What do you even say to a customer who drops a bombshell on you?

This happened last week; it’s short, but it shook me so much I don’t even feel like living up to my name.

I work on the front lines for a subscription service that just raised its prices slightly. This has resulted in back to back calls, and judging by customer anger, you’d think we brined their food in urine before sending it.

So I pick up a call, expecting more of the same.

“Hello, welcome to FoodSphere Support, this is TXT speaking, how can I help you?”

“Yes ma’am, I need to cancel my subscription please.”

“I can certainly help you with that, Tired-Cowboy-Voiced Dude. May I have your flimsy security details please?”

“Yes ma’am, I live in 6969 Butfüx Egypt.”

“Perfect, thank you. I can certainly help you cancel your subscription, but may I ask what led to this?”

(I am required to ask.)

“Well, I’m actually not sure how much time I got left. Tryin’ t’put my ducks in a row, if you know what I’m sayin’.”

And that’s when I realized he probably was tired. Because, as he went on to explain, he was dealing with end stage cancer and didn’t know if he’d be around to get his next FoodSphere.

I just quietly told him I’d make this as quick as I could, canceled his subscription, and that was that.

But the call is sticking with me. I know some people say shit like that so you don’t pester them to keep their subscription, and even if it is an asshole thing to do, I hope that’s what it was.

But still. Damn.

Like… how can I react to that better, next time? Pity would make him feel worse, feel disingenuous, and be platitudinous. “Sorry to hear that” would be too flippant.

I don’t know. And it’s bothering me.

Anyone else had calls like that? How’d you deal with it?

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