Time Is Money… On A Credit Card

, , , , , | Right | August 16, 2020

Me: “Hello, you’re speaking to [My Name]; how can I help?”

Customer: “I’d like to pay the balance on my tour, please, with a credit card.”

Me: “Great, that’s [amount]. Whenever you’re ready, please just let me know the card number.”

Customer: “Okay, let me just go get my card from the other room.”

The customer put down the phone for five minutes while looking for their card.

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Why We Need To Build A Universal Translator

, , , | Right | August 6, 2020

I’m what’s called a rep, which means some kind of a tour-guide. We are a Scandinavian company with only Scandinavian guests. We do different things, like taking them on excursions, welcoming them at the airport, and guiding them on the buses. We also have hotel service; we show up at the hotels to let them book excursions and answer questions.

I’m visiting one of the hotels, and when I arrive, the woman in the reception is talking with someone on the phone. I go to sit down and wait for guests to arrive, and I remember I’ve got something for the receptionist.

When I walk over, she’s still on the phone, and she’s telling the person on the other end the same thing over and over again. She tells them that there’s someone from the company he’s travelling with here, and after a couple of minutes, she gets him to agree to speak with me.

Receptionist: “This hotel is all [My Company]’s hotel, and this guest wants to change something with his room booking. Please explain to him that he needs to take his request with you and pay for the request to you, as well. We can’t take any money from him as he’s your guest.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll try to explain it to him, but I doubt that he will listen to me more than you.”

The receptionist hands me the phone and I’m settling for a long discussion with a furious guest.

Me: *In Scandinavian language* “Hello, this is [My Name] from [Company].”

Guest: *Starting to speak in English* “Hello, yeah, I’m coming down on… Eh, do you speak [Scandinavian Language]?”

Me: “Yes, I do. So, what can I help you with?”

He changes languages.

Guest: “Oh, okay, then! Well, I’m coming to the hotel this weekend and was wondering if [same request as the receptionist was explaining to me] could be fixed?”

Me: “Yes, sir, that is absolutely no problem!”

I explain to him how he’s going to fix his request, in the exactly same way the receptionist did, only in our language.

Guest: “Oh, so that’s how I fix it? Okay, then, thanks a lot! I’ll see you next week, then! Bye.” *Click*

He left both me and the receptionist speechless!

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A Vacation With No End Date? Must Be Nice

, , , , | Right | February 17, 2020

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name]; how can I assist you today?”

Caller: “I want to book a flight to Virginia Beach for Christmas break.”

Me: “Okay, and what day would you like to leave?”

Caller: “Oh… I didn’t know you were going to ask me that… I guess I’ll have to call back.”

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Toronto-no-no

, , , , , | Working | December 9, 2019

(In the days of travel agents, my father has to fly to Canada for business.)

Dad: “I asked you to book me on a flight to Vancouver, but you booked me to Toronto.”

Agent: “Couldn’t you just fly to Toronto and take a cab to Vancouver?”

Dad: “That’s on the other side of Canada. I’m actually closer to Vancouver now than I would be in Toronto.”

Agent: “Let me just change that ticket for you.”

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Refunds Are Flights Of Fancy

, , , | Right | November 9, 2019

(I work in a travel agency. A friend from high school has contacted me wanting me to book a huge holiday for her to a set of Pacific Islands. There are four couples going, plus her two little kids, so ten people total. She wants the cheapest possible flights. Cheap as chips flights have GIANT catches; they often have no bags, and are “no changes, no refunds” fares. This means that if you want to change a ticket, the fees to do so are high, because it’s how the airline recoups on the cheap fares. I outline this very carefully for my friend over email. I’ve been bitten by not being super specific before, so I keep copious notes and ensure she understands. My friend is happy with everything, she has her husband review it, and they both sign and book. Two weeks later via email:)

Friend: “So, [Couple #4] can’t come any more, and [Couple #3] want to change how their names are spelled. Can you send me the refund for [Couple #4], and change [Couple #3] to [Name that is not their legal passport name]. “

Me: “Hey, so, as discussed, there’s no refund possible, and we can’t change [Couple #3]’s details as they must be their legal names.”

Friend: “What the h***?! You never told me that! You have to get my money back!”

Me: *sends the signed emails highlighted with the clause about no refunds or changes* “Sorry, but it’s all here like we and [Her Husband] agreed. I can get a refund on the hotel, but not the flights.”

(My friend of over 20+ years goes into meltdown, half pleading, half threatening. As she’s my “friend,” I ask my boss to step in and review everything to ensure I’ve got everything right. He does so and confirms I am totally correct, and he emails her to say so. Two hours later, I get a phone call:)

Friend: “So, your boss emailed me, but I didn’t believe him, and I want my money back. Call the airline for me and get me a refund.”

Me: “That would be a waste of both our times. The airline’s rules are super clear, and on all the paperwork. You wanted the cheapest, right?”

Friend: “Yeah, of course.”

Me: “Well, as I said, this is why they are cheap seats.”

Friend: *screeching* “I WANT THE MONEY!”

(Her husband picks up the phone and proceeds to scream and yell. Everyone in my office can hear the conversation, and as there are no customers in the office, I put the call on speakerphone. My boss finally manages to get a word in edgeways and advises them of the fare rules. After ten minutes of arguing, they finally accept this and hang up. I go for a long break. However, it keeps going!)

Friend: *via email* “So, I rang the airline and they agreed to give us a refund.”

Me: “Really? Why?”

Friend: “They said we were top customers, so you should issue us a refund straight away.”

(I’m instantly suspicious. This airline is not known for their service. Also, if there was a refund coming, we would have to wait for them to send it to us, and then we forward it back. With some airlines, this can take six weeks!)

Me: “Okay, well, they haven’t advised us of this, so I’ll check and let you know. It might take a couple of days.”

Friend: “That’s fine!”

(I manage to get hold of the airline, who confirm that they have spoken with my friend and they told her exactly what I had. No refund. At all. They also note that she became abusive. Before I am able to go back to my friend, I get a phone call from the CEO’s personal assistant. This is HUGE. I think it is to do with something else and go into a panic, and my manager has to calm me down and join me on the phone.)

CEO’s PA: “So, I just got an email and Facebook post from [Friend] saying that she booked refundable tickets, you guys were being rude, not allowing her step-daughter to come, calling her stupid, and stealing her money. Um, I rang her, and she said that while [My Name] was wonderful to deal with, she doesn’t like the policies that are robbing her step-daughter of a dream holiday, especially as she is sick. She cried the whole call! What is going on?! The CEO is really unhappy.”

(My manager turns puce and I have a full-blown panic attack. We end up compiling a report 24 pages long with conversations, emails, and everything we can and send it to both our complaints team and the CEO’s PA. Ultimately, I am vindicated, and all points have said that I did everything correctly — and that there is no step-daughter! However, the CEO decides that we will refund [Couple #4] as a goodwill sign, but they must use the refund and travel within a year of the initial booking. The initial booking was made on February 25th, and we are now in May. The trip was supposed to happen in October. I get this call on February 24th the next year:)

Couple #4: “Hi! We thought we might use this refund!”

Me: *HEAD-DESK*

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