nothing but good stuff. really.
A stray customer service call wound its way to my parched extension that hasn’t seen this much action since 2009 (or that’s what I thought right then) and a terribly whiny yet incredibly irritated woman was at the other end, hollow with indignation, going on and on about how our customer service people never pick up the phone, and how clearly this is a deliberate tactic; that after purposefully spending the entire previous day repeatedly dialing our number she’s convinced that no one ever picks up the phone, that in fact we do not have customer service representatives in our employ, and the customer service extension is merely a hoax perpetrated not least by our cruel and self-satisfied malevolence towards our customers. You could practically hear our imagined cinematic evil laugh ricocheting in her tortured brain.
[there’s a fair amount of detail that followed, but it really is of limited interest to anyone but the performing characters — the salient point for her seemed to be that she was using her computer to make phone calls and that getting callbacks was for that reason at least very complex]
Turns out that she just went through each extension number in progression (not sure how many she tried) and all she got were voicemails. I quoted the time zone difference (mostly true – it was pre 9am in ours) but I could have equally well said, everyone’s too busy working. Or that our company culture is that we don’t pick up the phone for strangers? There were so many options running through my mind. I did assure her that our CS people live and breathe for answering the phone during regular business hours and that the only reason she hasn’t gotten through was because, well, they were busy doing their job. There’s only 1.65 of them, anyway. That’s not a lot for a booming business. They do call people back promptly, I assured her, but that did not jive with her particular situation which was that she did not want to be called back.
[No saint either, I did nearly lose my cool towards the end; what percentage?? I almost-yelled, with a distinct sharper, louder edge behind my speaking voice, even while I knew perfectly well what she was talking about. I was about ready to cross into “mean”.]
And what I understood at the end of it all was that all that mattered was for someone to say, “I’m sorry”. A significantly large segment of the population wakes up on a Monday (or Tuesday, or any other) morning just about ready to kill somebody, they’re so angry. And that’s when the really nasty customer service calls come in. They have nothing to do with the product and everything to do with existential angst.
So the trick is to just skip all the preliminaries, the details, the arguing and the blame-slinging and get right to “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m really, really sorry. Really, I’m so sorry”, with each “sorry” signifying another insult that life casually, randomly hurtled at them over their lifetime or even just yesterday afternoon. I’m sorry that it’s so early and you really want to stay in bed. I’m sorry it’s cold out and you have to go wait for a bus that’s eternally late. I’m so sorry you never got the life you really wanted. I’m terribly sorry that your spouse cheated on you. And then you lost your job. And your dog died. Really I am. I’m so, so so sorry.
A Blog About Growing, In Spite of Yourself
The New Workplace Institute Blog, hosted by David Yamada
PROMOTING FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE
הבלוג של ארכיון "גנזים" של אגודת הסופרים העבריים, בעריכת יצחק בר יוסף
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