......An Angry, De-caffeinated Customer Services Advisor
Most of the time when at my ‘real’ job, I felt nothing but suffocation and frustration. Suffocation from the conditions and environment and frustration on behalf of the customers. A daily witness to the processes and procedure in place which tie agents hands behind their backs twice over and slap the customers in the face. They are ill advised, poorly judged and outdated. But it is a reality that they are in place and exist purely to annoy the hell out of everyone involved.
I would like to share with you all a few conversations I experience on a regular basis. Some amusing. Some with explicit content and some down right insanity! I know there are some absolute A-Holes employed in Customer Services – I had the misfortune of working with some! But I also know that there are some wonderful people. People who will bend over backwards, fighting a system to make your journey just that little bit easier and often getting little or no thanks for their efforts.
I used to pride myself on being one of those people but now with each new day I hook up and log in, I become more debilitated. Finally beaten into submission to become the tireless, emotionless robot they require instead of the caring, emotive, sympathetic CUSTOMER service advisor.
INT - Desk The Size Of A Note Pad– Cramped Office – Cold Building– Day
A as The dashing and slightly caffeinated advisor
C as The customer being passed quicker than a hot plate from call queue to call queue.
A: Good Morning, you're through to XXXXX may I take your FULL name please?
C: General response - F.Last name
A: Sorry, can I get your full name please?
C: First & Last name.
A: Thank you. Can I take the mobile number you want to talk about today?
C: I didn't think you were going to ask me for that.
* This is where it starts. The mind numbing realisation that this conversation was going to be painful. Make light of it, hey, the last calls gone, over, finitto. Maybe this persons going to be a delight to chat to *
A: Oh, no. I never have it to hand either (never think to when calling a mobile phone company that it’s something they may just ask for) *Insert laugh here*
Then the exchange takes a sinister turn……
C: Well, I've already given to that moron I was talking to before you. He said I wouldn't need to go through security again.
A: Ok, well I will need to confirm some details for our systems so I can take your postcode if that's easier?
C: Fine! SB9888EH
*The initial search finds no matches*
A: So that's S for sierra, B for bravo, number 9, number 8, number 8, number 8, E for Echo and H for Hotel?
A: Ok, I can't find anything for you at that postcode. Could it be registered anywhere else? Have you lived at any other address whilst you've had the contract?
A: Ok, do you pay a direct debit for the policy?
C: Yes. You're quick to take the money but not so quick to find the details when it comes to it are you?
C: I’m looking right at my statement so don’t even try to tell me I’m not paying for it.
A: Ok, can I take the 8-digit account number for the bank account the payment is taken from so I can try to find you that way?
*One overly exasperated sigh later and the sound of the receiver being slammed and we are to assume they are on the hunt for the card with the intention of returning. Agent ponders – thought you were looking right at your statement….?*
*We try to resist the urge but the urge to tap becomes uncontrollable. I begin to tap the edge of the keyboard. A rhythmic tune if I do say so myself. The full flow of my rhythm is interrupted by the return of the mysterious caller*
C: It's 4585824875875454 ---
A: Sorry, sorry. Just the account number.
C: Oh. 9873658.
A: Ok, Thank you, just searching for that now. OK. Can you tell me the first line of the address?
C: 98 Blow Street.
A: And what's that postcode please?
*Agent now looks closely at the postcode and the words and letters form a connection......*
A: F for Foxtrot, Number, D for delta, number 9, number 8, number 8, number 8, I for Indigo and H for Hotel?
C: Yes, that's what I said, isn't it?
*Erm... actually no, it's not. When I read your postcode to you using the phonetic alphabet, or something masquerading as it, you made no mention of the fact that most of it was incorrect! I flick my headset up to let out a sigh and then swiftly back down again*
*So eventually we navigate through the attitude to arrive at an active product and the purposes of the call*
Then comes the realisation.......
*The call is fact involving a third party company whom we can only advise contact telephone numbers for and timescales to varying degrees of accuracy provided by them*
First Call Resolution….My Arse!
Approximately 33 minutes later…*31 of which was an as standard ear bashing from an expectant customer who had been fed an ear full of empty promises and maybe, could-be whispers for not having unlimited access to all systems on the planet*… And a Google search later and the call ended. The customer went away having wasted 33 minutes of their life on a premium rate phone number and wasted 33 of mine along with it, for a query that hasn’t even been resolved yet. I was 25 minutes late for my break and sunk my AHT to the three and half minute barrier, which translates as no bonus for the month. All in all, it was a pointless, senseless conversation between two complete strangers, momentarily connected by a lie.
