Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Sunday, February 26, 2006
  Bad Cog!

You ever catch yourself acting the exact opposite of everything you believe in? I'm sure it happens to every one of us now and then. It happened to me several days ago. Here's what happened.

Without going into much detail, my company uses other companies as vendors to help with data entry, certain kinds of trades, etc. So that means that there are times when I have to call another company's call center and be a customer. Most of the time it goes pretty well because we all try to be kind to each other since we are in the same business.

Well, on this particular day I was calling a vendor to finish a transaction up for one of my accounts. My screen had been filled out correctly, name of contact, transaction number, correct vendor number, all of my ducks were in a row. But when I called to close it out, they couldn't find the transaction.

"Anonymous Outsourcing, This is Sherry, how can I help you?"
"Hi, This is AC over at Anonymous Investments. I need to close out a trade I set up yesterday."
"Very good, what's your transaction number?"
"Hmmmm... I can't get that to come up. Do you want to hold and I will look it up by your customer number?"
"Yeah, that's fine.."
Suddenly, happy bluegrass music fills my ear on hold. It's an odd choice for hold music, but I don't mind it. Being on hold is when I get to eat, gossip with coworkers, and check my mail or pretend my Godzilla action figure is destroying my aluminum pencil holder, like some miniature high tech part of Tokyo. I normally put the Godzilla away when I'm not at my desk-wouldn't want people to think I was weird or anything.
The hold music stops.
"AC, Thanks for holding. I don't show any record of us doing a trade for you guys yesterday."
"Ah, C'mon Sherry! I remember talking to Susie about it-It was at 3:15 pm CST."
"I'm sorry AC, but Susie's not here and I can't find it."
"You need to look again! This was worth at least ten thousand dollars! I'm going to be in hot water if you guys can't find it! LOOK FOR IT AGAIN!"
"Give me your number I'll call you back."
I gave her my number and hung up. I could hear it in her voice that I had went too far. But all my ducks were in a row-it couldn't be my fault!

I thought about it some more and went through my notebook from yesterday. There it was. I had transposed one of the numbers when I transferred numbers from my notebook to the computer. I put the right number in, called the vendor, and sure enough-Susie answered the phone and we closed it out.

I felt horrible. I remembered several weeks ago when a rude customer apologized to me. So here I am, acting as bad as he did. I remembered how happy I was when he apologized and knew I had to do the same.

"Anonymous Outsourcing, This is Sherry, How can I help you?"
"Hi, This is AC from Anonymous Investments..."
She cut me off before I could say more.
"I'm still looking AC, I still can't find it, I promise to call you back as soon as I do."
"Hold on. You can stop looking. It was my fault. I had the wrong vendor number. I'm sorry for being a jerk."
"It's ok. Thanks for calling back."
"I'll try to call you guys next time since its obvious you know how to deal with lunatic customers."
She laughed a little, we said good-bye and hung up.
Thanks for reading,


Anonymous Cog

I'm glad everything worked out okay. Back in the day, I was a CSR for a few companies. I feel your pain. And thanks for the link, by the way!
Thanks for stopping by.

i too worked in a call center, and i admire your humility in accepting that you made a mistake. i wish my clients were like you, ive had my good share of irate callers.
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

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"One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better." -Blaise Pascal

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