Customer wants to spend money instead of getting something for free…


So this is an older tale, I luckily no longer work in a call centre, and I feel so relieved to never have to go back.

At the time of this story, I was working for an outsourcing callcentre, on the customer service line for a company producing medical devices, specifically blood sugar monitors for diabetics.

The cast: C – Customer; Me – overworked member of a half-strength CC team trying his best

On to the tale.

The company had recently released a new device onto the market that came with all sorts of fancy connectivity features and app that never worked. We sent them out for free for existing customers to try out.

It was as hectic a day as any, and it was just before my lunch break when the phone once again rang.

Me: “<company> customer support, my name is AQ, how can I help?”

C: “Yeah my meter always shows 888 as a result when I take a reading.” (the older models used 8 segment displays, so this was an immediate indication of a fault)

Me: “Okay, let me quickly take your info and then we’ll have a look at that. Could I get your name please?”

C <goes through security questions etc>

Me: “Right, I can see on our records that you registered a <older model device> with us three years ago, is it still the same device you are using?”

C: “Yes. I never had any issues with it before, this is so weird. I went to my doctor today and he said the reading is definitely wrong.”

Me: “Of course, ma’am, it does seem to me that your device has a faulty display. If you press any of the settings buttons, does the display change?”

C: “Oh yes, I can get into the settings fine, just the reading is off.”

Me: “Okay, then we will have to have a look at the error codes.”

I proceed to instruct the Customer on how to get to those, and she reads them out.

Me: “Okay, the error codes tell me there is an issue with the sensor that takes the actual reading. Not something that you can easily fix yourself unfortunately, so we will have to arrange for a replacement. We can either send you one of the same model, or our new dev-”

C cuts me off: “Okay, thanks for confirming it’s broken. I’ll go to the pharmacy and buy a new one. Have a nice day!” – hangs up.

Me, to the void: “Suit yourself, I was going to offer you a free replacement. If you want to go out and spend 40 Euros on a thing you could get for free, I’m not stopping you.”

My supervisor was sat next to me, when she heard me say that she looked at me with a quizzical expression. When I told her what had happened, she just laughed. “Oh we get those occasionally. More money for the company, less hassle for us. Go take your lunch, I’ll cover the line for you.”

Two months later, our team had shrunken even further, to 3 members out of the required 16, so quite understandably our company lost the contract and we were all transferred to different departments. I ended up working there for another 8 months after that until I had enough of callcentre life and quit.


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