music: graham coxon - 'freakin' out'
This past week has been freakin' weird. (Oh yeah - not dead and stuff, just not blogging as often as I initially intended, etc). It's been ridiculously busy; like, I've read articles about the demands on call centres rising a certain double-digit percentage exponentially each year, but this is, err, ridiculous... so to speak. You know why it is? People ringing for such frivolous reasons. Not only that, but wanting to discuss them for 25 minutes, then exiting the call thinking they haven't got a satisfactory answer, and calling back half an hour later to take up the debate with a more-tolerant-of-imbecilicity rep, who'll inevitably screw up and let them off the hook. If there even was one!
I had one of the classic "I've paid my account, so I want my power back on RIGHT FUCKING NOW," customers; it only takes 5 seconds to point out that there's a usual turnaround time from our end of approximately 6 hours, then 30 minutes to explain to them our contractors aren't wizards capable of magicing their power on RICHT FUCKING NOW. And that it took them 8 months to pay US, so why should we have to serve them right away?
But that's just usual. But this week, for example, I had a customer who rang and asked if she could skip over one of her direct debit payments. It's not a service we normally offer, but I went over the account and decided this one time I'd let it go, and advised her as such. Her response? "Are you THREATENING me?" Err, no... just doing (a) what you asked... and, um, (a) what you asked... She ended up speaking to a manager and laying a complaint against me; at which my manager had a good chuckle. 10 minutes, that one took.
Then there was the guy who rang to complain that we refunded him the bond he paid us in late 2003, but failed to inform him as such. A thousand other times I've had to explain to disgruntled non-payers that we have to charge them a bond cause they don't pay their accounts, much to their dismay; not this guy. He paid his accounts just fine, so we refunded it, then he stopped paying, so we disconnected him, and now he's complaining that he has to pay it again; his logic being that if we never refunded him his original bond, he wouldn't have to pay one now. Odd, cause (here we go again) (a) we DID inform him we were refunding him his bond, the month we did so; and (b) if we hadn't refunded the bond when we did, he probably would've failed to pay the account that month, and been disconnected THEN. 25 minutes.
Here's a suggestion for anyone out there who's a caller, not a callee; NEVER use "I've been X number of universities and am highly educated," as an argument in a conversation with a call centre rep. Firstly, you never studied "how to access an indoors meter" at university; secondly, who's to say I haven't studied at X number of universities more than you? Thirdly, going to university for a semester and a half in 1981 doesn't qualify you to get free electricity for the rest of your life. I had a guy today who had an account for $516, then paid $112 off it in two $56 instalments, then had a new account with an opening balance of $404. He couldn't understand how we came to this sum, despite being university educated. Thrice, apparently. How people manage to live to the age of 85 without being able to add, I'll never know. If someone arranged the candles on his cake in a rectangle, he'd probably complain that the number of candles lenghtways multiplied by the number of candles the other way didn't equal the number of candles on the actual cake. PS: Kindergartens ain't universities, buddy.
Jebus, what an awkward maths-based burn. Last time I try one of those. 25 minutes.
Sometimes you've just gotta hang up on people. If they're not listening to you, there's no point, really. Many times a 'customer' has begun yelling at me, when really they should be yelling at the Terms And Conditions, so nowadays I just say something like, "am I allowed to speak?" Inevitably, they say "No!". Last time this happened, I thought to myself, this customer can suck mine before I listen to them speak anymore, so responded, "then there's no point in continuing with this conversation in that case, is there?" and disconnected the call. Man, once you reach that point, it's so liberating. No longer do you have to listen to the inane shit people come up with.
Speaking of the Terms And Conditions, they are a GODSEND to us in the call centre. If ever there is a 'customer' arguing something, and you're pretty much all out of arguments (moral and logical), you jsut need to ask, "have you read the Terms And Conditions?" You know they haven't, so you cna pretty much now say what you want. 99.99% of the time, they haven't read them, and will argue as such; and we just say, "they were posted out to you when you joined." And the best part is, almost anything you can come up with to rebut a customer's fanciful claim can be found in the Terms And Conditions! They're like a moldable Ten Commandments, forever shifting to reflect whatever policy it is you happen to need. A Ten Thousand Commandments, if you will. Like, Thou shalt not complain about not recieving an acount more than three days after we have billed it as by now we have assumed you have recieved it. Or, Thou shalt not bill ANYONE for ex-frozen meat when the power goes out, because ultimately no one is responsible but the Lord himself. And my favourite, Even if thoust meter is buried by a landslide and protected against your will by dragons, thou mustest provide access or we'll charge you estimated accounts upwards of $1000 a month and thou shalt payeth them, or we'll cut off your power. In sticky moments, that's a goodie.
get off my case