5.30.2005

I mmfgh golfhde pfffbh!

I've never understood the things people feel are appropriate to do while on the phone.

The other day my coworker had a call from a woman who was eating while on the phone. This, while highly rude, is fairly common. However, this woman was eating so audibly that my coworker had trouble understanding the caller. My coworker being too polite to tell the woman to remove her hamburger from her esophagus, ignored it until she could not longer understand anything the caller was saying, when she finally asked, "I'm sorry, could you repeat what you just told me? I'm having trouble understanding you." The caller in her infinite wisdom said, "Well then can I speak with your supervisor, maybe she can hear me because I can understand YOU just fine."

Ten minutes after the woman hung up the same coworker turned to tell me that she had to put her call on hold to keep from laughing because this caller was actually urinating while on the phone with her.

5.29.2005

I've Been Naughty...

I've been a bad little rep...

Okay, well not really, but I've neglected my blog for almost no good reason.
Last week for seemingly no reason at all, my dear little laptop, which was gifted to me once my sister decided it was too old and unstable for her to depend upon anymore and bought a new one. I, being a poor newlywed have no such luxury, almost everything I own was acquired as a hand-me-down, purchased for $2.75 at a garage sale or was a wedding gift (it's interesting to own the grubbiest couch ever and at the same time the best coffeepot imaginable - really.)
Anyway, I came home from work, and sat down at my hand-me-down coffee table, thrilled to have plenty of fodder for my pathetic little blog, turned on my little-laptop-that-could...turned on my little-laptop-that-could... turned on my little-laptop-that-could, screamed, threw my little-laptop-that-couldn't at the wall...

Okay, so I didn't really throw the laptop, I made some scary growling noises and yelled some and my husband pushed me out the way so he could fruitlessly attempt to turn on my laptop before I could kill him or complete my transition. Then, we tucked it away in the corner of the study and sadly covered it with a blanket so I wouldn't have to look at it. My sister's response? "Oh, yeah sometimes it refuses to turn off too, why do you think I bought a new one??"

Obviously, it has decided to grace me with its feeble presence for a little while longer.
(strokes the laptop lovingly.)

Your Daily Allowance of Trans Fat

Me: Consumer Relations, this is [my real name], how may I help you?
Caller: Hi! I work for one of the top Wall Street firms and I think one of my coworkers may have just broken some sort of world record.
Me: Okay?
Caller: My friend, my coworker, just ate, in front of about 40 witnesses three of your largest hamdburgers, a large chocolate shake and your largest side.
Me: ...(unsure exactly what to say).
Caller: Could you send him some sort of congratulatory letter?
Me: (wondering how 40 people could actually be paid top dollar to watch someone kill themselves via trans fat.)
Caller: Just something we could frame and hang in the office? Something maybe saying congratulations on your accomplishment, thank you for your patronage?
Me: I'm not really sure that's something we can do, but I can certainly look into that if you'll provide your name and address.
Caller: Well, it was my coworker, but I'll give you both our names ...(supplies info)... by the way this guy is a Columbia educated man and he was not under the influence of anything, and he's still alive!! I mean that's at least 4,000 calories!
Me: Well, like I said, thank you for calling and I will definently look into that for you.
Caller: Just something we could hang on the wall.
Me: I will certainly look into it for you.
Caller: I mean it would just be great advertisement for you guys. So we could continue to eat at your stores.
Me: Well, sir, I will absolutely look into that for you. Thank you so much for calling.
*click*

5.18.2005

How to Avoid Being that Call

Recently while reading "My Worst Call of the Day" I read a post which listed the blogger's pet peeves in dealing with customers, reminding me of a coworker who often comments that she'd love to write a book about how to complain. Because of this I have decided to post my "rules" on calling or writing to customer service departments. Its not hard to get a customer service rep to sympathize with you, as long as you respect us.

