This Issue Has Spread From Beverly Hills To New Zealand

, , , , | Right | July 6, 2020

I work in a call center doing Internet support — DSL — for a large US company. The call center is in Canada.

Me: “Thank you for calling.”

I do my standard scripted greeting.

Caller: “What are you going to do about my problem?”

Her tone of voice makes it clear she is furious about something.

Me: “Ma’am, you’re going to have to tell me what the problem is first.”

In four years of working here, this is the ONLY call I have ever had where the customer is unwilling to explain the problem.

Caller: *Growling* “Read the notes.”

She has obviously called us before and knows that we keep detailed notes of every call so that customers won’t have to reexplain things multiple times. This is fine, so I start reading the extensive notes. I have barely started, when…

Caller: *Demanding* “What are you going to do to solve my problem?”

Me: *Patiently* “Ma’am, you’re going to need to give me a couple of minutes to read all this; there is a lot of information here.”

She clearly has no patience for that, so she lays out the problem. Long story short, she and her husband had moved house and transferred their phone lines to their cell phones temporarily until they could move into their new place. I don’t know where they were staying in the meantime.

They had DSL on the old phone number and apparently ran a business on the same account — even though it was a residential account, not a business one — and they could no longer do sales activity on their website. This was dramatically hurting their business because they were no longer able to take online orders.

She had called at least a couple of times previously, explained the problem to whatever agent she got, and found the answers from the agent unsatisfactory, so she had demanded to speak to a supervisor.

The supervisor analyzed her situation and said it was an easy fix and he’d have her account working the next day. But now it is the next day and her account still isn’t working, so she is FURIOUS.

Me: “Ma’am, I am afraid that the supervisor you had spoken to was ‘mistaken.’”

I wanted to say the truth — incompetent — but knew I’d get in trouble for that since our calls are monitored.

Me: “The fundamental problem is that your DSL can’t possibly work over a cell phone. You would have to get another landline, and once you do, we can put DSL service on it. This would take at least ten days from when you get the service.”

Caller: “This problem is all your fault!”

This is even though SHE had cancelled the old landline, but I acknowledge that whoever she spoke to when she cancelled the landline — a different department in a different city — SHOULD, in an ideal world, have determined that she had DSL and warned her that that would go away when she cancelled the landline.

That calms her down somewhat and I actually feel some real empathy for her because she obviously isn’t technical — very few of our callers are — and has no experience to tell her that dropping the landline will affect her DSL. The previous people she talked to at our company had NOT done a good job with her which, sadly, was far from unusual in our company.

Anyway, now that she finally understands what happened and what has to happen to restore her service, she asks:

Caller: “Can you explain everything to my husband?”

A major part of our performance evaluation is on our “handle time” — the amount of time we spend on a call — and I am already well past the danger zone so I’m not keen on it, but…

Me: “Sure, put him on and I’ll explain it to him.”

Caller: “Well, he isn’t here right now; he’s out of town on business. You could call him.”

Me: “Where is he?”

Caller: “New Zealand.”

I ask a supervisor if we have any kind of tie line to New Zealand, but no one knows; it is very unlikely since the company has no operations there and no reason to call New Zealand.

Me: “Ma’am, I have been making extensive notes. He should call back at his convenience — we operate 24/7/365 — and whatever agent he gets will be able to explain the situation and the resolution to him based on my notes.” 

She was satisfied with that and left the call. As I concluded my notes, I finally had a chance to see where this woman lived, and it was on Beverly Hills Boulevard in Beverly Hills, a very posh street I’d driven down once on vacation!

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