Sure I can close the account, but I will also call the cops.

I work as senior staff at my telco’s technical support, typically that means answering technical questions from employees, training and mentoring, and managing or escalating tickets.

One morning I got an alert that a frontline agent had hung up on a customer. There’s a formal policy. They must warn them three times for inappropriate behavior and then they can hang up and put it in the ticket system. The whole call is then escalated to senior staff for mandatory review.

Was a slam dunk, the customer was angry because Recoveries cut his internet connection for non-payment. Called the agent every filthy word I know of like it was their fault. Really shitty call, yet the frontline tech kept their cool. Nothing wrong with it. Moving on.

Minutes later I get another alert. Of course the same customer called again. I’m obligated to listen to the whole call before doing something about it. But as I’m doing that, my internal line rings from a contact over at Sales senior staff (SSS). She proceeds to explain some freak called Sales’ frontline several times calling agents all sorts of terrible things and wanted to know what was up, given they don’t have access to our tools. Of course it was the same guy.

Me: Disconnected by Recoveries for non-payment, I’m listening to one of the calls he placed to tech support right now, incredibly rude, I’ll do something about it soon as I’m done listening.

SSS: That’s what I thought. But he’s really nasty, and unlike you guys over at tech support, most of the staff here at Sales are women and he’s really more than rude. I listened to a rape threat one of my girls got. He even said the address our call center’s at. She followed procedure and then warned him three times before…

Me: “Really? Rape threat and she still stuck to procedure?”

SSS: “Yes… you can listen to it if you want, forwarded you the link to the call in the monitoring software. Worst is at 105 seconds in. So given all that, will you back me up that there’s no technical issue if I ask management to just blacklist the account and his phone numbers permanently?”

… listened to it a few seconds to confirm…

Me: “Uh, of course we’re doing that. But that’s not enough.”

SSS: “What do you mean? If we can blacklist the account and the phone should be okay, right?”

Me: “Nope. Union work contract. 33.6, -A, -B, -C. We’re not only obligated to immediately report any threats of physical violence towards employees to both police and the bilateral Health&Safety board, but should the need arise, the corporation has to pay resulting lawyer fees and their counsel has to assist the Crown on their dime. Service has to be terminated immediately without management’s approval, and unanimous consent from the H&S board is required for service to be restored. Upgrading the non-payment disconnect to a MAC-based node ban for his modem and cable box, and conferencing 911 and union headquarters now.”

Within an hour the guy was in for questioning and police had our recordings of over a dozen threatening calls he placed to every call center number we have he could get his hands on. His account and number were blacklisted and we fast-forwarded the black mark to credit rating for non-payment. The H&S board was in constant contact with police about it. Never heard about him again.

Just because you’re speaking to a faceless frontline agent on the phone, don’t think you can say whatever you want without consequences.

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I caused a customer to get divorced, and I’m not even mad.