… especially if she thinks that the director of our center, a call center that takes thousands of calls a day, will take some of their time to speak with her.
I work for a car rental company as a specialist. Basically when a customer demands a supervisor I take the call. While I’m not officially a supervisor, I do get better tools to assist the customer.
So this specific customer had to pick up his car rental (a full size SUV) at the airport. He made his reservation in late December, but for whatever reason the reservation got cancelled five days ago. When he arrived at the location, “Susan”, who works at the airport (or so she claims) informed him that his reservation was cancelled. No biggie, they had the car available at the location, they only needed to make a new reservation, simple right? Well… no, not at all. You see, the reservation was made back in late December, it’s been two weeks already, we don’t have that same rate anymore. When the agent struggled to make that reservation, Susan requested a supervisor… oh joy…
H: HenriquesDumbCousin S: Susan
H: Thank you for calling Car Rental Company, my name is HenriquesDumbCousin, with whom do I have the pleasure to speak with today?
S: Hey HenriquesDumbCousin, my name is Susan, I work at the airport and we’re having some issues with this reservation, can you assist me?
H: Yes, of course, I’ll help you with that.
She gave me the reservation number and described me the situation. Despite my best efforts, there was simply no way I could honor the original rate, at this point the best price I could get was like $1,200 USD.
S: But can’t you like simply activate it again?
H: I’m sorry, the reservation has been cancelled, I can create a new one, but that’s the best rate I can offer you.
I noticed that the customer had used a Corporate discount for this reservation. We have a higher department that handles Corporate reservations, and they have better tools than me. Since I was unable to assist the customer, I advised her of this department, and while I couldn’t guarantee anything, I told her that it was worth the shot. She accepted and I transferred her. End of the story, a happy ending for once, right?
15 minutes later I receive a warm transfer for another agent. Gave me the confirmation number, described me the situation and… yes, you’ve guessed it, it was Susan again. At this point she sounded a little more desperate.
H: Yes, we spoke a moment ago, I connected you to that department, they were unable to help you?
S: No, they couldn’t help me HenriquesDumbCousin. I’ve been here with the customer for 45 minutes already, you need to help me!
H: I apologize Susan, if the customer wants the full size SUV the best rate I can get him is $1,200 USD. I can’t go any lower.
S: But that’s double, he refuses to pay that amount. He should only pay $600 USD.
H: I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do about it.
S: It’s okay HenriquesDumbCousin, but I need to speak with your manager.
If you’ve read my stories in the past, you may remember that I normally answer “he doesn’t take any calls”. That’s… not entirely true. Technically when I’m unable to assist the customer and they request my supervisor, I have to further escalate the call to a Customer Service supervisor.
Wouldn’t be so much of an issue if it didn’t take so long to actually transfer the damn customer to them. You see, in the reservations department when a customer requests a supervisor it can be a warm or cold transfer, it doesn’t matter at all, it’s up to the agent if they want to give us a heads up or not. With Customer Service is a completely different process, first you need to create a Case number, document everything, and then warm transfer the customer to the supervisor. It can take, no exaggeration, 10 – 20 minutes for them to pick up the phone. I wouldn’t really mind that if it wasn’t for the Handle Time, you know, something essential for call center employees.
I, mistakenly, felt sorry for good old Susan, so I chose to break my vows of eternally denying my “supervisor” to the customer, and decided to help her.
S: Don’t make me wait too long, I’ve waited too long already.
We have to wait 3 minutes in hold, if the supervisor doesn’t pick up the phone we need to refresh the customer and return to the supervisor line. We wait another 3 minutes and if the supervisor doesn’t pick up the phone we need to convince the customer that the supervisor isn’t available. I waited 6 minutes, no response, so I returned to Susan.
H: I apologize Susan, there’s no one available.
S: Oh goooooosh… then I need to speak with that person’s supervisor.
H: I’m sorry Susan, that’s not possible. I’d suggest that you speak with a customer service agent, they may be able to help you.
S: No, they won’t be able to help me, I need to speak with your manager to fix this.
H: They’re not available Susan, there’s nothing we can do. You haven’t spoken to customer service, they may be able to honor the rate.
S: I don’t want to speak with customer service, they won’t help me!
H: I’m sorry, there’s nothing else I can do.
S: You’re located in a reservation center, right?
H: … yes?
S: Okay, good, can you tell the director to take the call? They may be able to help me.
H: That’s not possible Susan.
At this point I was starting to lose my cool and strongly considered releasing the call. Before I could do that, I noticed that a voice in the background started to talk to good old Susan, like giving her tips or something.
S: Okay HenriquesDumbCousin, I guess you cannot help me… well, thanks for taking my call
H: … not a problem.
An actual employee at the airport requesting to speak with my supervisor. Why didn’t she, I don’t know, instead call her damn manager? The more I think about it, the more I suspect she didn’t work at the airport and only pretended to be an employee.
As for the actual outcome, I really don’t know. I searched all day for a rental agreement under that person’s name, but I couldn’t find anything. I found other rental agreements that were printed around that time, so I thought to myself “maybe the customer was with a friend and he/she made the reservation for him”, but the car type and dates didn’t match, so I have no idea if they were able to give the customer his vehicle or not.
In any case, that call left a sour taste in my mouth. Susan, in case you’re reading this, fuck you!
Why couldn’t you just create a new reservation with the same rate?
Because it’s not possible, simple as that. That rate was specifically for that date, if the reservation is modified or cancelled, it is lost forever. Agents and supervisors have no control over that.
I want to speak with your supervisor
He doesn’t take any calls.
But didn’t you say…?
HE DOESN’T TAKE ANY CALLS.