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When the agent in the next department enrages you more than the customer

Thank you so much for opening this r/talesfromcallcenters post! This is shelbydeebee, and can we all agree – call center employees are supposed to be secret comrades that have each other’s backs? Well, not according to this lady. TLDR at the end, since this is kind of long with a lot of necessary context before the true story comes along.

For context, I work in customer service for a credit card company. My position entails, in majority, taking payments, changing account info (such as mailing address, phone number, etc), processing lost or stolen cards, etc.

I’m in my seventh month at said credit card company, and there are very few times (maybe a handful a week) where I’m expected to “warm transfer” – basically, I transfer with the customer instead of connecting them on their own so I can explain the situation to the next agent before handing them the customer. This is usually reserved for when I have to connect a customer to a supervisor so I can update the sup on why the customer has asked for them, but sometimes I warm even to other specialty department if a) the customer expresses displeasure in having to repeat themselves and I’m feeling extra nice that day or b) the customer is such a bombshell of irrationality and emotional that I want to do the next agent a solid by warning them and giving them a chance to prepare before having to drop the cm in their lap.

Now, having that been said, on to the cast!

CM: Customer/Cardmember

TC: Team Coach

SA: Specialty Agent

Me: The hand that was bit

To start off this story with only the best of circumstances, I received this call two minutes before I was set to clock out on a closing shift. It was a payment call, which are usually very quick, so in this moment, I kid myself into believing I’d lucked out. Then CM hits me with this:

CM: Yea, before we go, I want you to review transactions from the last three months with me.

Now. I want to be clear. Any other day, in any other moment, I don’t care about reviewing transactions. I’d much rather methodically discuss emotionless numbers with an occasionally humming customer than listen to one try and bully me into working voodoo magic on their account. However, two things stopped me from immediately jumping into transactions with this CM.

  1. My TC’s head poking up from behind his desk to mouth at me, “Almost done?” since he can’t leave until I leave.
  2. The customer’s card type.

He had a “specialty” card that, technically, my department is only allowed to make payments on. Anything else on the account, I can’t service – period. I was heavily trained to transfer these CMs immediately to their specialty department if they asked to do anything other than make a payment. So, I do. End of story.

Still, I totally get when CMs get frustrated at being transferred for something so trivial – and when I told this CM I needed to transfer him, as I thought, he got upset.

CM: You mean I have to go through this whole damn thing again just to go over transactions?

Me: trying to go the extra mile for the CM and do the next agent a solid – Well, sir, I can transfer with you, explain what you’ve told me to the next agent, and that way you don’t have to repeat yourself. Does that work?

He calmed down a bit after that, even thanked me for the help, and I begin the warm transfer.

FINALLY. The meat of the story.

SA: in overtly sweet customer service voice This is SA in Specialty Card Type Dept! May I have your first and last name?

Me: Hi SA, this shelbydeebee in the Payments Dept.

I then proceed to explain how I took a payment from the CM but needed to transfer him over to her since he wanted to review transactions.

SA: tone immediately drops 10 octaves. Can’t you see his transactions on your end?

Me: caught off guard. Well…yeah, I can…?

SA: Then why did you transfer him here?

At this point, TC sees the bewilderment on my face and walks over to my desk in case I need him. He’s mouthing, “What’s up?” to me and I hold up my finger, feeling the first flames of exhaustion fueled irritation begin to flare in my very soul.

Me: Because your department handles his card type.

SA: huffs. Is it really so hard to go over transactions with him anyway?

I. See. Red.

I am ten minutes past close at this point. I am doing her a courtesy by connecting with the customer instead of just sending him over irritated, so she doesn’t have an annoyed CM on her hands. I could have been on my way home by now and well within the perimeters of my job requirements in doing so, and this agent is giving me lip about me not wanting to do my job?

Oh. Hell. No. I can take this needless, ignorant belittlement from customers – that’s no skin off my back. But other employees? Buckle up.

Me: I have been told our company could face lawsuits were I to handle anything other than payments for this card type untrained. I’m not about to risk my job because you don’t want to do yours, SA.

SA: seemingly stunned into silence.

Me: relishes this for ten seconds before saying I’m bringing the customer on now.

I introduce them, trying not to sound annoyed for the customer’s sake since he really wasn’t all that bad in comparison to that lady, and then I hang up.

TC: heard the whole thing, frowning. Was she actually trying to get you to handle the call?

Me: Yep. I don’t think she’ll try it again, though.

TC: She definitely won’t. I’m going to email her TL right now.

And email he did. I love my Team Coach.

I don’t know what happened to her after that, since my TC can’t disclose those sort of things, but company policy for reported call avoidance and/or noncompliance with company guidelines is being put on “corrective action” – which basically translates to being monitored and coached incessantly and mercilessly for at least a month, and having twice as many calls graded as your peers. Hope she had fun with that.

TLDR: I have to transfer a CM to Specialty Dept per company policy. Next agent tells me I should have handled the call even though I’m not trained to and she’s the department that’s specially trained to handle. My Team Coach heard the whole thing and reported it to her Team Leader, which likely got her put on corrective action for call avoidance and noncompliance with company policy.

Moral of the story: Don’t tell me how to do my job.

Have you guys had any bad encounters with other departments or coworkers? I’m genuinely curious.

submitted by /u/shelbydeebee
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