The Rules

  • When writing include your name & address. You'd be amazed how many people don't. One person actually requested a postage paid envelope to mail something back to me so I could replace it for him, when I received it, I had no idea who sent it.
  • Don't put us on hold.
  • Don't vent, yell, swear at or threaten us. We are here to help you, don't alienate us.
  • Don't call us uneducated or spell out words for us any circus monkey could spell, such as EAST. I'm not kidding. Someone spelled EAST for me today. We have college degrees.
  • Don't tell us you spend thousands of dollars in our store every year. Often times we can, and do check up on this claim, and most of the time you're lying.
  • Answer the questions we ask you, if we ask you what day you were in the store, don't say you think it was about 5pm, or just launch into your tale - we need this information so we can help you.
  • Don't discriminate. Seriously. Again, it alienates us. We stop listening to you.
  • Don't immediately ask for a manager, you're assuming we can't help you when you don't know if that is the case. Again, you're alienating us.
  • Don't demand coupons or discounts, if you must ask, ask politely. When you ask, most of the time we were planning on sending you something anyway and by asking you just cut what you will receive by half.
  • Don't write unnecessarily long or sarcastic letters. We skim them for the details we need, we receive so many of these that a well written letter actually impresses us.
  • Don't insult the company by commenting about our competitors, founder, stores, coworkers, etc. Again, you are alienating us, we stop listening.
  • Don't make comments about how little money you believe we earn doing our job. You don't know and it makes you sound like an ass.
  • Don't utter this phrase (or anything similar) "Well. How would YOU feel???" We don't comment on customer situations and you have just put us in an uncomfortable place.

5.17.2005

Mommy & Daddy are Teaching Me to be Racist

There is a lot of rampant predjudice I would love to think doesn't exist out there in our country, probably in the world. I could for the most part tune this out, or ignore its existence until I started working in customer service. Now, almost everyday I get the singular joy of wanting to maim someone who tells me how the employee at the store couldn't possibly have been 25 years old (in case you are unaware, apparently you are unfit to work until you reach age 55) or how the employees in the store were not speaking English. Now, when this complaint is followed by someone telling me they speak Spanish and detailing what the employee said about them while they believed the customer could not understand them, obviously that becomes something else entirely. However, I must say when someone calls in with a very valid complaint, as a caller did today and when I attempt to close the call and the caller continues to complain, saying the same thing over and over, and then goes into telling me if the store wants those Mexicans they can have 'em, but she won't go there....I must tell you I am no longer listening. The worst however was a few weeks ago when I received a letter from an 8 year old boy telling me we should not hire people who don't speak proper English, my coworker and I decided that letter could be paraphrased as mommy and daddy are teaching me to be racist.

5.12.2005

"Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Twain

Every once in a long while a customer calls with a compliment. Every once in an even longer time that compliment is especially sweet and heartfelt and comes at a time which make it all the more resounding.

Today was hell. The customers were mean, the consistently spoke too quickly to follow and were anything but understanding when asked to repeat details. The calls were never ceasing - not our typical environment. Then, around 3:30 there was a brief shining light. A gentleman called, he spoke slowly and softly and told me that he and his family loved our restaurants. He told us he wanted to make sure we understood his appreciation that he found our food and service to be excellent on every visit, something he told me he could not claim for most repeat business he had given to more formal restaurants during his life. The call was short, but sweet and when the caller hung up, I had tears in my eyes from the deep sentiment obvious in his voice.

It's true what they say, a smile does in fact beget another smile because the first thing I did after finishing his call was to email his comments to my coworkers, so they too could share in his family's gratitude.

5.11.2005

A Glorious Waste of Time

Today a woman called me to tell me that on our nutritional guide one of our items was listed incorrectly. She believed the calorie count was wrong because she had "weighed the item" and believed there was no possible way that our count was correct. I explained to this woman that our company is very concerned with nutrition and takes great care and researching the nutritional content of our food and that it is double checked by specific government organizations, since it would be illegal for us to misrepresent this information. This was however, not of concern to her, she argued with me until I finally told her I would have someone look into it. I did call the department who deals with these things, they told me they had no idea why she would believe the information was incorrect.


Later I had a call which went like this:

Consumer: Hi, I'm Sally Consumer, I work for State government and our governor has established a commitment to physical fitness. We eat at Company often because it is on the capital square and were wondering if you would consider making product in this new idea way.

Me: Oh, I'm very sorry, but our company does not allow outside suggestions.

Consumer: Are you sure? You couldn't even look into it? Even just to sell in our market?

