There Can Be Only One… Person To Help Me

, , , , | Right | October 20, 2019

(I work in an insurance office as an office staff member, meaning I don’t sell policies, but I service them. My coworker has been with the office for many years and knows our customers well. A customer walks in and approaches my desk:)

Customer: “Hi, is [Coworker] in?”

Me: “Yes, but she’s at lunch right now. I would be happy to help you, though.”

Customer: “No, thanks. [Coworker] called me earlier, and I’ve been working with her for years! She sold me my original policy, you know!”

Me: “That’s great! We love our long-term customers! She’s probably going to be out for twenty minutes or so. Do you want me to leave her a message, or perhaps I could look up something for you?”

Customer: “Oh, no. I’ll just wait for her.”

Me: “Are you sure? I’d feel bad for keeping you.”

Customer: “It’s no problem.”

Me: “All righty. Can I get you water or coffee while you wait?”

Customer: “Oh, no, thanks. I’ll just play with my phone a bit.”

Me: “Can I get your name, then, so I can have your file ready for [Coworker] when she gets back?”

Customer: “Oh, no, she’ll know who I am.”

Me: “I’m sure she will, but if I can grab your file, she’ll be able to get right to you.”

(The customer waves me off and sits in the lobby, playing with his phone. Approximately every five minutes, he grumbles about having to wait, and ponders why we’re given such long lunch breaks when we’re supposed to be working. Each time, I politely inform him that [Coworker] will return, and ask him if he’s sure I can’t help him. After approximately twenty minutes, [Coworker] does, indeed, return.)

Coworker: “Hey, [Customer]! How are you?”

Customer: “It’s about time you got back! I have been sitting here this whole time!”

Coworker: “Well, you know, I had to run some errands! What can I do for you?”

Customer: “Well, you called me this morning, and I didn’t understand the message!”

Coworker: *confused* “I haven’t called you today. Are you sure it wasn’t [My Name]?”

Customer: “It couldn’t have been her.”

Coworker: *to me* “Did you call [Customer’s Full Name]?”

Me: “Yes, I did. I wanted to let him know his payment had gone through, as he requested yesterday.”

Customer: “That’s not right! I’ve never spoken to you in my life! I only speak to [Coworker]!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I spoke to [Customer’s Full Name] yesterday, who requested I keep an eye on his automatic payment, as he had just updated his credit card info online, and I called to confirm it was posted to a card ending in [digits]. Was that not you?”

Customer: “That was me, but I never talked to you! I talked to [Coworker]! I never talk to anyone else, ever!”

Coworker: *reviewing our interaction notes* “I’m sorry, [Customer], but I haven’t spoken to you since last year. You’ve worked with [My Name] five times over the past several months.”

Customer: “Well, this isn’t right. I shouldn’t be tricked like this! I expect to talk to [Coworker] every time!”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, but sometimes I’m not available. [My Name] is just as licensed and knows what I do.”

Customer: “What am I paying for if I don’t get to talk to [Coworker]? This is ridiculous!”

Coworker: “You are paying for an insurance product. We are the staff that advises and guides you. Everyone in this office is licensed by the state and bonded by the company to help you.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous. You’ve been lying to me all year. I wait all day to talk to you, and you tell me I can’t even talk to you. SHE—” *pointing to me* “—can’t even help me!”

([Coworker] started to explain, again, that she is not always available, but [Customer] had had enough, and left with a slam of the door. He later called to cancel all of his policies, but never completed the process. Sadly, this was a pretty common occurrence in our small town.)

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