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Dude, this isn’t scripted, you’re just not listening.

For some context I work for a natural gas supplier company. We offer a few different plans, one of them being a contract during which the customer will pay somewhere between x (low) rate and y (high) rate per unit of gas they use, but never more than the y rate. This is usually a slightly cheaper option than the fixed rate contracts which are at the y rate and never fluctuate for the entire length of that contract, though it seems most people would prefer the security of knowing exactly what rate they’re being charged every month over a very slightly cheaper bill as the former plan is not very popular.

Customer calls in because they received a notice from us that their contract is going to renew next month. They’re already on one of those 2-rate-range plans but they were concerned about the new rates they’ll pay between as they’re pretty high. Okay, completely understandable, but it looks like that’s our lowest offer at this time so there’s nothing we can really do about it. She seemed to understand this but then she asked the Dreaded Question.

‘Am I going to pay the lower market price or the higher price?’

It’s not really a ‘market price’ so that threw me off-guard and I had to ask her to repeat her question. When I realized she was asking me exactly what rate she’d be charged at on the first bill on the next contract, I told her ‘we won’t be sure until the bills actually generate, but it’ll be between the x and y rates.’ Edit: I neglected to mention that not only was this information on the letter she had in her hands, but she actually read it out loud to me near the beginning of the call.

She asked again and I sat there for a moment before giving her the same answer. I can’t magically generate a bill for a contract that hasn’t started yet, and these kinds of contracts are specifically designed so that your rate will be somewhere in a range, not set/fixed. So I really did not have a better answer for her than that.

She laughed and said she’d rephrase it and then asked THE EXACT SAME QUESTION. And so I gave THE EXACT SAME ANSWER. She got a little frustrated and said ‘I know you have a script to read, but can you just answer my question? It’s yes or no.’ I do not have a script, and that is not a yes or no question. But alright. She asked AGAIN and I gave the same answer AGAIN but this time I decided to throw in some example rates from within that range that she would possibly be paying, thinking maybe somehow that would help get the point across to her. It didn’t really help.

At this point the only thing I could think to do is let her know that we also offer a fixed rate plan at the y rate. She calmed down a little bit but was definitely not interested in that and just asked how long she had to make a decision.

I used to like my job because I felt like I was actually helping people out but lately it feels like I never get to do that. I either get very boring payment-taking calls or I get irate people or people who are completely uninterested in listening to me. I’m very ready to leave this field.

What do you think?

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