Me: No, again I am very sorry, but we have a very strict policy about accepting outside suggestions. We have a department here which develops all of our products.

Consumer: You can't even consider it?

Me: No, we can't accept outside suggestions at all, partially because I couldn't tell you if this is something we are already working on, or not.

Consumer: Well what if I wrote a letter? Would anyone read it, or would you just throw it in the trash?

Me: Well because we are not able to accept outside suggestions, we would not be able to accept the letter.

Consumer: Not even if the governor supported it?

Me: Again, I am sorry, but there no way we would be able to consider your suggestion.

Consumer: *sighs* Well, at least I tried.


About twenty minutes later I heard this:

CoWoker: I'm very sorry ma'am, you will have to let the governor know that we do not accept outside suggestions.

ah, what a day.

5.10.2005

Call Me Michael Moore, aka Call of the Day #2

In the years I have worked in the customer service industry I have been employed by a few different companies. None of these companies allowed photographing or filming on their premises without the person obtaining permission beforehand.

I say this because today I received a call from a young man who told me he was doing a school project which required him to film the sign at our restaurant and then to film a customer purchasing and receiving food at the drive-thru. This customer who seemed scared when I asked for his address, before he explained his situation to me told me that last night he tried to film a particular restaurant from the parking lot and the manager told him it was not permitted. I explained our policy regarding this to the young man, who said "Ok. Why isn't that posted at your windows then?" When I told the young man that this was something that interested parties had to call the headquarters about, he said " Well I guess Company is a bunch of ASSHOLES then!"

I wonder if he was surprised when I disconnected.

5.06.2005

I am not your best friend.

I am convinced that some people call customer service lines because they are lonely. The reason I believe this is that they call for some piddly, little asinine reason, which can be resolved in approximately 45 seconds and yet they keep you on the phone for 45 minutes. When this happens I have one thought running through my head - the image of myself screaming like in Home Alone while I beat the phone receiver repeatedly against my desk until it shatters.

The reason I bring this up because one of my co-worker received a call today which I had the pleasure of listening to. Early in the call the customer put my fellow rep on hold (you called US!! Don't put US on hold!!) during this time she turned to tell me that the customer had actually driven back to the restaurant to ask the employees what the address to the restaurant was. During the course of her conversation I heard her tell him it definitely sounded like he "understood the values the company had been built upon" and I heard her attempt to close the call exactly 8 times before she finally was able to accomplish saying goodbye to him.

These customers are the worst customers possible. The reason is that it is impossible to say goodbye to them, as my co-worker experienced today, you can reassure these people, sympathize with them, specifically explain how their call will be handled and thank them for calling until you are blue in the face to no avail. They never hang up.

5.05.2005

Call of the Day #1

Today I received a phone call from a customer who explained to me that she frequents one of our restaurants more than once per week and always orders the same meal, with a chocolate milkshake. The customer told me that on the day she was calling about she went to this restaurant, ordered her meal, with her milkshake of course, and sat down to eat. As was customary for her, she ate her meal first, and then turned to start her milkshake, which *gasp,* had melted. The customer did not want to eat a melted milkshake, so she took the runny milkshake up to the counter and asked the employee for a replacement shake, which surprisingly, the employee gave her.

But this is not why the customer was calling.

The customer called because after she was given her replacement milkshake, a manager stepped forward and kindly told the customer she had noticed that she ate there quite frequently and always purchased the same meal, with a chocolate milkshake. The manager told the customer she had noticed this problem of the milkshake melting before she went to eat it was a recurring problem and suggested the customer consider ordering her milkshake after she was finished with her meal in the future, so as to avoid wasting future shakes.

The customer, was of course, vastly offended.

5.04.2005

The Customer Is Right 87% of the Time

I'm not entirely sure where this myth started, but everyone seems to feel that it clears them from any need to take decent common courtesy into account when calling a customer service line. Before you decide I am just a jaded customer service rep who doesn't care about the customer, please think about the fact that in the past 8 years I have been working in the service industry the only people who have uttered these words to me have been self-entitled pricks who believe the rules do not apply to them.

On the other side of this are the people who just don't seem to understand reality.

These are the people who make you wish it was possible to reach into the phone and slap them.