We’re All Just Sitting Here Waiting For Your Call

, , , | Right | December 10, 2020

I work at the front desk for a small specialty food distributor. Since I’m located there, I’m essentially the receptionist, but my main responsibilities are more in accounting. I still have the joy of answering the phones for our main line if someone doesn’t know what extension to use. This happens on a day where we are down to two sales reps.

Customer: “Hi, this is customer [number]. I need to place my order, but my sales rep isn’t answering the phone. Can you find her?”

I look him up and see that his sales rep actually just quit a week ago.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but [Sales Rep] no longer works here. I can direct you to your new rep, but he is currently on the phone with another customer. You’ll have to leave him a message and he can get back to you soon.”

Customer: “This is unacceptable! I have been trying to get a hold of [Sales Rep] for an hour! Someone should be able to talk to me now!”

Me: “I do apologize, but we only have two reps available today, and they are both on the phone. I know that they have been trying to keep up with all the calls that they have, but as today’s order deadline is soon, they are getting a lot of calls. If you leave him a message, I will go back and let him know to call you as soon as he is done.”

Customer: “Fine!”

I transfer him and let the sales rep know that he called. Not five minutes later, my phone rings and it’s the same customer.

Customer: “He still hasn’t called me back!”

Me: “I’m really sorry; he’s still on the phone with another customer getting their order. I promise he is going to call you as soon as he’s done.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! You’re telling me that no one can take my order? You can’t?”

Me: “Unfortunately, no, I’m not in sales, so I can’t put an order in. If you’re in a hurry, you can email him your order to put in.”

Customer: “I’ve never had to email an order before! I always call at three and [Sales Rep] would always take my order right away! This is terrible service!”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry. All I can offer is that if this happens again and you’re on a time crunch, maybe you can call the main line right away so I can transfer you to whatever rep is available. But I do see that your new rep just hung up his phone; I’ll transfer you.”

I hit the transfer button and hung up before he could say anything else to me. I get calls like this almost every day. Customers wait until the last second and refuse to understand that the sales reps are busy and may take a minute to get back to them. Why get mad at me because you waited until the last minute and now have to wait a little bit?

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