Sunday, May 28, 2006

I am robot model 12345. How may I help you?

Working in a call center sets you up for interesting experiences. As a Liberty Mutual agent I was yelled at for calling when in fact they called me. At Leslie's Pool Supply I advised people on replacement parts for their pool equipment and offered treatment advice even though I have no real clue about pool maintenance besides what Leslie's pamphlets said. At HSBC I was yelled at, compared to bat guano and told what I should try doing with myself when I got a moment. At Vesta I have a different issue. As most of you know the world has become one automated phone option after another and unless you mess up you never talk to a person. I am the person that the computer sends you to when you do mess up. Being a person is the crux of my problem. When I say my intro and ask for the last four numbers of their wireless numbers a few people punch the number into the phone. Nothing beats a number being dialed on the phone while you are on it. I give people a break though because they probably were asked several times for the same info and maybe they just aren't paying attention. So I say "I'm sorry I did not get that number could you please say the last four numbers?" At this point you have a 50% chance that people will say the numbers and a 50% chance they will punch the numbers in again. My immediate response is to yell at them to knock it off and point out that I asked them to say the number but I refrain. Instead I don't yell I just calmly point out that I am thankful they are attempting to give the number but I need it verbally since I am not a machine. You are probably only half believing me but I swear it is true. I will give an acted out example.

The phone: Beep (my cue to talk)
Me: Thank you for calling __________! My Name is Mike my rep ID is __________. May I please have the last four digits of your wireless phone number?

Customer: Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

Me: I'm sorry I did not catch that could you please SAY the last four digits of your wireless number?


Me: Thank you! Unfortunately I am not a machine and I am unable to understand the buttons you press. Can you please verbally tell me the last four digits of your wireless number?

Customer: (huge sigh) I just did!

Me: Actually....

Customer: Fine it's fififfoto!

Me: I'm sorry could you repeat that slower?

Customer: (larger sigh) FI! FI! FO! TO!

Me: Thank you sir, that was 5542?

Customer: YES!

Me: Thank you and may I have your.....

One time I actually had a person hit the buttons into the phone a third time. I hung up on that person. I figure they were messing with me or natural selection had failed....

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