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Do you remember?

I was training a new employee today. The calls were smooth all afternoon, I listened while they spoke to the customer and assisted when needed. Then we got this a caller who made me so angry I cut my trainee off mid-sentence.

Before anyone says anything, I’ll remind you all again this is a small call center dealing with accounting. We are nice and will do all we can to help you but if we are not the typical call center employee punching bag that has to take abuse. I have no problems getting stern with a caller. We are also all very close and we adore our new coworker, and I will not let someone take advantage of this because they are understandably not super confident yet and afraid of saying the wrong thing.

Trainee: This is _____, how can I help you?

Caller: Yeah this is (business), I called earlier because I’m trying to bill this online but your website is having an error.

T: Ok! Give me a moment to pull up your information. (Creating an excuse to put them on hold to check with me. I had taken this call earlier in the day without them so they had no idea of what was going on. I filled them in.) Thanks for holding! I see that our website was having a problem, and that my colleagues attempted to fix it earlier and had given you some advice on what to do after that. Were you able to do what they had said?

C: That’s not what happened. Where are you getting your information? They said they were going to fix it.

T: (Starting to get a worried look, I let them know to just stay cool and repeat what I had told them.) I’m sorry but I just spoke to them and they said they had given you some instructions to follow. You just needed to-

C: NO, I don’t need to do anything! They said they were fixing it!

T: They said they were putting it back online for you so you could collect some information, then for you to fax it to us and cancel the online billing. Were you able to get that information?

C: No, because THEY TOLD ME ALL I HAD TO DO WAS CANCEL IT AND IT WOULD BE FIXED.

T: I apologize for the misunderstanding, please let me speak to my coworkers again to confirm this.

I hadn’t intervened at this point because this was their first irate caller, and they were handling it as well as they could, being new. I assure them what they are saying is right, and that since he had not followed instructions his options were now to call the customer to get this information or to speak to a different department to see if we could speak to the customer for them, or both. They tell the caller this and he does not take it well.

C: Why should I have to do anything when I was told it was taken care of??

Me: eyeroll

T: Sir you’ve misunderstood, we can still help you but we now have fewer options then we did before. I understand it’s frustrating but we will do all we can for you.

C: You’re not helping me do anything! You’re just telling me it’s my problem now after they tricked me into cancelling everything!! I’ve never spoken to a more useless person in my life! starts shouting in the background to someone about what’s happening, this person also starts yelling and throwing insults

Nope. Now you’ve messed up.

T: upset Please, sir, I-

I held my hand up to stop them and immediately flipped the switch that set my headset to the one that the caller could hear.

Me: Sir, my name is sh605 and I was one of the people you spoke to this morning. Do you remember me?

C: Oh thank god, the person before you-

Me: I’m going to stop you right there, as I have been listening to the call since it started. Do you recall when I told you this morning my coworker was replacing this billing in your system, and to wait 10 minutes?

C: Yeah but-

Me: Do you remember me telling you to then write the number listed below the billing and to write it on the receipt and fax it to us?

C: starting to fuss

Me: Do. You. Remember.

C: Well, yeah… But I called someone else later and they said they would take care of it for me.

Me: That person sits directly beside me, sir, and that is not what they told you. They told you exactly what I told you this morning and what my trainee told you at the beginning of the call. It is notated twice in your account and I heard the conversation. When they said they would take care of it, they were directly referring to putting this back on the site for you to get all the info you would need, and after they said that they again asked you to fax the receipt with this information.

C: But-

Me: Now that you have failed to follow the instructions you were given twice, we are still going to help you but you have tied our hands a bit. As I warned you this morning, that information would not be retained after it was cancelled and it was VERY important that you write it down after we put it back for you because you would not be able to retrieve it later. Do you remember this?

C: I know but I made a mistake!

Me: That’s alright, sir, we can still fix it. I will send you to a department who will reach out to the customer for you, and you are welcome to reach out to this person as well. As soon as you have it, you just send it and we will pay you what you are owed. There is nothing else that my department can do to help now, but if you have any other billing questions you can always call back for help.

C: Ok, go ahead and transfer me.

Me: Absolutely. transfer

I asked my coworker if they were good, took notes, switched it back over and had them take the next call. Thankfully everything after that was simple!

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