Most of us in the Call Center line of work know that the large majority of our calls are neutral. Neither positive or negative, they are just calls. The ones that are negative happen frequently enough to stick out. The positive calls are generally far between. I wanted to share a positive story from my years in the trenches and hopefully get some of you a chuckle.
Circa 2010. I was a front line agent in my 4th year of overnight cable TV tech support. I was good at what I did and it was a good paycheck for young me without a college degree. I had a knack for staying just above the “crap agent they need to be coached all the time” line but below the “lets shower them with praise and let them know we expect more from them” line. Basically I could work the numbers so that I didn’t get bothered by the leadership and was allowed to just take my calls and go home.
Enter Tammy Tinsel (name changed for the normal reasons) on my phone one night. Little did I know that this woman was going to be the highlight of my night, and for months to come would cause me to smile when I heard her on the phone. Tammy was unique. She had some sort of disorder or disability. I did not ever find out what it was. But she was super, extremely, massively kind and energetic. She was always happy to speak to another human being, no matter what answer they gave to her inquiry. I am not sure how long Tammy had been a customer of ours by the time I got her for the first time but it was a little while so I was shocked I hadn’t talked to her before.
Me: “Thank you for calling cable company, my name is Intabus, how may I help you?”
Tammy: “Hi! My name is Tammy and I need help with my cable.”
Me: “I am sorry for the troubles, I would be happy to help. May I get the *standard account information*?”
TT: “Sure its *gives informaton*”
Me: “Thank you. Now what seems to be the trouble with the cable?”
TT: “Do you know my sister? Is she paying my bill?”
Me: Taken aback a bit. “No Ma’am I am sorry to say I dont know your sister. We dont have record of who made a payment, just that it was made.”
TT: “Oh, I want to order HBO.”
Me: “Certainly, give me a moment to check on what you have and we will get you a price.”
*At this time I notice her account has a permanent notation stating that the bill is sent to another state. Turns out her sister IS paying the bill and has also left a notation that Tammy is not allowed to make changes to the pricing.”
Me: “Tammy, I am sorry but I did find out that *sisters name* is paying the bill for you and she had left us a note that she doesnt want any changes made to the account. I’m afraid we will have to have you ask her if we can add HBO for you, and have her call us. “
TT: “Oh, That’s okay. I saw a puppy today while I was taking my walk. It was so adorable and I had to pet it. *proceeds to tell me every detail about the puppy and how happy it made her*”
Me: “Puppies are adorable and petting them is shown to lower stress levels.”
TT: “I know! Do I have wire maintenance on my account?”
Me: *thrown off a little by the sudden shift back to work questions* “Um….. I do not see W/M is on this account.”
TT: “Oh. Thats okay. My remote control wont work! Can you fix it?”
Me: “Of course! What are you trying to do that it wont?”
TT: “It wont turn on the microwave. I put my food in and press the play button but it wont come on.”
Me: “Im sorry Tammy, but our remote controls do not work the microwave. In fact I am not sure they even make remotes for Microwaves. That would be both the best and the worst invention I think. What if you accidentally sat on it in the living room and the food you forgot in there from earlier was now a charred lump of coal!?”
TT: “Oh my gosh that would be terrible! Coal doesnt taste very good. I had some once.”
TT: ” Do you know my sister? She pays my bill. Can you tell where my bill is going?”
Me: *starting to realize she is not quite firing on all cylinders* “Oh of course. Your bill is going to *sisters name and address*. She takes care of you. She must really like you!”
TT: “Oh yes. We are best friends. Can I order a PPV movie?”
Me: “Im sorry Tammy, but your sister says no changes to the account unless she okays it. Since she is paying the bill we need to respect her wishes. I am sure if you call her and ask she will let us add a movie for you!”
TT: “Oh. Okay. Can you see if I have Wire Maintenance on the account”
Me: “Sure thing. *takes a moment* I’m sorry Tammy, I don’t see W/M on your account. “
TT: “Oh. Okay. I need to go now. Bye!”
Me: “Of course! It was a pleasure *TT hangs up* talking to you…… anything else I can …help…with……?”
*notates the interaction on the account. Proceeds to tell my neighbor about this bizarre call.
The best part is that I got her again that night. The interaction was about the same. She always asks if he sister is paying the bill and if we have her address. She always asks about Wire Maintenance and if she can add a PPV movie. A few times over the years her sister did call us to authorize a PPV and eventually I saw HBO was added for her. I got her many more times over the years and she was always so pleasant to talk to. She kept up her main points of calling. A few times she had an actual problem we fixed. She always had a story to tell about something that happened on a walk or outing. Made me smile to talk to her because I think she just wanted to interact with people. No matter what the day was like it was hard to have a bad attitude when talking to her because she was so innocent and sweet.
She was still calling in when I left, and I hope she continues to brighten peoples day with bizarre stories and inquiries.