Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A Customers Guide To Driving Me Insane

You know those things that people do that set your teeth on edge... Well imagine having to put up with those things throughout your working day and you'll begin to have an insight into my own personal hell. Here are just a few things that drive me up the wall.

1) Call openings

Me: "How can I help?"

Customer: "Yes I hope you can help"

This may seem innocuous, it may seem sensible but everytime a customer says that I die a little. I was asking how I could help, not whether I could help! Of course I can help, don't they know who I am??

Me: "How can I help?"

Customer: "Hi"

Me: "Hello, how can I help?"

Customer: "My name is..."

Thus the call proceeds for about two minutes before the customer tells me what I can do for them and I solve the problem in a second. Don't blame me for your phone bills if you don't wish to answer a very simple question.

Me: "How can I help?"

Customer: "Customer reference 4....."


For all the talk of customers complaining about not being treated like human beings most simply go into robot mode when they call a customer service team.

2) My name is not James, it's not Mr Jason, I'll accept "Sir" but that'll be begrudgingly. My name is Jason, and I'll even let you get away with calling me Jay. Is this so very difficult? When, invariably, someone calls me "Mr Jason" during my working day I have to take very deep breathes to maintain my professional calm.

3)Customer: "Can I pay please?"

Me: "Of course you can, what's the number of the card you want to use?"

Customer: "Oh I'll just go get it"

Why did you call to make a payment when your card wasn't there? I can understand if part way through a call you decide to pay but don't have your card with you. But when that's the whole point of your call... why?? It's not this is a once every so often thing. It happens 50% of the time!

4) People who ask a question then interrupt halfway through your answer with a completely different question. And repeat throughout the call. Why????

5) People who talk to their neighbours and get the completely wrong end of the stick.

Customer "My neighbour only pays a pound a month!"

Me "Trust me, I can't look at their account with you but I can guarantee they pay more than that"

Customer "Are you calling me a liar?"

Me: "No, I just think someone's got the wrong end of the stick..."

And thus it continues until they go and get their neighbour and we prove conclusively that what they said was that they pay "about a pound a day" or some such thing. AH!

And thus the horrors continue day in, day out...

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


  1. I shall call you Mr. James Jason from now on then just to annoy you even more ;)

  2. Anonymous9:48 pm

    " and I'll even let you get away with calling me Jay" YAY!!!! you've changed the spelling to a more asthetic format..thanks Jay!!

  3. Excellent excellent feedback Jason. I follow your blog for other reasons but this article was a nice funny and professional one, write more about it ;)

  4. Paul Brownsey4:09 pm

    * ' Me: "How can I help?"

    Customer: "Yes I hope you can help" '

    Customer may have missed the first word, adjusting to your voice.

    * ' Me: "How can I help?"

    Customer: "Hi"

    Me: "Hello, how can I help?"

    Customer: "My name is..." '

    This mannerly person probably feels it's rude to plunge straight into an account of the problem and that some greeting-word ("Hi") is called for; and they may well think that giving their name is a sensible way of introducing the problem: "My name is Christine Wilkes and I recently signed up for a Supasave Contract..."

    * 'Me: "How can I help?"

    Customer: "Customer reference 4....." '

    See, when they don't give a greeting-word or their name they get called rude.

    * 'My name is not James, it's not Mr Jason,'

    Sorry, I misheard your forename, and as for the 'Mr Jason', I was trying to make the point, albeit a bit sharply, that I don't like this false chumminess whereby strangers at some business call me by my forename. I want my bank, dentist's receptionist, etc, to address me by my surname, prefaced by "Mr". And it is only polite in them to use this unless and until I intimate otherwise.

  5. How can I help? is not actually more opening gambit. I say hi and tell them who I am first! The how can I help comes next.

    Customer's can still say hello before they get down to business! It's just a bit odd when they don't say anything more. If you picked up your home phone and said "Hello" and the person at the other end said "Hi" and nothing else wouldn't that make for an awkward start to a call? Even "Hi, my name is..." would be nice...

    And I never, ever call a customer by their first name unless they ask me to or when I ask their name they give only their first name. I give my first name as that's what I'm comfortable with. Nobody has ever called me Mr Jason to prove a point.

  6. My first question would be, "Can you please hold?" Eventually they will call back and get somebody else.