Customers can be such precious little gems can't they? They can give hours and hours of entertainment as you recall each frustrating moment! And while I'm on the phone I keep telling myself "later on, I will be laughing at this" while I grit my teeth and try to remain civil and calm with my customer.
The first incident occurred with an interpreter service operator. She was a Vietnamese interpreter and had a Vietnamese customer on the phone but was strangely reluctant to communicate with me, instead, had the customer try to relay his information. Did she think she was going to teach him something? I couldn't understand what the customer was saying and had to say "Interpreter, can you tell me the customers surname" etc etc... She would remain quiet or instruct the customer in their language, what to say to me. Why the hell didn't she just say it? My voice started to rise and before too long, there was no question of my irritation. After all, she wasn't just a non English speaking customer, she was supposed to be a translator for goddsakes! I asked her for her operator number after the call and she said "Why do you want that for?" and I said "because I haven't been happy with your service" and she said "well I haven't been happy with your service" and hung up!
Then I had another customer who was calling for her mothers account. Her mother wasn't there. I tried to explain nicely that under the privacy act, I can't discuss someone else's account with her. I could be held personally liable.
She started to protest, saying she was stressed and this was her mother who was going into a nursing home.
I said I understand that and know it's frustrating but we our bound by the Governement's privacy laws.
She then tells me she has power of attorney. I said "Great, fax in those papers and I'll update the account showing that you can have access to it"
She gave a long sigh and went silent.
"Was there anything else today?" I said, perhaps a little too cheekily.
She replied with a snappy "you just don't know the stress and the pressure I'm under. You sit there in that office and all I'm asking is a simple thing and you just refuse to take this stress from me."
And then she hung up.
I just wish I'd been able to say "Do you think you're the only one with stress in your life? Is stress an excuse to have everyone bow to your wishes, laws be damned?"
I mean seriously. I did feel sorry for her, but not enough to be hit with a fine if I breach the privacy act!
Poor little stressed girl! Give me a break! There are people with real problems in this world ya know!
A little after that call, a colleague called me saying he had a call for me. He said it was someone from the interpreting service who had requested to speak to my extension number.
I was dumbfounded for a moment. She'd caused me such grief and now she was calling me back?
But hearing his stifled laughter I realised it was a joke! Too bad, I would have liked to have given her a piece of my mind…
Actually no, I take that back... I have precious little of my mind left!!!