Hello my fellow call centre veterans, how are you enjoying your service in this particular warzone?
I used to work in a call centre for a supplier that sold construction materials, typically our customer base was construction companies, cabinet makers, kitchen joinerys etc
however sometimes we would get the dredded….general public phonecall
what follows is one such interaction i had, for clarity i will be referring to the bitchy customer as “BC”
So BC calls up and wants to buy laminate for her kitchen benchtop, now bare in mind, we in the call centre are not experts on the product, we just manage customer accounts and sell the product, ALL of our customer base know the product and know what they want (or at least know enough that we can help them find what they want)
So BC says she wants to buy laminate, i ask what colour and size she would like, she responds with the classic general public answer of “i dont know”, at this point i ask if she has an account with us (we only deliver to account holders in industrial addresses), she replies no, i then tell her she would need to pickup the product from the warehouse herself if she would like to purchase it from us
this is where the downfall begins
BC: what do you mean you dont deliver?
Me: Sorry but we only deliver to account holders
BC: well thats ridiculous, i need this for my kitchen
Me: Some customer organize transport companies to pickup from our warehouses and deliver direct to location, that could be an option
BC: oh no im not doing that, thats too much hassle, why cant you just deliver to me???
So there goes a 15 minute argument about delivery, until finally she relents and says her husband can make the drive to the warehouse and pick it up once they order but is sure to let me know that our delivery policy is in her words “horse shit” and that my customer service is “lacking”, bare in mind we deliver to construction companies, we use big trucks, we cant deliver to resedential addresses, we are a SUPPLIER.
Now comes step 2 of the downfall
BC: fine whatever, can i just order some laminate now, or do you not sell to the public either!?!?!?!
Me: Sure we can sell to the public, what colour were you after?
BC: i dont know, something creamy
now bare in mind we sell product with specific colour names and in all manner of colours and shades, we in customer service are not colour experts nor are we colour trained, we literally have hundreds of colours, some i never even saw in my few years working there.
Me: Ill need a specific colour name in order to be able find what your looking for
BC: Cant you suggest a colour?
Me: Unfortunately i cant, since i dont know if what id pick would be something you would like, you can look at our colour brochure on our website, i can help you find it, you can also visit one of our showrooms, i have the contact details here for your closest one
BC: YOU are supposed to be the experts, YOU tell me what colour is creamy
Me: *after listing off some of the creamy colours we have* bare in mind these are just in my opinion creamy
BC: Just tell me which is one is the creamiest! IS THAT SO HARD, ITS YOUR PRODUCT, YOUR THE EXPERTS!
So that arguement went on for another 15 minutes and after she finally relents, looks at the colour brochure and picks one, she insults me talking about how i know “nothing” and that she is putting “far too much work into this”, next comes the final downfall, at this point in the call its been like half an hour and she has insulted me greatly but ive been nothing but nice. She finally picks a colour.
Me: great we do have that colour in stock, what size would you like? *i list off the sizes we sell*
BC: i dont know what size i need
Me: the price and product will vary depending on the size, which one of the sizes i listed before do you think you might need?
BC: i dont know, YOUR the experts, you tell me *she begins listing off her benchtop measurement*
Me: im sorry but i cant tell you how much you need, we arent installers we are just a supplier, you would need to consult a kitchen joiner.
BC: WHAT! YOUR TELLING ME AFTER BUYING THIS PRODUCT YOU WONT EVEN INSTALL FOR IT ME!
she begins going on a rant about how ive wasted her time and how im a “little shit” who “shouldnt work there” and doesnt know how “these people even get jobs”.
so after taking abuse for a solid 5 minutes, she continues
Me: Unfortunately i cant tell you, there are too many variables that go into deciding how many sheets you’d need to buy, it will depend on how your kitchen joiner installs it, what tools he uses, the shape of your benchtop *i continue listing the million reasons why i cant give her a number*
BC: SO YOURE TELLING ME THAT YOU CANT EVEN TELL ME HOW MANY SHEETS I NEED! JUST TELL ME WHAT I NEED! I GAVE YOU THE MEASUREMENTS! WHAT DO YOU EVEN DO WHEN A JOINER CALLS YOU UP AND ASKS FOR LAMINATE!
Me: Ma’m, joiners know exactly how many sheets they need *before* calling us as they are the professionals on installations.
BC: i want to speak to your manager
Me: Unfortunately Ma’m we are working from home right now and my manager is unreachable
BC: fuck you, you little shit, you wasted 45 MINUTES OF MY TIME, WHAT HAPPENED TO CUSTOMER SERVICE THESE DAYS! IM GOING TO YOUR COMPETITOR
Me: all good, have a nice day Ma’m!
After the call my team leader calls me up and asks why i missed my half hour lunch break and i explain the situation to her, she calls me back 2 hours later laughing her ass off because she went and listened to the call and congratulated me on not showing even a shred of annoyance or anger. She ofcourse sent the call to my training manager and he loved it, so he chooses to immortalize my pain forever in the form of a training template!
On the bright side they now use the recording of that call when they train the newbies at that company as an example on how to “stay calm” and how to “interact with angry customers”, i became a celebrity among new people.
not the most hilarious story but felt good to type all that down
TLDR – customer called up, didnt know what she wanted, didnt know what we actually did at my company, harrased me for not being able to install laminate in her house, asked for my manager and then hung up after 45 minutes, that call is now part of the companies training template! my pain will live on forever!