My second ever dealer call

heya TFCC, here’s my second story. This happened close to a year ago.

So $PreviousEmployer had a certain US mobile phone client whose name starts with a T. Call volume was starting to dry up due to the client implementing a new strategy which focused more on having regional call centers rather than global ones (I’m in Canada and before the contract ended, my call center was considered a “legacy” or “global” call center). As a result, all inbound reps under my employer got put into both dealer support as well as customer support. Previously I had been customer support only, though I was aware there was a separate bunch of reps that dealt with dealers on the other side of the floor. Oh, and this happened on the same day we received training for dealer calls; during the training we were told this would not happen for the next 3 or 4 days but then we got back on the phones and quickly found out this was not the case.

The very first dealer call I got, I assumed it was some sort of mistake, and transferred to dealer support (which I WAS but didn’t know at the time). I probably would have been even more confused if I transferred them to myself (which is actually something that happened on a totally different call, no joke), but fortunately at the time that did not happen.

Anyway, in between a couple of customer calls, I spoke with a support colleague and confirmed that indeed we were getting dealer calls even though I was previously informed that wouldn’t happen today, and that we were expected to follow through with them. Joy.

So, I get a dealer call. The second one I get, and I decide to own it since that’s my job now. Account is in New York. First time verifying into an account with a dealer code instead of a customer’s pin, so I was probably a little laggier than most reps this particular dealer had talked to (if any). There’s a particular jargon you get used to when verifying with dealers, and I don’t remember too clearly if I did it very smoothly, but that’s not the reason I wanted to share this story.

DEALER: (After verifying into the account) Our customer here wants to add a two-in-one line to her account.

ME: Uh, what?

DEALER: A two-in-one line, and she’s in a hurry.

Mind you, we offer no products that are referred to as two-in-one lines. We’ve got voice lines, we’ve got mobile lines for tablets, we’ve got IoT lines, we’ve got VOIP/eSIM lines, what this dealer is referring to is nothing I’ve ever heard of before. I look it up in our knowledgebase, nothing is referred to as a two-in-one line. So I go into “customer-doesn’t-know-what-they’re-talking-about mode” with this dealer.

ME: Okay, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Is the customer purchasing a phone?

DEALER: She already has the phone, she just wants a two-in-one line.

ME: Okay, are you talking about just one line or two lines?

DEALER: I mean a two-in-one line! God, do you know what you’re doing???

Not going to detail every word said, mostly because it’s been some time, but $DEALER is almost getting hostile. After this whole event, I figured that he was probably putting on a show for the customer who was likely standing in front of him, and maybe he was (like me) kind of new and actually didn’t know what he was talking about.

Several minutes of back-and-forth later, I piece together that the dealer is asking me to add a new voice line and a new VOIP line to the customer’s account. At no point does the dealer volunteer this information, I had to pull it out of him and figure out the rest. Keep in mind that the client places a lot of emphasis on call handle time, probably our second most important KPI after customer surveys which obviously doesn’t apply to dealer calls. So now, I have to actually add the lines, which is something that customers don’t normally ask for (They either get activated at the store or receive a sim card that already partially activated) so I’m not used to doing that. Especially since most customers I spoke to previously basically never used their VOIP lines and usually complained that it was an extra $15 monthly charge that had been added to their account without their knowledge (so the dealer got some sort of commission on them if they weren’t removed within three months).

For this client, we use two different programs to access accounts, one of them is relatively recent, the other was created in the Windows 98 era although it looks older. Of course, the older one is the one that has more functionality. And of course, the older one is the one I need to use to create a VOIP line. And-and of course, this is the system I was less than familiar with (but later on I did learn to love it because it allowed me to do things I wasn’t supposed to do but made my customers and dealers happy when I judged it appropriate). So, I trudge along creating a new voice line, attempting several times to obtain a valid SIM card number from the dealer, and then create a voip line which didn’t require a sim card. Often while I work away figuring out the correct steps, the dealer is breathing heavily into the phone as if trying to do an imitation of the T-Rex from the first Jurassic Park.

Several times, this happens:

DEALER: Are you done yet? MY customer needs to get going.

ME: Yeah, I’m almost done.

DEALER: Well hurry up, it’s been X minutes and my customer just wanted to make this quick.

The type of account program I’m using is the kind that involves a different pop up window for each step, and if you do something wrong or click the wrong button you have to press cancel and start from the beginning again. I’m pretty sure this happened a couple of times, but much like how I deal with customers I try not to let this dealer know that I’m having any difficulty. I don’t know how effective I was at that, I didn’t know whether it was the right strategy, but that’s what we’re trained to do so I follow our policy. I have the feeling this particular dealer would just berate me for it either way.

Eventually I get everything done, the dealer refreshes the account on his end to confirm I didn’t fuck it up, and promptly hangs up without so much as a thank you. It took some time and many more calls from dealers, but I was much later relieved to learn that my second ever dealer call was actually my worst one ever. In fact, after some time, I learned to actually love dealer calls much more than customer calls since the majority of dealers actually know what they’re talking about, unlike this one bad apple. Later on I learned to assert myself in a professional manner on dealer calls when the dealer was being an idiot, even to the point where if a dealer was doing something really fishy I’d ask him or her to put their manager on and then notate the account if the dealer decided to hang up.

Also, fun fact, the account type being called for actually had it’s own queue for activating lines, so I could have just transferred the dealer to them rather than do it myself. Didn’t learn that until afterwards as well.

submitted by /u/wydamn
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