This happened close to 15 years ago when I worked at a call center for a big and very well known company. For context, just prior to this call my supervisor talked to me about maybe slowing down a bit and take the time to talk to customers to “connect” with them. At this point I had been there for 5 years, I was burnt out and simply didn’t care about connecting to people on any level. I just wanted them off the phone ASAP. But, having been just talked to about this issue, I decided to try to “connect”.
The very first call I get is from a man who wanted to cancel his account. So, I tell him I would help him but decided to “connect” by asking why he was canceling. He goes on to tell me his best friend is taking him on a cruise for a couple of weeks and he wouldn’t be needing his account. I make a comment about how nice it is to have friends who would do such nice things for you and that I wished I had more friends like that….still “connecting”. So he then tells me that the reason he was being taken on that cruise was because he had a terminal brain cancer and his friend was taking him as a last hoorah type of thing. I felt horrible and for the first time in my life I didn’t know what to say.
I still think about him every now and then and hope he had a wonderful cruise.
Needless to say, I quit my job soon after that. I was done connecting with people over the phone.