Good morning you’re through to customer services, my name is XXX can I take your mobile telephone number please?
Customer: Hi. My name is Derek. I lost my phone. I went to the shop and bought some sausage and beans. I was going to walk home and my friend drove past in his car and he stopped. I wasn’t going to get in because I felt cheeky but then I did and then wen were going to go straight home but because I didn’t have any frozen stuff we decided to go to another a shop. I passed a lady that I thought was my gran but then I realised that she was dead so I went to JJB ---
Whoa, whoa, whoa, bucko. Let me stop you right there. That is all fascinating insight into your day I’m sure but I do need to know this when I know where to … A. take your details and B… No info to find your details.
Calm your passion and take a breath.
I understand that you’re trying to help and panicked and undoubtedly upset but please help me make this process a whole lot smoother and listen .
AGENT: Sorry, sir, can I take your mobile telephone number please?
CUSTOMER:My name is Derek. My postcode is CH6 9ET.
And so it begins the cycle of soul crushing destruction in infinite proportions.
Coveted complaint of the week.....
C: I’m calling to see the progress of my handset order from a claim.
**Ah, ok. No problem. A handset order, let me have a gander at that bad boy**
Open the policy to find it is on access claim.
A: It’s still on assess claim.
C: Why????? I give this that and the other blah blah blah blah…..
**Ok. The reason we have yet to access your claim is because when returning the claim form, which is specifically designed and sent out for the purpose of establishing and confirming what happened – you have written nothing. Nadah – zip!. Hence why there is nothing to assess.**
So whilst you huff and puff and answered filtered questions in that delightfully vague manner please realise that if you had just done as advised – and ticked the boxes – you would most likely have had your h/s signed, sealed and delivered already.
Less coveted Quote of the week!
C: I work in insurance.
A: Oh, really, you work for insurance? You know how this is gonna go down then don’t you?
With each and every day that passes I know feel more confident that if you present me with a stone, I may actually draw blood from it.
This blog has been brought to you by The Street Scribez and welcomes contributions.....
Ok. Today I would like to share with you all by far the weirdest claim I have ever dealt with….. Actually a rival for possibly the strangest thing I have ever heard said to me.
A: Good morning you’re through to XXX in customer services, can I take your mobile telephone number please?
C: I don’t…have no number…..it was stolen.
A: I’m sorry to hear about that sir, can I take the mobile number of the phone that has been stolen?
All relevant dpa checks completed and we move to h/s confirmation and the incident details. This is where it gets Twighlight Zone –esq in nature..
A: Can you describe the circumstances surrounding the theft?
C: A painting….robbed it.
Yes, you heard that right.
A: Sorry, sir. Can you just say that again for me. It’s a bad lien (it’s not)
C: A painting took it.
A: Ok, so was it someone painting or how did the…painting manage to be responsible for the theft?
Very slowly and with an attitude which implies that I am the one confusing things here….
C: The painting in my room.
A: Ok. Fair enough. The painting took it.
What have we learnt today children? Seems Dorian grey is the new dick turpin.
A: Good Afternoon, you’re through to XXX in Customer Services, how can I help today?
C: I lost my phone and I sent you people a form and I haven’t had anything back yet.
A: Oh, ok. Well let me have a look at that for you, sir.
Agent will bring up the details….eventually. Click task notes and review….
Agent will then unwittingly let out a puzzled ‘hmmm.’ before
testing the delicate water with…
A: Sir, when exactly did you lose your phone?
A: We’re now in December.
A: The following year.
A: Is there any reason in particular why you have waited so long to contact us regarding this?
C: I was waiting for you to phone me. That’s what you people do isn’t it?
**Let me just stop you there as that is not in fact what we do. It is far from what we do. We actually administer claims, we do not spend day after day trying to make an unreachable, incorrect number on a policy given in a rush to get out of the store connect so we can ask why you haven’t sent a claim form back**
C: I thought that you would have cancelled it.
**Why would you think that? If we had cancelled it and you’d got another phone and then wanted to claim, you’d have eaten us for breakfast!**