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Friday, November 25, 2011

Face it Lady! He's Cheating on You!!

During my first year of working here I was put into one of the funniest and most awkward situations ever.  EVER!  All because a  husband screwing a broad that wasn't his wife. 

Let me back it up for you. 

At the time, I worked with contractors who placed buried lines to get services to your home.  If your home requires the services to be buried the process goes a lil' something like this.... You place your order with us, an alert comes through to my department saying your address needs to have a conduit buried before any service can be installed in the home.  We send the alert to the contractor who then does a utility locate, which is where we alert ALL the other public utilities that may have services buried in your front yard, people comes, spray paint where those other utility lines are, then my contractor comes to your home to survey what the best possible path would be so we don't disrupt any electric, water, or other communications services while digging to place your new service.  I know right??  Sounds complicated but it goes pretty smooth. 

So I received a phone call one day from a guy asking about our buried process.  I told him that people would be by his house multiple times throughout the week to get everything set up for his service install.  This guy took it as an opportune time to have his mistress over and lie about who it was to his wife.  I'm guessing the husband and mistress had a pretty good romp that day.  According to the neighbor, who then told the wife, there was a red Pontiac parked in the driveway most of the day.  I'm assuming when the wife questioned her husband about the mysterious vehicle, he told her that it was one of our company cars.  Lol, I mean what emotionally beaten down housewife wouldn't buy it right?  Right?!  

So I get a series of calls that will forever be laughed at in my department:

Me: Hi Thanks for calling, what concerns can I help you address today??

The wife:  Well, I need to know why there was a red Pontiac parked at my home for 6 hours on Tuesday.

Me: umm?  Ma'am could you further explain what's going on? I'm not too sure who you need me to call or what you need me to do....

The wife:  weelllllll, according to my neighbor there was a red car that showed up shortly after I left work and left a little before I got home.  My husband is telling me that it was one of your female supervisor who came over to locate the property and make sure everything in the house was ready to go.  But I don't understand why she was here for 6 hours.

Me: Well, I don't quite understand what's happening.  We surely do send out a contractor to survey the property, but I do know for a fact that the contractors do not come into your home or they aren't supposed to anyway....

........I could hear the light bulb go off in this woman's head.....

The wife:  Soooo just do me a favor and call your contractor and see if the surveyor drives a red car please?

Me:  sure thing, I'll return your call as soon I find out.  *hangs up*

BAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHA, this guy really thought he'd get away with this?!

I call the contractor and lo' and behold, no one there drives a red Pontiac.  They all drive company trucks.  My contractor and I have a good giggle over the husbands stupidity and what we assume the situation to be.  I compose myself and brace myself for what's sure to be a pretty awkward call back. 

Me: Um Hi, Ma'am?  This is Kelly, I just spoke with you earlier about...

The wife: *quickly interrupts me* Yeah yeah, I know, so?  who was it that was here?  and why were they here for so long?

Me:  Well I hate to be no help here, but no one at my contractor's company drives a red car that would have been there on Tuesday.  And to clarify a little more, we don't have any female surveyors at that company... in fact we don't have any female workers that would have been there on the company side or the contractor side because the local manager on the company side of things is a male. 

The wife:  So you're telling me you don't know who it was?

My inner thought:  Yeah ya idiot, didn't you hear me?! 

Me:  No ma'am, I can't help you answer that.  Is there anything else? 

The wife: *click* 

... she didn't even say bye! UGH!!! HOW RUDE!

So about 2 minutes later I get a call from on my direct work line from the husband!! Stupid me forgot to block my number when I called the wife back so she relayed my number to him when she confronted him about who was there at their home and he denied.

Me:  Hi this is Kelly....

The husband: Yeah, what the fuck, you just told my wife about a red car being here on Tuesday and that it didn't belong to your contractor? 

....I contemplate hanging up, but this shit is just too good.....

Me:  Yes I did sir, she asked me to question my contractor about it, they said no one drives a red car for business purposes and I told her I didn't know who the female at your house would have been.

The husband:  You're lying!!  You're trying to destroy my marriage aren't you??  Listen, you better call my wife back and tell her that you lied about this, SHE'S GOING TO LEAVE ME!

