Hey all, occasional poster in this sub, customer support rep for a software company that works with the automotive industry. Been in the business for about 2 years now, honestly love my job and the majority of the callers, except for the second person to ever make me cry in my time with this company. This is a long one, so buckle up.
Here’s the situation, this user upgraded to a new software at the beginning of this month, and immediately had issues with it. Some of it was due to system requirements on their end, and some was on our company’s end, tier 2 reps got involved, all sorts of fun stuff.
The first time we talk to them, it was a 2 hour phone call between our male senior support rep and the male caller. Interaction stayed pleasant the entire time, he let our senior rep remote in, troubleshoot, got our tier 2 involved, and eventually some other stuff had to be done that I wasn’t around for, so the case had to be left open for a couple days. Fast forward to a day or so later, user calls back a couple times in that period, gets a female rep both times. Won’t let them talk or get with the tier 2 to see if there were any updates, demanded a supervisor as soon as he possibly could. We don’t get escalated calls too often, usually our callers are friendly enough, even if they’re having a rough day, so it was a shock to get someone this abrasive. Issue was fixed by day 3, they had a workaround solution in place until then, we thought things were done with this guy.
Couple of weeks go by, and we get to this week. User calls back saying they cannot login to the program, and the person who takes that call is our tier two backup, who happens to be a female. On our direct team, she has the most experience with troubleshooting. this program, and was the best person he could have gotten, knowledge-wise. The caller tells her she needs to fix the issue, because well, they can’t use the program. She asks to remote in to clear out of his cache and temp files, he refuses and immediately asks for her supervisor. She advises that we need to do some stuff on our side to adjust their logins, but we still need to clear that temp data since the browser needs to be fully emptied after she makes those adjustments. He still won’t let her remote in and asks for her supervisor again. He tells her he already did that and there’s no point in us doing it. So, she obliged and does a temporary login expansion, twice. He still can’t login, and still refuses to clear his cache/temp files again, nor will he let her into the PC.
He then claims that even though they only pay for one subscription to the program, two users have “always” been able to login at the same time and use it, and he wants her to make it work like that again for him as well. Obviously, we feel what’s going on is probably related to that cached data, that he won’t let us delete. And even so, no users have been able to login with more than the agreed amount of subscriptions at once. If anything, we’ve had the opposite issue happen, but even so, anything is possible. Throughout all this he keeps asking for a supervisor, and our male team manager happened to be in a meeting. He advises he will wait on hold until he gets back, even though we have no idea when that will be. She places him on hold, he disconnects within a minute.
She throws a quick message into the group chat, letting us know of the situation in case we get a callback. Her case notes were fantastically detailed, but she wanted us to have advanced warning so we weren’t taken off guard. Well, I got the callback.
Me = Me. Him = That guy
Me: “Customer Support, this is weneedthebitter.”
Him: “Hi this is (gives name and account info) and I am calling back about an issue you all were looking at earlier but didn’t fix for me.” (He then describes the issue and mentions we ended the call from earlier, we didn’t.)
Me: “Sure thing, let me just take a quick look at her notes from earlier today so I can see how to proceed from here. (Kills 30 seconds skimming her notes again, even though I read them after her initial chat message.) Alright, I see where we left off! Do you mind if I remote in there just to clear our your cache and temp data, and then we’ll get those subscriptions refreshed for you?”
Him: “Transfer me to your supervisor.”
Me: “I apologize, he’s currently in a meeting (he was, again. Worst damn timing) and I am not sure when he will be back. If you’d like I can remote in there and perform the troubleshooting, and I can also take down your direct contact information and have him reach back out to you as soon as his meeting is over.”
Him: “No, I’m not an idiot. I know how to delete cookies. I already did that earlier today and I’m not having you come into my computer and do it again.”
Me: “Sir, I apologize, I was not trying to imply you didn’t know how to do that, I just wanted to be able to verify for my troubleshooting/notes that those steps were completed.”
Him: “I NEVER SAID YOU CALLED ME AN IDIOT I JUST SAID IM NOT STUPID.” (He goes 0-100 right here at the drop of a hat)
Me: “Sir, I understand you’re frustrated, but I am trying to help. You are more than welcome to hold for my supervisor, but I am trying to come up with a solution to your problem so we can get you back up and running again. If you don’t let me do the troubleshooting steps they require me to do, then I can’t attempt to resolve the issue for you.”
