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.)

Catalog Conundrum

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?

Me: Sorry…?

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!

Instant Gratification

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?

Cust: Yes.

Me: It will take some time to process…

Cust: It’s been 10 minutes!!

Me: And…

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?

Me: Well…

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.

Abandonment Issues

Cust: (renews membership, all that stuff)

Me: Okay, thank you. We’ll go ahead and get this processed. Was there anything else?

Cust: No.

Me: Have a good day, then!

Cust: Um…

Me: Yes?

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: Um….

Me: Yes?

Cust: So you’re really hanging up?

Me: Yes.

Cust: Okay.

Me: …

Cust: …

Me: Okay! Thank you!

Cust: …um…

(I hung up on her)


   One Comment


  1. gwen
      October 21, 2010

    i read this one last! but it’s making me laugh the most. all these transcripts make me look at my own behavior when i call a customer service line, but really, i don’t think i’m so nuts. moody, maybe, but not so nuts.