Me:  Sir, your personal issues have nothing to do with me.  I work in customer service, I am not a mediator.  I am not calling your wife back. 

The husband:  *click* hangs up....

....about 20 seconds pass by....  my phone rings again....

Me: hi this is Kelly....

The husband:  Listen, I need you to call her back and tell her there has been a misunderstanding, that the car was someone associated with your company.

Me: Sir, I can't do that.

The husband:  Listen, I need you to do that.  My marriage depends on it... if she knows I did this again, she will pick up and leave with my kids.  I need you to call her back.

Me: Sir, surely I am not going to lie to your wife.  It is not my business, it is not my job, and it breaks girl code.  It's low, sad and I'm ending this call.  *hang up*

5 minutes later....*phone rings again*  this time it's the wife.

Me: This is Kelly.....

The wife:  Oh thank you so much for clearing this up for me. 

.....a little confused.......
Me:  No problem ma'am, I wish you good luck with everything.

The wife:  Yeah, my husband just called me and said that there was a huge misunderstanding,  that the red car in fact belonged to one of the employees of the contractor and that they had to use there personal car that day  because their company truck had died.  This is such a huge relief, I almost though he was... welp, never mind, anyway Kelly, I'm sorry to have bothered you so much with this ridiculousness.  Have a great day OK??

*completely dumbfounded* ....son of a bitch got away with it!

Me: K, no problem BYE! 

.........So don't judge me!!!!  Don't sit there and say... "Kelly you could have told...."  NO NO NO!!!  That woman was stupid enough to believe that lying dog and his outlandish story, well then she deserves him!  Please refer to my other post where I told you I am not a therapist.  I wasn't lying for him and I surely wasn't going to tell her something she should have already been smart enough to realize.  I refuse.  My co-workers and I still laugh about that couple to this day.

Stop Acting Like I Ran Your Dog Over.

Yeah, I said it.  Knock it the hell off people!! 

Working in a center that takes complaints is completely thankless job.  By the end of the day, I have jello for a brain and an underlying urge to kick puppies for being so damn cute.  It's hard.  I am screamed at all day, sometimes threatened, called names, and after I bend over backwards to make the customer happy, I am then lectured on how they should have never had an experience like they did. 

I would like to go through some bullet points with you on why you should be nicer to you customer service reps and how to get an optimal customer service experience (By my standards at least) .

