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That Escalated Quickly, Part 3

, , , , | Right | June 21, 2022

When I was still new at a call center, I was still very nervous about speaking to angry customers. During my first couple of months there, I got what is still probably one of the craziest customers I’ve ever spoken to.

If customers ask for a supervisor, then we have to advise them that we do not have a supervisor available and that the escalations team has the same authority as a supervisor (they actually have more as far as what they can do for a customer) and get them to accept speaking with them.

Also, any time we have to contact other departments, it counts against us in one of our performance-based incentives. It’s called contact rate, and it counts what percentage of our calls we have to contact another department for. Even if they don’t take over the call, it still counts on our contact rate.

I give my introduction, and immediately the customer goes into a long rant about what’s going on. Basically, she was sent a defective item. She returned it and was sent another item which also turned out to be defective. She definitely has a valid complaint. I would be super frustrated in her shoes, too. I start to offer to send another item (required as our first solution) and she interrupts me.

Caller: “No! I don’t want that. Here’s what I want. I want to send you this crap back and just get a refund. I don’t want to deal with this or your company anymore!”

She sounds pretty mad, so at this point, I consider contacting my escalations team, but we aren’t supposed to unless they specifically ask to speak to someone else. My contact rate is high already, I totally understand why she is upset, and she is asking for something I am capable of doing, so I decide to just push through my nerves and be helpful.

Me: “Absolutely. I completely understand your frustration, and I am so sorry this happened. Just return the item with the prepaid shipping label that was included, and I’ll go ahead and get started on a refund request.”

Caller: *Now shouting* “What?! I want to talk to your supervisor! So you’re not gonna come up with a solution? You’re just gonna do what I tell you to do?! Unbelievable! Get me a supervisor now!”

It really took my brain a few seconds to comprehend what she had said. I could not believe she was mad because I agreed to do what she requested.

It took several minutes to get her to accept the escalations team in place of a supervisor, but eventually, she said that was okay. I was just so shocked that I got yelled at for that.

Related:
That Escalated Quickly, Part 2
That Escalated Quickly

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