6 Infuriatingly Amusing Customer Service Calls
Funny seems considerably funnier when it strikes ordinary everyday situations. Anybody who has stifled a laugh in a conference room (which is essentially anyone who has ever been in a conference room) would agree. Some memorable calls from customers that have made the rounds in our North American Customer Service circles are a testament to this. These anecdotes, in addition to being amusing, are also instructive in preparing an agent for the more atypical callers.
- The One-Stop Shopper:
Once every so often, we hear of callers who expect the ‘800’ number to work like a genie — a one-number-fix for every problem, regardless of who’s been dialed. A caller, the owner of a brand new 40” LCD TV, called us stating that the TV did not work. After a few minutes of inquiry, the agent found that the problem was in fact the unplugged cable. The caller, instead of calling the Cable Company, had phoned the TV company. When the agent said as much, the caller shot back with “This is your product. You call them.” After a few minutes of this back and forth, the agent conferenced in the Cable Company on the call. The Cable Company representative on the phone tried convincing the caller to just locate and plug in the cable at the back but in vain. By the end of the call, the Cable Company agreed to send a sufficiently skilled technician over for “installation”.
- The Few Good men:
To compensate or not to compensate, that is the question. We’ve all seen the kids that ignore the present and play with the box. One caller took this to a whole new level when he persistently demanded compensation for the protective card board box in which the product had been packaged. The box was lightly damaged during transit but the product inside had made it unscathed. The Caller insisted that the outer box was damaged and he would like a compensation or replacement for the box. It took some tactful convincing by the managers to get the caller to accept that the box had fulfilled its purpose and was no longer needed.
- The Self-Destruct Button:
From the user who wouldn’t plug in a cable, we arrive at the opposite end of the spectrum. We often hear of callers who dial either to show that they know it all or just to check if the agent knows anything. Either ways, the results aren’t pretty. A caller had made several changes to his computer because of which the machine had gone haywire. The agent tried to help the caller by providing step by step information for a system reset. The caller stated that he was fully aware how to restore his computer and despite several warnings from the agent, refused to follow the instructions. Boom. The caller landed up performing a complete system re install instead, losing all his data.
- The lather-rinse-repeater:
While practice does make perfect, there is such a thing as too much repetition. A call center’s archives had a recording where a caller had made a table reservation for a restaurant in Florida. After sometime she called in to confirm, after which she called in to confirm, and once done with that, called in to confirm. The lady called the Reservation Desk 13 times in one day just to confirm if her reservation is still there. She eventually had to be convinced that her table would be waiting for her when she arrived at the restaurant. Although these calls are short they lead to a high call volume and need to be minimized.
- The Homing pigeon:
Confusing accents can at times make for hilarious situations. So can preconceived paranoia about not being able to understand one. A level 3 agent narrated an incident where caller was not ready to believe the agent because he had an accent that was not American. The agent needed to take the remote of the caller’s PC to help her install the product. But the caller was too thrown off by the accent which was actually perfectly comprehensible despite being different. The agent tried to provide step by step information to the caller. The caller then hung up and called the help desk three more times hearing the exact same steps until she got a North American agent who gave the same steps and (finally) resolved the issue.
- The Conspiracy Theorists:
Americans are very concerned about their privacy, and rightly so. But this fact can make business trying for a Customer Service company. Banking and Finance based projects usually include a Bank Policy requiring callers to punch in the last four digits of their Social Security number into the IVR for authentication. These are security measures to ensure that no one else calls on a customer’s behalf without approval or authorization. However, wary customers make the process of procuring this number a more than arduous one. The longer calls, and the volley of questions that they entail, make an actual bank heist seem unimpressive. For an agent handling a query, allaying paranoia is half the problem solved.
These are just some of the less conventional, more singular caller incidents that we have been privy to through our 10 year journey in the industry. With a few more years in the field, we should have enough telling customer service tales for a movie.