Him: “I don’t care, we can sit on hold all day. I’ve spent an hour on this today already (15-ish minutes on the first call) I can sit here all day and type and wait for him if I have to.”
Me: “Sure thing Sir, I was just trying to find a more immediate solution to your problem that didn’t involve you having to wait. I was just trying to expedite the resolution process for you.”
Him: “Well you can put me on hold and, wait, what’s your name again? (I say my name and he repeats it back to me.) Perfect. If you disconnect the call instead of putting me on hold, I’ll call back and this will be a big problem for you. Oh yeah, your product sucks and you and your support of it sucks. It’s useless and I don’t know why we even have it. So let me hold for your manager.”
At this point, I put him on hold for about 10 minutes, until my supervisor is back. All in all, the call was nearly 20 minutes long, and while I know I could have put him on hold sooner, I was hoping that if he really wanted his issue fixed, he would let me do my job to fix it, which is why I tried to reason with him. As soon as I put the call on hold, I started bawling. Also, I work remotely most of the time, so my colleagues were checking up on me via our group and private chats, and the pitchforks and torches were about to come out.
My supervisor gets back from his meeting, let’s me know he’s good to take the call. I compose myself and say in the cheeriest voice I can muster, “Sir, my manager is ready for you now, and I hope you have the best day ever!” My supervisor was done with that call very quickly, privately messages me to say thanks for handling such a difficult interaction. I advise that it should be conveyed to him that if he calls in for assistance, he has to let us do our jobs, he can’t just ask for a supervisor and expect it to get fixed, because our manager has no idea how to troubleshoot any of the products. My supervisor says that they will “coach him” on this whenever they talk to him next. (Because 3 requests for escalated calls from one person in a couple weeks was apparently okay to them.) He then goes on to put into our group chat that the customer decided to extend their subscription amount to resolve the login issue, that way they wouldn’t get the message saying they were past the available amount of logins for their location, and that this customer said we were “great” and “thanks for all we do”.
Me (In the group chat); “If he said that, that’s hilarious, because he told me how much us and our company suck.” (Get a couple funny reactions from that, woohoo.)
At this point, I just hope I never have to speak with them again. And then I find out our manager was walking around telling our team how nice he was on the phone to him, and that as soon as the call got transferred to him the user was “suddenly” able to login. This is told to me by our male senior rep, who is my closest friend on the team. He immediately messages me and says, “something is wrong, I heard the first call today, well the female rep’s side of it, and you could tell he was being horrible to her.”
So, I go and look at all the previous cases for this guy. Out of all of them, he’s spoken with 8 of us, 5 males, 3 females. All of the males say he was pleasant or nice. All of the females have things like “rude”, “aggressive”, “yelled at me”, would not let me perform my duties”, “refused to let me try to troubleshoot”, etc.
I type up as neutral of an email as I can muster to my supervisor and their boss, who is on very good terms with me and knows I don’t cry wolf. I cited the specific cases, interactions, remarks, etc and advised that we may be dealing with someone who is either sexist towards women, or at the least, hostile to females. I asked that if he call in again, one of them sit to listen in on the call, preferably my direct supervisor, since he’s spoken with the user before and he was “nice”. I summed it all up by saying we take our jobs seriously, and if we are not allowed to do our jobs, how can we help our customers and also maintain a positive work environment, when we have someone who is obviously hostile towards us.
They respond the next morning and thank me, and agree to sit and listen, should he call back in, because they felt a pattern was definitely emerging with him. Unsure of if they pulled the calls or not at that point, but I’m assuming they did. Fast forward to that evening, another email goes out. My supervisor took it upon himself to contact this user directly, and advised them that they were acting disrespectful and unprofessionally towards us, and if they call in anytime in the future, they have to be respectful and allow us to do our jobs. He also advised we can immediately transfer this caller to him, should he refuse to work with us. And if he is not available to take it and/or the user won’t leave a message, we can disconnect. To top it all off, he is notifying the users corporate reps of what is going on, and he can potentially get blacklisted if he does not follow the rules. (Insert me sighing in relief when I read that email here.)
I may only talk to a few hundred people a week, but I’d say 98% of my interactions are overall very pleasant. At worst, someone is a little cranky or not comprehending of a program, and get frustrated, which is totally understandable. In a case like this where it wasn’t just a “bad day”, but a repeat issue in such a short period of time, it was amazing to see two bosses that had our backs.