Calling customer service is always a joy, isn’t it? There’s something heartwarming about going through a multi-step automated preliminary screening process before being allowed to speak to a human being who asks you for all the same information, but can’t help you and has to transfer you to someone else. It’s warm, fuzzy corporate moments like this that make me feel, as Pink Floyd so aptly put it, “comfortably numb.”
“This call may be recorded for training purposes.” We’ve all heard that, right? Since no explicit details are ever given as to exactly what kind of training is taking place, I can only imagine the worst. This is a multi-billion dollar company I’m calling, after all. Making their customer service reps better at their jobs has nothing to do with anything. They’re not the ones being trained. We are! Read that statement again and tell me I’m wrong. “This call may be recorded for training purposes.” It’s not all bad, though. We get a discount on our personalized shock collars.
But, see, the way to handle this is not to get upset, insulted, or infuriated. Go with it. Roll with the punch. Mess with them. Have fun! So yes, I’d be happy to help you with your training, even though I’m not getting paid to do a job you guys should’ve hired someone to do, and you didn’t ask me if I wanted to do this. I’ll be a good sport.
“Thank you for calling Dysenteria Restaurants. This is James. How may I help you today?”
“I’d like to speak to your Supervisor.”
“Uh, I’m pretty sure I can help you, sir.”
“Honestly, you’ll have fewer nightmares if you just transfer me to your Supervisor right now.”
“We here at Dysenteria International are trained to handle a wide range of customer service issues.”
“Okay. Great. I just ate at one of your 4000 restaurants and the food was worse than any meal I ever had in prison. So–”
“Oh! Wow! My Supervisor just walked in. I’m connecting you right now, sir. Thank you for eating at Dysenteria Restaurants.”
A new voice comes on the phone.
“My name is Miriam. I’m the Supervisor here at Dysenteria Restaurants. With whom am I speaking?”
“And your name, sir?”
“Who wants to know?”
“Sir, if I’m going to help you with your issue, I’d like to know with whom I’m talking.”
“Okay. My name is Zelkinartosa, Emblot.”
“Thank you, Mr. Emblot.”
“Emblot’s my first name. Zelkinartosa’s my last. There was a comma in there.”
“Oh. Well, how do you spell your name?”
“Just the way it sounds.”
“Unfortunately, spelling never was my strong point [laughs]. So can you spell that for me, please?”
“I doubt it. Even after all these years I still get it wrong.”
“Uh…perhaps we can use your mother’s maiden name. Maybe we can start there and cross-reference. What is it?”
“Mom ain’t livin’ no more. That’s why I was in prison.”
“Uh…so what was her maiden name?”
“I got no clue. I didn’t know her when she was single.”
“I don’t think you’re being serious here, Mr. Zel…Zelkin…”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. I apologize.”
“That’s not necessary, but thank you.”
“Hey, you wanna go out?”
And now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to make some more calls.
Til next Tuesday…