Saturday, September 11, 2004

And I speak to Ms. "I like to Argue (Even though I'm not good at it)"

People need to find better uses for their time. In almost four years of dealing with angry, swearing, stupid, and irresponsible people, I've had my share of dealing with people who need a life.

A couple nights ago, I ran across Ms. I-Like-To-Argue Even-Though-I'm-Not-Good-At-It (Ilta Etingai - it sounds German, doesn't it?). I wish we could just ask customers, "Don't you have anything BETTER to do?" Here's the conversation:

B: Thank you for holding Ms. Ilta. My name is Beth, how can I help you?
Ilta: Are you Shirley's supervisor?
B: Shirley's on our team, yes.
Ilta: How's her performance?
B: Fantastic.
Ilta: It wasn't today.
B: I'm sorry to hear that. What was the problem?
Ilta: I hate it when people do that.
B: Do what?
Ilta: Don't assume what I'm saying!

I pause. Does she mean she hates it when people don't assume what she's saying or is she telling me to not assume and if this is the case, did I assume anything?

Ilta: People just jump into the problem and they don't listen to me. You don't need to do that!
B: Okay... What did I assume?
Ilta: Customer service representatives are uneducated.
B: Our bankers have training to help assist you with your account.
Ilta: Don't use the word banker. They are not bankers.
B: Our employees answering the phones are bankers. This is in their job titles.
Ilta: No. The people on the phones don't need a degree and bankers at the branch do. That makes the people on the phone customer service representatives.
B: The bankers at the branch are not required to have a degree. The level of education requirements are the same for both positions.
Ilta: No they're not. Don't use the term for the phone people as bankers. I know what a banker is.
B: One who works for a bank?
No response. A pause.
Ilta: I'm not abusive. I haven't verbally abused anyone.
B: What brought this on?
Ilta: The person I spoke to before Shirley hung-up on me.
B: That's terrible. Was it on purpose?
Ilta: Your representatives just don't know customer service.
(But aren't they 'customer service representatives?')
B: Okay. Again, do you know if the banker disconnected the call on purpose?
Ilta: If they can't handle a call, they should get a supervisor.
B: Okay. What makes you feel the banker could not handle the call?
Ilta: SHE (you know, Satan's #1 minion) hung-up on me.
B: Alright. Again, was this on purpose or maybe an accident?
Ilta: It must have been on purpose.
B: What was the conversation like?
Ilta: What are you, the FBI?
B: I'm just trying to get a picture of the call Ms. Ilta.
Ilta: Sh*t, F*ck, D*mn. These are swear words.
B: Yes, they are.
Ilta: Are you going to hang up on me?
B: As long as the call remains professional and courteous, no.
Ilta: Why did SHE hang up on me?
B: I don't know. Where you using those words with her?
Ilta: Who cares if I was?
B: Well, if you are abusing a banker in an extreme fashion, there may be consequences.
Ilta: Would you like to be put on hold?
B: If a representative of a company that I'm talking to has to complete something, I'm willing to hold. I'm asking them to help me.
Ilta: Would you like it?
B: It's not my favorite thing but I don't get upset when someone needs to place me on hold for a moment.
Ilta: Why did she hang up on me?
B: I'll try to figure that out. What was the conversation like before the call disconnected?
Ilta: I'm not telling you that.
B: Okay. Normally we don't disconnect customers. In extreme situations of verbal abuse, including excessive use of profanity or threats, the call may be terminated after warning.
Ilta: Swearing isn't abuse.
B: If the profanity or insults are directed to an individual, that is verbal abuse.
Ilta: Well, I've told customer service representatives that they're uneducated and they can't do their jobs.
B: That would be insulting. That would be considered to be abusive.
Ilta: No it's not.
(Am I dealing with a two-year old here? Her argument is seriously, "No it's not.")
Ilta: Find out why she hung up on me.
B: Can you hold while I call the center she's at?
Ilta: I guess.

Long story short, I call the other center and guess what? The banker had been talking to Ms. Ilta. Ms. Ilta's phone died. The line went dead. That's right. The banker did not hang up on Ms. Ilta.

B: Ms. Ilta? Thanks for holding. I talked to the other center and they told me they were talking when the line went dead. They wondered if your phone had a problem.
Ilta: Oh, my battery was low. That's no reason for her to hang up on me.

[Internal struggle to restrain myself from reaching through phone and strangling Ms. Ilta.]

Ilta: When did I call?
B: I'm showing you called at 18:02 Central Time. I can convert this from military time, give me one moment.
Ilta: I don't care what you do.
B: Alright then. That would be 6:02 Central Time.
Ilta: I didn't call then.
B: When did you call if this is wrong?
Ilta: Don't YOU know?
B: Yes I do. You called at 6:02 Central Time.
Ilta: What is 6:02 Pacific Time in Central Time?
B: Well, 6:02 Pacific would be 8:02 Central Time.
Ilta: That makes NO sense.
B: Well, 6:02 Central Time in Pacific Time would be 4:02. I didn't want to assume you were looking for the reverse.

[By the way, this does not make customers happy. Customers hate being called on their errors.]
Ilta: Whatever. Goodbye.
B: Thanks for calling.

[Side note, this call lasted much longer than it is here. I didn't really want to relive all the tragic details.]