My Worst Call of the Day

From the dozens of idiotic calls I take each day as a customer service representative, I humbly submit the winner.

Monday, May 16, 2005

How You Can Help Me Kick My Drug Habit

Oh my sweet lord, did today suck ass! The beginning of the week is terrible for everyone, I realize, but it's worse for customer service reps. Monday always has the highest call volume of the week, and it's not unusual for me to be taking calls back-to-back all day long. In addition to the sheer number of phone calls, it seemed like everyone I spoke to was either a freak, an imbecile, or both.

By midafternoon, in a desperate attempt to numb myself, I began freebasing a cocktail of rocket fuel and copier toner. After seeing an image of the Virgin Mary on a tortilla chip, I had a moment of clarity. "If only you could tell your callers how they should behave when they call you," I thought to myself, "then you might not have this tragic substance abuse problem. And one more thing," my inner voice continued, "your fly has been open all day--thought you should know."

So after I stopped twitching, I started putting together this list of things that will make my job easier. I realize that, to some degree, I'm preaching to the choir here--my readers (being perfect in every way) are already very customer service savvy. But this is the only soapbox I've got, so here I go:

1) Do not start out the conversation by saying, “You people have been pretty much worthless in the past, but I’ll give you another shot at fixing my problem.” This opening gambit will only ensure that I live up to your low expectations.

2) Please have a writing implement handy when you call. Do not waste ten minutes of my time (which could be spent helping other callers) by tearing your house apart and screaming at your children for stealing your pens.

3) Speaking of children, please do not call customer service while your infant is shrieking in the background. My headset tends to amplify this particular frequency into something approaching a million decibels. Bear in mind that I'm not very helpful when there are rivulets of blood streaming from my ears. Now that you're aware of this, surely there's a warm oven--uh, I mean a playpen you can chuck the howling little beast in while you make the call.

4) Please do not call me at 4:55pm on a Friday afternoon and begin the conversation with, "I hope you have a some time to spare, because this might take awhile . . . "
If you do this, I will start crumpling up a piece of paper to mimic the sound of static, and you will hear, "Hello? Hello? Are you still---" *click*

5) And finally, to a certain group of ladies out there:

Despite how well this technique may have worked for you in the past, copious weeping is simply annoying, and makes it hard to understand what you're saying. You may call me cruel or insensitive, but all my years in customer service have left my heart somewhat callused. As such, you would receive more sympathy from a slab of granite than you would from me. Oh, and any man who cries while speaking to me will be openly ridiculed. You can't say you haven't been warned.


For more blogs or sites covering these topics, try these links to Technorati:


  • At 5/16/2005 11:25 PM, Anonymous vendela2 said…

    Ah yes, screaming children. Music to my bleeding ears.

  • At 5/17/2005 12:28 AM, Blogger Dunyasha said…

    6.) Do not, DO NOT call us and then put US on HOLD!!!!!

    7.) Don't write long letters, we don't read them.

    8.) Don't voice your predjudices, when you make comments about the girl who is too young, the Mexicans you believe to be illegal aliens, etc. I stop listening.

  • At 5/17/2005 6:48 AM, Blogger Anonymous Me said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5/17/2005 10:24 AM, Anonymous Simon Gray said…

    Deleting comments? Oh, Anonymous, please tell me you haven't descended to the I-can-dish-it-but-not-take-it level. I will be so, so disappointed. I thought you had balls. I thought you were bulletproof. I thought you were so high on painkillers that you couldn't actually read the comments people left. Oh, this is a sad day -- my hero has fallen. I would cry, but I couldn't bear your ridicule. Not on top of this. Sigh...

    On another note -- sorry your day sucked. But your loss is our gain -- rocket fuel and copier toner -- you crack me up.

  • At 5/17/2005 12:57 PM, Blogger Sinned Often said…

    Sweet Jesus! Do you mean to tell me that im not the only poor soul who suffers this pain?

    Good writing keep it up....People try to censor stupidity but I say Fuck Them!

    Rage On,
    Sinned Often

  • At 5/17/2005 4:01 PM, Anonymous Mike said…

    Thought you'd like this one:

    An 87 year old client called today to advise me to tell my supervisors that it takes "too damn long" to get connected; he can't stand all the promps and disclaimers he has to listen to before he talks to a rep. He advised that he is a VERY busy man with many things to do and places to go. He then proceeds to waste 10 minutes of my life telling me how long he worked for my company and how much money he's made us and how hard it is remembering to cash paychecks.

    My question is: if you're time is so damn precious that you can't dial "3" for a customer service rep, then how can you spend 10 minutes babbling about everything EXCEPT the reason you called?!

  • At 5/17/2005 7:45 PM, Blogger The Supervisor said…

    Heh, I once had a very irate MD who didn't understand the terms of our website offer, and once he realized the terms, called us up and wanted us to pay at a consultant rate (read: several hundred dollars) because he wasted time reading about something he was no longer interested in!

    He then chewed me out for about 45 minutes when I wouldn't transfer him to the "president of the company" right away... this was about 9pm on a Sunday night.

    Nutters, I say!

  • At 5/18/2005 12:00 AM, Blogger Anastasia said…

    From the six or so publishing companies we represented one company was an academic publisher and I'd often get calls (with complete aristocratic rounded vowels)like:
    "I am Doctor Evans and I'm calling to enquire about one of your publications that has been delayed."

    Frankly, I didn't care whether they had ten degrees under their belt, they were like any other person to me and these types would be annoyed when they recieved the answer they didn't like. We were only distributing the books, we didn't print them or organise freight, the head office organised that and they were always shocking in their organisation.
    "Well I am in a right mind to complain about this delay. It is inconvenient as the semester commences in three weeks!"

    (Care factor? Zero)

    I'd put them through to the head office and then have the head office call back to complain like a harpie. So it was a mixture of the clients on the phone followed by the head -screwed up - office. A bit like a double barrelled idiot assault.

  • At 8/06/2005 2:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hilarious on so many
    levels. Excellent writing -
    and speaking the Customer
    Service truths.

    I must call back my insurance co. who just
    screwed me royally,

    and apologize...

    one second thought I must
    use all the caller techniques learned from
    here to irritate the hell
    out of them. I know I can



  • At 9/27/2006 11:07 PM, Blogger Goobian said…

    oh my god! this makes me feel so much better!! especially the one when they say 'you have been worthless but I am giving this one more shot' it seems like I always screw up and they always threaten to shove their phone up a hole!! I screw up their order or I don't tell them what the person at the store told them when they signed up!! Or there is a "catch" they didn't "know" about...thank you!! :)

  • At 3/07/2008 4:05 AM, Blogger Orion said…

    I thought your response to how you handle crying men is overly callous. Men who cry (in public, of all things) are already in a very vulnerable usually implies that they are in the deepest throes of their depression, and for you to just ridicule him like him a pussy or w.e., when he's most vulnerable...that is beyond any evil I can imagine. I understand your days in CS are draining...but when you let it drain your humanity, you're contributing to this already shitty world's many problems. Us looser guys don't even care to get with you, we know you pretty girls will just keep going for the cockcy asshole...
    But to ridicule us on an uncontrollable outburst of emotion (yes, us guys have emotions too...who'd a thunk it?), it pains us beyond anything and just makes us wish we were dead...


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