Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Customer service

Weird day. I got a call today and she opened the conversation with: I don't know if I am calling the right place........
more silence
even more silence
Ok, well, tell me what the question is and I'll try and get you to the right place.

She started in complaining about a truck that parks in a lot and late at night it's running making a lot of noise. Every night. And last night not only was it making a lot of noise but it's also "emitting noxious fumes" and it looked like it might be cleaning the parking lot. Who cleans a parking lot she asks me.

I work in communications. Not in customer service, not in facilities, not in safety. While I am not in any of those depts, I can't just tell her I don't know and hang up or just transfer her because I'm not sure where to send this call. So I offer to have someone in Safety (or other dept if that is the wrong one) call her. But to do that I need her name and number.

Silence. More silence. Ahhhh, no, she tells me. Ummmm, why not, don't you want to talk to someone about this? Yes, but I don't want to become a target.

A target? Without going into detail about where I work, really our Safety dept is there to make sure we aren't using bad chemicals that mess up the environment. For gawks sake WE HAVE A SAFETY dept for sustainability! We do not manufacture any kind of anything, we are not a plant. We're actually non-profit.

It took some doing on my part to let her know she would not be a target. That's when I thought maybe she was wearing a tin foil hat. She agrees to give me her first name and her phone number. Fine with me. Sheesh.

I called Safety and the head haz mat guy laughed as I told him about the weird call. The call was weird, she was weird and we really do take these things seriously but as the guy said, "...since this lot is open to the public it might be someone parking their big rig in our lot or maybe someone is using drugs out there." He offered to call the right dept and take charge of the call. Whew. Good.

That's not all. I went to lunch. I'm minding my own business sitting at a table eating and reading a magazine. La la la.

Now, I don't work on the main property. I work across the street where we have about 100 employees located in a shopping mall but our offices are on the 2nd floor.

I hear a man say: Excuse me but could you help me? There are lots of homeless and/or someone deranged people walking around there, mostly harmless but you never know.

He's got a slight build, is middle-eastern with a heavy accent. He is not threatening so I ask him what he needs.

he needs someone to help him understand his cable bill. So I tell him what looks like is past due and what he needs to pay. No, that's not it. His bill is wrong because he should only pay 27.99 not 62.99 per month. Ohhhh, a contract dispute. I tell him he has to call the cable company. He asks if I will do it and help him. In a quick minute I think I'll just tell them what he wants and then hand the phone to him.

Noooooo, that's not how it went. I handled the whole thing for him. He maintained the sales guy said he's get one year at 27.99. CSR said promotions only last 6 months sometimes a year. Ok, so who's to say the sales rep didn't say one year? Well, if he looks at his last bill (the one I don't have in my hand) it would tell him that after 6 months he reverts to regular price (62.00 per month). IF he'd called the first month or so he might have been able to dispute it but not once it was past the 6 month mark. I asked him who looks at the bill to see if a sales man has lied to you? How was this guy (who is obviously foreign) to know he was to double check on what the saleman said? The CSR said this wasn't really a contract because it was a promotion. ehhh?

So I used that against him. If it's not a contract then there is no reason why the 6 month terms apply to him. Right? ahhhhhhhh, welll.....silence.

He offers up a new promotion (cuz the old one expired he said) and the new rate would be 37.99 per month. Only 10 per month more. I advised my new friend to take it and he did.

That took up 30 mins of my hour lunch. I got lots of thanks from the guy which was good payment even tho I used my customer service manager hat (which I took off years ago when I left that high paying job) it was a good boost that I can use my skills and get what I needed (even tho I wasn't really the customer) without being a jerk.

So many people think that being a jerk, being pissy will get you what you want. It usually doesn't. But being smart and polite will.

So it was a weird day wearing a customer service hat again...even if I wasn't paid for it.


Donita Curioso said...

Wow, isn't it something that the guy with the cable bill just happened to pick you to ask for help? It was his lucky day.

VO said...

I don't particuarly have a friendly looking face so I have no idea at all why he'd even think to ask me. Not to mention I was buried in a magazine and my food.

It was just weird.