment, but he was being a real a**hole to my colleague.)

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