Most people who call in are pretty nice, but occasionally we get people who seem to think that we’re trying to do busywork or harm them by asking questions we need in the file. We have a list of questions. I ask the questions, the caller answers the questions, and then I send this up to someone else so they can get a professional to help them. If they preferred, they could do this online. It is the exact same procedure.
Me: [Generic Greeting]
Caller: Hi, this is Bob. I need to report a theft from two weeks ago. I have a police report.
Me: All right, Bob, let’s find you in the system.
Caller: [provides information]. I don’t know what’s wrong with the world anymore. I just feel like that if someone steals, we should do what the Middle East does and cut off their hands
Me: (speechless) Well, Bob, it’s always upsetting to have your things stolen. I’m very sorry, but I’m going to help you through this process as quickly as I can. I’m sure you don’t want to have to take so much time out of your day because of someone else’s actions.
Caller: No I don’t.
Me: Can I ask where your [property] was located?
Caller: Well, it’s right up by the front of the house. Not too far from it, really, I didn’t want to put it too far away because I was worried about it.
Me: (typing) I understand, it was near the front of the house-
Caller: I was trying to answer your question! Don’t interrupt me! I have it right by the house because I was worried about it being stolen, and didn’t want it out of sight of the house. (Proceeds into a five minute explanation of why he had placed the [property] where it was.)
Me: (waits about five seconds after he stops to make sure he’s done)
Me: Yes, sir, it was outside of your home and to the right of it. Thank you. In order to call you back, let me get the best phone number for you.
Caller: Use whatever’s on file.
Me: (copies the number he’s calling from in the notes because 50% of the time, that old number isn’t the caller’s anymore) Ok. Is there a best time to contact you at that number
Caller: It’s my cell phone, so no.
Me: (sees the old phone is labeled “Home”) Yes, sir. Can you describe the damages to [property] to me?
Me: Can I ask the police department’s name and the report number?
Caller: It’s [Town] Police Department, of course, and the report number is [number].
Me: And do you know if they have any suspects?
Caller: If I had any suspects I wouldn’t have called, I’d have taken care of it myself.
Me: All right, no suspects. Now, I have a reference number for you, do you have a pen handy
Caller: No, you know what, this is taking forever, I need to make a call, can you wait a moment?
Caller then proceeds to put me on mute and make a three minute call to someone. Eventually he returns to the phone.
Caller: Are you still here?
Me: Yes, we are almost done. Did you have a pen on hand?
Caller: No! I already said no! Weren’t you listening? You sound like you’re reading from a script! Why aren’t we done?
Me: I can email this information to you, if you prefer.
Caller: That’s fine! Why did you do that in the first place?
Me: Some people prefer to have it written down rather than emailed, so we always ask. What is your preferred email address?
Caller: Use whatever’s on file.
Me: It looks like I have you wife’s email, BobbetteLastName@wordwebsite?
Caller: It’s pronounced WORD not word!
Me: Yes, sir, I have all that sent over. (Explains next steps.)
Caller: Great. (hangs up)
Most of these types of calls take under 14 minutes. This one took 30, because he refused to listen to the questions, refused to listen to me when I tried to express I had the answer I needed, and refused to give information I needed. I ended up documenting most of the call in the notes, so the next person would know what they’re dealing with and just in case he decided to complain.
Just… let me help you! If you don’t have time for this, why did you call in right now? This happened two weeks ago, if you’re pressed for time, wait until later.