First a little bit of background info. I work in a call centre in the UK that amongst other things deals with calls for probably the biggest transport company in the country.
For those unaware in the UK if trains are delayed for a certain length of time due to anything the rail company has control over, the customer can claim back their fare. Key phrase here, anything the company has control over.
Now due to the amount of calls we take there’s a very reasonable refund policy where we can pretty much take the customers word about what happened, what journey they took etc so we don’t have to spend time arguing the facts with the customer or getting authorisation to do the refund.
The only thing we have to double check is when a customer says their journey was delayed since its the full fare that is refunded. 90% of the time though if it’s the first time the customer has called for this type of refund we will give them the refund but explain to them the specific criteria and let them know from now on they have to meet that criteria to get the refund.
So last night I get a call from an already irate customer shouting about how she was an hour late for work and won’t get paid for that hour due to being stuck on a train for over an hour that morning because we can’t keep the trains running.
In my head I’m already thinking I’ll just let the customer rant to get it off her chest then explain I’ll have a look into it her account, if she hasn’t claimed before I’ll happily give her the refund and add an extra 20 on top to cover her lost hours wage.
Nice and simple, surely she leaves the call happy and I get on with the next caller.
So I take her card number to get her details up, start to explain the foolproof plan I have in my head when she demands I “shut the fuck up and listen” to what she has to say.
Ok, I’m fine with that but while I’m shutting the fuck up I have a look for the details of the journey and sure enough it was delayed for almost 2 hours.
I let her know I could see it was delayed and the train was actually stopped mid journey for that entire time. I then apologised for the fact they were stuck on the trian without being told anything and that I would have look to find out why.
Then came probably the most disgusting comment I’ve had in the job.
“Oh I know why the train was stopped, someone jumped in front of a train and the body was on the track, how the hell does it take 2 hours to move a body?”
At this point I was stunned into almost silence genuinely hoping they had just made it up to be a dick, which never as sick as that does happen regularly.
Let her know I was away to have a look on the system anyway just to be sure. Again she made it clear she knew why and how disgusted she was that we would not only let this happen but take 2 hours to “clean it up”
So while she is on another rant I check my system and sure enough she was right someone had went in front of a train.
Now there is no way I’m refunding anything in this situation but before I let her know that I thought I could try and get her to think logically, put some perspective in to things and have a bit of empathy for the person and their family. I couldn’t have been more wrong, got told it wasn’t her problem and why should she lose 1 hours wage because of this.
At this point I lost my cool. I’m not even sure what I said to her but before I terminated the call i know I let her know she was the most disgusting person I had ever dealt with.
I’ve never had to leave my desk because of a bad call but this one broke me.