Customer Service Transcripts #1
I’ve been working customer service since 1991. At times, it’s been face to face at a bookstore, or as a caterer, or as a host for special events and weddings at a rental facility. Mainly, it’s been phone service. Though, for several years, it’s been all of the above. A grueling seven days a week, 12-15 hours a day dealing with the public.
Which may explain why I’m obsessed with the apocalypse and dream daily of some Earth-cleansing Armageddon but, of course, that’s not healthy. So, in the interest of self-therapy, I started recording everything around 2001. Names, addresses, personal details. Every customer who threatens me, or insults me, or is just dumb beyond reason. And, since then, I’ve built up a closet full of files and gigs worth of emails and recordings.
Now I’ve decided to start posting them. Of course, I can’t name names, or identify my employer, or do anything like that.
We’ll start with my favorite pastime: Transcribing some of the crazy phone calls I get. Edits/notes/explanations are in parenthesis.
(And, yes, this is just filler because I’m trying to focus on writing a novel before December 15th.)
Cust: So I have this thing included with the renewal, it has (blah blah blah starts naming book titles). Do I get these with my membership?
Me: Those are book titles…
Cust: Oh, okay. So I get everything in here?
Cust: They have all these listed…
me: Ma’am, you’re looking at our book catalog. (We have several hundred titles.)
Cust: Oh. Wow. So I get them all with my membership?
Me: No, it’s a catalog. It’s listing all of our books.
Cust: Which are included with the membership?
Me: No, it’s a catalog.
Cust: I don’t understand.
Me: It’s a catalog.
Cust: I CAN HEAR YOU!!! But you’re not making sense. What’s a catalog?
Me: A…uh…it’s a listing of all of our books.
Cust: Provided with the membership?
Me: No, for sale. For an extra fee.
Cust: So why’d you send it?
Me: So you can look over our available titles that we have for sale.
Cust: Jesus, you have to belong to Mensa to figure this stuff out! You people think you’re so big and smart!
Cust: Yes, hello, I renewed my membership 10 minutes ago and I’m calling about my journals.
Me: Okay, how can I help you?
Cust: I have not yet received the journals for this year.
Me: Well, you said that you just renewed, right?
Me: It will take some time to process…
Cust: It’s been 10 minutes!!
Cust: Where the hell is my journal?! The mail just arrived a minute ago and it’s not there!
Leading the Witness
Me: The total amount is $484.
Cust: I get $469.
Me: Ah, yes, there is a 15 dollar late fee.
Cust: Can you remove that? $469 is all I’m paying today.
Me: Yes, I can. No problem. That gets you down to $469, then.
Cust: $469?!?! Why is it so high?! I refuse to pay that!
Fear of a Post-Katrina Convention (from August 06)
Cust: I heard there’s a lot of violence in New Orleans, what are you doing about that?
Me: Well, there’s increased security at the hotel, we’ll have people to escort you… The convention area is safe.
Cust: What about the city itself?
Me: Well… I’d advise that you stick to the main tourist areas and be careful.
Cust: I’m sorry, I’m confused. Are you saying the city is closed?
Me: No, I’m saying that you should be careful if you want to explore the city.
Cust: So you haven’t secured the city?
Cust: What if something happens to me?
Me: Well, ma’am, things can happen to you anywhere.
Cust: Don’t take that tone with me! What are you doing about the violence in New Orleans?
Me: We’re one organization of many holding a convention. We’re not responsible for the city. Our convention area is secure.
Cust: But the city is closed?
Me: Ma’am, no. The city is not closed.
Cust: I want to talk to your supervisor.
Cust: (renews membership, all that stuff)
Me: Okay, thank you. We’ll go ahead and get this processed. Was there anything else?
Me: Have a good day, then!
Cust: Um… Are you hanging up now?
Me: Well, yes.
Cust: So we’re done?
Me: Is there something else I can help you with?
Cust: I guess not. If you’re really hanging up.
Me: Well… Okay.
Cust: So you’re really hanging up?
Me: Okay! Thank you!
(I hung up on her)