  • We're talking about TV, phone and Internet here.  You will not die if it does not work.  and before you say "Well, Kelly...."  --I'm going to stop you.  NO.  You WILL NOT die.  TV and Internet are LUXURIES.  Yes, they are expensive and people pay good money to have our service in their home.  I get it.  TRUST ME!  I GET IT!  I understand you may work from home and without Internet, it could jeopardize your job.  I understand your teenager has a 10 page report due tomorrow morning and they haven't started it.  I know it SUCKS that you are going to miss the Phillies game, American Idol or any other mind melting TV shows our society is addicted to.  I GET IT!  But I am not a miracle worker.  when you call me expecting to be put back in service immediately, know that you will be disappointed, but that I will do everything in my power to help you ASAP.
  • Cursing at us will get you NO WHERE.  If you utter one shit, fuck, bitch, damn, ass or any of the likes - You will be disconnected and your call will not be answered again.  Call centers DO have caller ID and us reps do speak to each other.  I do not care how frustrated you are. 
  • Don't be sarcastic with us.  We don't know how to take it.  Remember, we are screamed at, called names and told how much we suck.  We have never spoke to you before and do not understand your personal humor.  We don't respond to your humor because god forbid the one time a customer sounds sarcastic and they really aren't trying to be... Welp, I can just say I know a manager will end up hearing about it and I just don't need that.  Save the humor for another time and just let me help you. 
  • Don't talk about your personal problems with me.  If your service has been disconnected or interrupted for another reason, I know it's an inconvenience.  I don't have to hear about how you brother in laws cousin's neighbor is coming over to watch Monday Night Football on your 70" Plasma and now the wings you purchases freshly cooked from the store will go bad because you have to take your party to the bar.  I do not care that your wife just gave birth to your 5th child and will go stir crazy because she can't watch Lifetime.  I treat every customer with the same amount of urgency.  Save the speech, your wasting time I could be spending getting you back in service.
  • Again, touching on personal problems.  I am you customer service rep, not a free therapist.  I don't care about your issues, I have enough of my own.
  • If another employee does something to make you mad, don't yell at me.  I don't care if you want to express your concern, but remember that I am not the one who disrespected you.  I will be more than happy to take your complaint and make sure it gets handled accordingly, but screaming at me will more than likely make me throw your complaint away (yeah I said it!)
  • Do not threaten me.  Don't do it.  Just don't.  It takes a pretty stupid person to tell me that they are going to get me fired, find out where I work so they can hurt me or any of the likes.  Remember, I have a screen in front of me that shows me your name, address, multiple phone numbers, and social security number.  Just don't do it. 
  • Don't make an ass of yourself.  Again, us reps do laugh at you.... if you are on the phone making spectacle of yourself... more than likely we will laugh about it, hard, after your call has ended.
  • Most importantly, remember we are humans too and we do make mistakes.  some mistakes are bigger than others and sometimes it can really it hard for a customer.... but we are not little robots that have little manuals that tell us what to do with every problem we encounter.  I can promise that any mistake made will be rectified ASAP, but I also don't need to be crucified.  I know you're not perfect at your job.  Stop acting like I should be perfect with mine. 
Anyone know the moral of this post??  Just be nice! Please express your concerns to me, I do want to hear them!! But just be nice to me.  You'll be much more likely to have a pleasant experience if you just act nice, no matter how frustrated you are.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lesson 1: Never Trust a Customer Who Owns More Dogs than Teeth in their Mouth

Within a few weeks of starting my job, I was sent out into the field to experience a real life customer home visit. I was lucky enough to be teamed up with my big brother, Dan, who is an outside technician.

We drove around most of the morning. He showed me how the phone lines were run underground, where they hook up to, the safety protocol, I got to climb into a couple of pretty sweet underground vaults. I was pretty intrigued and found myself thinking "Hmph, this isn't so hard". I. ATE. MY. WORDS about an hour after that little thought bubble ran through my mind.

   My brother took a job that ended up being a disconnect of telephone service in a fairly run down trailer park. We pulled up to the property to see a man smoking a cigarette on his porch, dressed in a pair of shredded jeans and dirty wife beater with a beard that resembled a rats nest glaring at us. I should have known this wasn't going to go well when Dan handed me a bottle of pepper spray and said "Hide it in your sleeve. Don't be afraid to use it." *GULP* um, ok....

   When we get out of the van I see 3 hyper rottweilers jumping up and down on the other side of this guys gate.... Did I ever tell ya'll I'm scared of dogs? Well I AM! We are greeted by the dude with a "What in hell are you doing here?" another big *GULP* for me.  I look to Dan, waiting for him to answer.  He informs the customer that due to non-payment on his account, we have to disconnect his service.... which is promptly answered with a "What in the hell?! You ain't disconnecting me! I have 5 kids and ill mother that lives with me! You ain't coming in my house!!"   ME? I was ready to say "Okay Dan, you heard the guy..." But being as though Dan's job depends on this type of stuff, we were forced to press on.  Again, with a little more sternness in his voice, Dan says "Sir, put your dogs away, we are stepping onto your property."  The hick chuckles to himself and says "Oh yeah? MAKE ME!"  At this point, I'm on the red neck's side.  I'm thinking to myself  'Yeah Dan, MAKE HIM! This is stupid!! Let's not disconnect him and say we did. Who will really ever find out?  Let's just leave and not get eaten alive by dogs today!!" 

