I just had a most unpleasant interaction with a customer. As I’ve said before, I work in a call center for an auto manufacturer. Right now I’m in a department geared toward helping customers schedule appointments for a specific safety recall at their local dealerships. Due to the nature of the department, angry customers are rare. We get the call, schedule an appointment, and that’s that.
Today I got a call from a customer who not only had this recall to complete, but also had an issue with the seat cushions on her car. Apparently the cushions were decayed, and she had been expecting a call back from a different department for assistance. No one had ever called her back, so she was already pissed when I got on the phone with her, and she had one of the whiniest, most grating entitled soccer mom voices I’ve ever heard. I didn’t have jurisdiction to do anything about the cushions, I told her, but could go ahead and call her local dealership to schedule an appointment for the recall.
I got the customer on the line with a dealer representative. The customer was horrible to her, belittling and screaming at her every time she was asked to repeat something the representative did not hear clearly due to poor call quality. When the representative asked the customer to confirm which recall needed to be completed, the customer yelled at her, “I don’t know! You guys are supposed to know that already!” I could tell the rep was getting anxious and I felt bad for subjecting her to this curmudgeonly bitch.
Finally the customer started to calm down a little as the rep prepared to finalize the appointment. Then the three of us realized something — I had connected the customer with the wrong dealership. See, we use a dealer locator that automatically pulls up the nearest dealer to the customer’s zip code. However, there’s a glitch in the system where it will sometimes automatically populate the last zip code you searched. So I had put the customer, who lives in California, through to a dealership in Florida.
When the realization hit me, all I could think was “Oh, shit.”
The representative, who was fed up with being screamed at by this woman, dipped out of the call as soon as she could. I apologized profusely to the customer and attempted to explain my mistake. She wouldn’t accept my apology and continued to press me about the issue with her seats. I informed her that steps had already been taken by the correct department to address this concern, but she didn’t care. She wanted someone to do something about it now. I reminded her that my department could not address any issue other than the recall. She simply said “I don’t care,” and demanded that I patch her through to someone. All I could tell her was that I couldn’t, and that she would have to wait for a brand ambassador to call back.
I apologized again about the mixup and gave the customer the number to the correct dealership. She admonished me for making her go through all that for nothing and hung up on me. And again, I fully admit that it was my bad. I should’ve checked to make sure I was calling the right dealership. But I promise you, this woman had already lost it. My fuckup was just the final nail in my own coffin.
And I have to call her back tomorrow to see if the brand ambassador ever called back about the seats. Wish me luck.