Several years ago I was at a ISP call center and part of my team’s job was taking customer complaints. Well this customer calls in upset that his service isn’t working. That’s fair. He’s got a service call already scheduled and he’s on the priority cancelation list. This is honestly the most anyone can do. These systems exist for a reason.
So he and I do this little dance for a while,
Him: well several days and a maybe on some list isn’t good enough
Me: I hear what you’re saying sir, everything that we can do is done
At this point I offer to double check the troubleshooting steps with him and I re read the notes about his issue. I was very sure an on site tech was needed.
Him: I’m not doing any of that again, you need to send someone today… My mother is in another province on her death bed so how would that feel if it was you?
So at this point I am overcome with a bit of rage, because my own mother died 5 weeks before this. It was my second day back at my job.
Me: My mother died 5 weeks ago
Now at this point several supervisors were within earshot of me and I could see them turn white and stare right at me.
Me: so when I tell you we have done everything, we have done it. I feel for you and your situation, I understand how helpless you feel right now. So believe me, I would do whatever I could to help you sir.
Now I would have expected him to apologize or tell me he is very sorry for my loss or some other basic human empathic response but instead
Him: well then you should be able to help me more.
I told him to have a nice day and that I will note his account that if he calls back in for this that we have done everything and he just needs to wait.
I was asked to go talk to my supervisor and our manager after the call and they asked me what that was about. So I played the call for them and as soon as we got to the recorded part where I had to tell him that yeah I know how it might feel. They stopped the recording and apologized to me.