I work at a call center for the National “Call before you dig” hotline. My main job function is to answer calls for people who want to dig. We ask some questions to fill out a work order and at the end, send the work order to the utility companies. Most of the time these calls last at or under 5 minutes. Most calls I’ve had are simple and mundane, but a couple come to mind that weren’t because of certain customers
One day I get a call from a customer that went seemed normal. It was a while so some details may be fuzzy. Names and details will be changed to protect myself, my company, and customers info.
Me = Me
GOM = grumpy old man
S = Supervisor
Me: This is NaturallyArrificial_ , how can I help you?
GOM: I would like to dig and wanna do the call before you dig thing.
Now keep in mind this guy was talking in the tired old man voice you sometimes hear where the person sounds like they are struggling to utter each word. It was a little annoying but hey what can you do, right?
Me: What’s your name?
GOM: Grumpy Old Man
Me: What’s your address?
GOM: 123 Fake Street.
Me: *repeats address* Is this correct?
GOM: Roger that.
Every time I confirmed an answer to a question to an answer I asked, he always replied with “Roger that”. It was so very cringey and I’m wondering why he doesn’t just say yes or no.
Other than that, everything seemed normal and the call was just a routine call I do every day. I keep going through the questions we have to ask as they’re required for a compliant work order, but as I am I notice the inflection in GOMs voice begin to change, with each answer he sounds more and more irritated. I’m not sure why as my tone has remained professional and neutral throughout the entire call and hes answered all of my questions correctly, until finally:
Me: Where will you be digging
GOM: On my property.
Me: And where on the property are you digging?
GOM: ON MY PROPERY!
Me: Sir, can you be a little more specific as to where exactly on the property you will be digging so the utilities can mark the correct spot?
GOM: OH THIS IS IS RIDICULOUS! I ALREADY GAVE MY ADDRESS JUST SEND EM OVER!
Me: I can’t do that without you providing me with the specific area of your dig site sir.
GOM: CANT YOU JUST HAVE THEM CALL ME?
Me: I can but I still need to know where your digging, if you can’t provide any further details I can’t process your request.
GOM: THE WEST SIDE OF THE HOUSE!
Me: *Finally! Was that so effing hard to say!?*
Now I would have preferred more info than that but after getting wheezed at for no apparent reason I just wanted to complete the ticket.
When I went to reverify the information he provided he then goes off. Mind you he wasnt yelling, just that he wanted to yell, but couldn’t because of his age. He starts ranting how he was told this call would be “hassle free” and that he was lied to and that he didnt now how many questions were going to be asked. (It wasn’t a hassle until he made it into one)
At this point I’ve muted myself because I’m laughing my ass off at this guy going on about nothing. The ticket is compliant and all I’ve done was ask questions. Not at any point did GOM make any comment on how frustrating it was to answer these questions.
GOM: Let me speak to your manager!
Me: Okay. I’ll try to contact a supervisor.
I put him on hold and talk to my supervisor. The conversation went something like this:
S: This is S.
Me: Hey S, this NaturallyArtificial_ I have and irate customer that’s demanding to speak with a manager.
S: Alright, what’s the problem?
Me: … I’m… not exactly sure. All I did was go through the script and he started getting angry. Can I send him over to you?
S: … uh sure, send him over to me.
I then get back off hold and here is where it boils over:
Me: Sir, are still there?
GOM: Did you get all that!
Me: …Get what? I’ve had you on hold for 2 minutes.
GOM: Goes on another rant on the ridiculousness of all this, how hes never going to use us again, and how I’m a terrible listener. I literally had no idea what this guy was on about, he asked to speak with a manager, I complied and tried to get him one, and he assumed I was somehow still listening to him WHILE HE WAS ON HOLD. After a little bit more whining and complaining, he hung up. And I was just about to send him over to S as well.
At the end his request was compliant enough that I hit approve and sent it on his way. The guy had already provided an email address (surprising, I know) so he should have his ticket copy sent automatically, so if he complains we never gave him his ticket, he will have no excuse for that.
That’s was some months ago and I still think about that call. It just perplexes how someone can get angry simply for having to answer questions asked of them. Then again, r/talesfromcallcenters exists for a reason, and it’s not because people are sensible creatures that understand when something can’t be done.