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Their Brain Was In Another County When They Made That Booking

, , , , , , | Working | October 22, 2022

I work for the Stockholm transportation service for elderly and/or disabled people who can’t use public transportation. It’s a relatively easy job; customers call, order a taxi or sick transport, I enter it into the system, the customer is billed at the end of the month, and that’s that. To our aid, we have an extensive database of all the nooks and crannies of Metropolitan Stockholm, so you’d think there’d be zero ways to mess up a booking, right? Wrong.

One late evening, close to midnight, a customer calls in asking where her taxi is. 

Me: “Could you please confirm to me which address you were going from?”

Customer: “From [Street] in [County #1] — and I specifically told the booking agent that it was [County #1] — for 2325 hours [11:25 pm]. But now the taxi driver has called me asking where I am. Turns out you guys sent my taxi to [Street] in [County #2]!”

I look in horror at the booking; the customer is absolutely right. The exact same street name is to be found in several counties of the Stockholm region, which is why we have our database to avoid screw-ups like these. Plus, we are told to double-check with the customer if there’s the slightest ambiguity.

But the calamity doesn’t end there. The customer has three more identical bookings, each scheduled for thirty minutes later than the initial booking. She’s adamant that she’s only spoken to the initial booking agent and then me, and while I wonder where the cloned extra bookings have come from, this is not the time to start loudly debating their source of origin.

Me: “Well, I apologise profusely for the mishap, madam. Let me just order a new taxi for you, to the right address. And to confirm, it will be from [Street] in [County #1].”

Customer: “Sounds great! And when will it be here?”

Usually, during the wee hours, we can get a taxi fairly quickly. However, the cloned trips had already been distributed to various taxi companies, meaning I could no longer cancel or delete them. And because we have an archaic booking system, to put it mildly — think 1980s Telnet data terminal and only keyboard commands — the system won’t let us place another booking if there’s already a trip booked for that time frame. (Again, this made me ponder where the clones had come from; there should have been one, tops!). I ended up having to deliberately push the real booking by twenty-five minutes just to make the system shut up.

And the icing on the cake? The customer will have to call our customer service in the morning to have these four erroneous bookings refunded; it’s not something that we mortal phone monkeys can do. All this shambles is just because some moron of a coworker couldn’t be bothered double-checking a simple county name with the customer!

Question of the Week

What is the most stupid reason a customer has asked to see your manager?

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