After going back and forth with the 'Deliverence' extra for a few minutes, He actually decided he wanted to coroperate with us.  He chained his dogs up in the yard and opened his gate for us.  I think there was even a mumbled 'I'm sorry'.  I was surprised by the turn of events, but I didn't dwell on it.  I just wanted to get  this over with as quickly as possible.  We walked across the property that was roughly the size of a postage stamp, with the dogs nipping at our heels but being yanked back by the chains on their neck every time they jumped up at us.  Even on the chains though, we were maybe about 5 yards out of devil dog's reach.  Dan then decides this is a more than opportune time to teach me about a disconnect, in which I interrupted with something like 'Shut the eff up, Cujo is on my heels and you want to play teacher? Just cut the service off and let's go!!!"  I felt like we stood there for about 3 hours, which I'm sure it was more like 3 minutes,  But I watched the dogs and their owner the whole time.

To this day I still can't recall the exact chain of events, but it went a little something like this.  The biggest Rottweiler of all just looked vicious, and stared at me as I was Mike Vick holding a case of Omaha Steaks....drool was dripping off his mouth, and he just had that constant loud bark that rattles your brain.  I remember glancing up and seeing this dog get a running head start, leaping in the air and suddenly realizing that he's not stopping.  In the blink of an eye, I turned into Carl Lewis and hauled ass back across the yard to the gate.  As I am approaching the gate, I quick leap up into the air only to fall short of clearing the fence (let's be real, there was NO WAY I was ever going to clear the fence, just wishful thinking on my behalf). I quick glanced around for Dan, realize I don't see him and in the same thought I remember the pepper spray conversation.  GENIUS!! I pull my arm down out of my sleeve and start spraying when suddenly I feel burning, I feel blinded, I.... AHHHH!!!!!!  I feel the weight of 150 lb Rottweiler crashing into me.  I. JUST. PEPPER SPRAYED. MYSELF!  GAAAAHHH!  How stupid could I be?!...better yet... How stupid could Dan be for trusting me with PEPPER SPRAY?!  -I will say I did have some stroke of luck that day when the dog decided not to eat my face and instead just clumsily kept nudging and sniffing me while I sit on my knees screaming my head off from the pain.  I guess Dan saw the whole thing happen, because I can hear him saying "Kell, just calm down"  with laughs mixed in.  He helped me up, guided me back to the van like a good brother should and helped me pour water into my eyes, which offered no relief.  I mean I think the only thing that would have made me feel better would have been just ripping my eyes out of their sockets. I could hear the customer on his porch laughing his head off saying "I ain't never seen something like that!! I can't wait to call my wife and tell her that happened...."  which I promptly answered "Yeah!! Good luck doing so with your DISCONNECTED PHONE SERVICE!!!"  yeah, that'll teach him to laugh at ME!

Moral of the story kids, When someone challenges you (especially when that someone has more dogs than teeth), it's wiser to just walk away.  I have paid my dues in being laughed at, and luckily I'm able to look back on it now and laugh at myself.  I still hate dogs.  I still hate red neck's.  and I haven't been back out in the field with anyone since.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I am starting this blog in honor of my 5 year employment date at my job.  For job security purposes, I won't name my company, however, I will clue you in and tell you that it rhymes with "Schmerizon".  Yup, 5 years ago TODAY I walked into my first 'big girl' job.  I was nervous and didn't know quite what to expect. Hell, I didn't even know what the job entailed.... I just knew that I was being started out at $10.25 an hour and I worked inside.  I remember being thankful for my Dad and brother on my first day of work who helped me get my nice comfy desk job.  My first paycheck was a whole $197 and i was THRILLED to death.  Let me first say, I am very thankful for my job at 'Rhymes with Schmerizon'.  They have provided my family and I with much needed medical benefits, a pension, a 401k, 3 whole weeks of vacation time, and competitive wages.  What more could a high school graduate ask for? 

In hindsight, I am very blessed for this job and the opportunity it has given me to provide for my family. 

5 years may not be a long time to some people, but to me, it's something like 1/5 of my life...  so it's a pretty big deal.  I can't tell you how many times I have said to my co-workers, "Man!! We should have a reality show!" or "By the time I'm 62, I'll be retired and writing about all my crazy experiences here!"

That's where this blog comes into play.  I have stories that will horrify you, make you laugh, make you cry.  Stories that will make you question society and leave you asking yourself "Have I hugged my customer service rep lately?!"

So enjoy you guys... This shit is 5 years in the making.