Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life Umpires... a great idea?

Well sadly football is over for another year. I hate this part of the season. Deno gets right into it. Draft picks, who's going where, what's happening at the clubs, but not me. I just want to watch good football.

We were watching the grandfinal on Saturday and although I appreciated it as a good game of football, there wasn't any emotion in it for me as my team wasn't playing.
That can make it easier...
But it gave me a chance to observe the game more and I thought isn't it funny that that umpires whistle can hold so much power!
He blows wildly into it and everyone stops.

It got me thinking... wouldn't it be great to have life umpires? I'm not talking about umpires to keep the law, we already have those, they're called policemen...
I'm talking more about policing social issues and situations.

For example, if you're sitting having a conversation with a friend who is BSing about something, wouldn't you love an umpire to come and blow a whistle in their face?
"I call bullshit! No talking for 10 minutes"

Or how about when you're in line at an icecream store and someone comes in front of you and gets served before you. Wouldn't you love a life umpre to come and blow a whistle into their ears and send them to the back of the line?
I'd be in favour of that!!!

How about those irritating people who insist on keeping their umbrella's open even when walking undercover? I'd love a life umpire to come and take that umbrella away. If they can't use it properly, they shouldn't be using it at all!!

I'm all in favour of life umpires.

With all the customer stories I post, I'd love there to be umpires listening in on my calls to whistle and stop the stupidity I have to listen to.

I'm sure you could think of many more examples!

Yes I'm all for it, bring in life umpires!!! I'd like to see that!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Customer Stories Again...

Isn't it obvious that to get a concession discount, you'd need to have a concession card?
Why do people call in and ask if they can have concession on their card, without actually owning a concession card? what do they think they're going to get?
Do they think there's some general public concession that everyone gets? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the term 'concession' if everyone was getting it???
If there were a concession for stupidity I'm sure lots of them would qualify!!!
(Oh, bad Margot!)

Speaking of stupid, I once went through an entire call, calling the customer I had on the phone by the previous occupants name.
Funny that the customer didn't say anything.
Guess I qualified for the stupid concession that day!!


Oh dear... A customer called because she paid her account twice.
I assured her we'd received her payments and that her credit would come off the next bill
"So you have my payments" she asked with a worried voice, thinking perhaps that we were going to pocket the extra she'd paid.
"yes" I assured her.
"Both of them??" she asked again.
"Yes" I replied, trying very hard not to sound exasperated.
"But why did I do that???" She then asked me.
Yes, you read that right, SHE asked ME why SHE'D paid her account twice.
I bet you can imagine any number of inappropriate responses and I thought of quite a number of them immediately!!
Instead I tamely said "I don't know" and assured her once again that the credit would come off of her next bill...


Today a customer called because she had received a disconnection notice after she'd paid the account.
She paid it a month after the due date by the way.
The notice she received, was sent the same day she made the payment so it was just a matter of bad timing.
I explained it as nicely as I could and told her to ignore the notice because yes, we had now received her payment.
The customer was silent for a moment then hmphed and said "hmmm and because of this, you may also lose me as a customer!!!" and promptly hung up on me before I could say another world.

Now in what world is a person who pays an account a month after the due date, justified in getting incensed over a notice received a day after they'd made the payment?
If she'd simply notified that she'd be paying late, we wouldn't have had to send the notice!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Customer Stories...

I'm in absolute shock
Even though I get these calls from time to time it still never fails to surprise me!

A customer called in today complaining that we were holding his credit.
I looked at his account and saw he was on a payment plan of $70 a month.
"Well" he began indignantly, "I've been paying $71 a month!!!"
I looked and saw that was the amount of his previous plan so I explained that to him and told him the revised amount was now $70.
"Well what happens to the extra money I've paid? When will you give that back?"
Look, I swear to you I'm not making this up. He'd paid three lots of $71 instead of $70, so he wanted his $3 back.
I advised him that his account is in debt anyhow, so the extra $3 has just gone off his current debt. We haven't kept it, it's gone to what he currently owes.

He didn't believe me. He thought I was trying to pull one over him so he said he would go through all his statements and if it's not sorted to his liking, he'll be calling back.

Someone has to give that a guy a hobby!!!


When you call through to our call centre, there are a few options depending on what fuel or utility you're calling about. When I answer the phone, I always specifiy the fuel or utility I can help them with to confirm they've pushed the right buttons to come through to the right area.

At least a few times a day I get someone saying, "oh you're joking" when I tell them they've come through to a different fuel than what they were expecting. I can't help them.
The poor deluded customer is actually angry with ME that I can't help them!
Wasn't it their fumbly, fat fingers that pressed the incorrect buttons in the first place causing them to come through to me?
I just don't understand!!


I spoke to another customer today whose first name was "Princess". I resisted asking her if Michael Jackson was her father.
Normally, to be more personable with customers, I try to use their first name when speaking with them but I just couldn't bring myself to call her princess!!


Going on a different tangent, a customer culled today who just wanted an extension of time to pay. I asked her what her date of birth was (to confirm it was the customer as required by the privacy law) and got a little freaked out when she was only three years older than Sarah. Wow... did that make me feel old!!


Can somebody tell me why customers call us wanting to update their concession details or to set up a direct debit for their account but then when asked for their concession number or bank details, they have no clue where to find the documents??

If you were wanting to set up a direct debit, wouldn't you have you bank account details handy?

Do they think we can just ask the magical genie and know their numbers without them providing it for us? Or do they want me just to guess? This happens more than you can imagine!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hot or Cold?

I have a fear of cold weather. I detest being cold and will make sure I'm always rugged up, because I'd rather disrobe than be caught feeling that cold to my bones!

Deno on the other hand, has a fear of warmer weather. I'm sure he's going to dispute my choice of the word "fear" but you know what I mean.

Last week they forecast a 27 degree day for us and while we were getting ready for bed, I was surprised when Deno asked with genuine concern "What are you going to wear tomorrow?"

I had to take a few seconds to register it.
What was I going to wear?
Why did he care?
I don't think he's ever asked me once what I was going to wear!
So my little brain tick, tick, ticked and I realised he was asking because it was going to be 27 degrees (warm by his standards). It has to be over 35 degrees before I start to think "Hmm, I'm going to be warm today"

I thought it was cute anyhow...

And by the way, whatever the weather is outside, it's always a fridge in my work building!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So, what do you want to know?

You either love them or hate them.
If I'm at work, I love them, if I'm home, I hate them.

What am I talking about?

Email forwards of course!

Now when I'm at work, they're a fantastic distraction. You look at some cute pictures, read some funny story, look at some optical illusions or think about some clever riddles. It's great.
When I'm home, I usually have twenty things that need to be done immediately (whether they be recreational or house motivated) so I don't like being interrupted by them.

One of my favourite email forwards are the questionnaires! You know the ones don't you? Where you're asked if you like bacon bits or croutons?
Chocolate or Vanilla? Hugs or Kisses?

It constantly amazes me what some people will answer without thinking twice about it.

And why does it have to bacon bits or croutons? Why can't it be both? or neither!
Why can't anyone come up with original questions?
Why doesn't anyone ever ask me what my favourite cookie is?
Would I rather be Paris Hilton or Brittney Spears? (and you have to pick one!)
Who do you think would give you an interesting hour of conversation, Cathy Freeman or Kyle Sandilands?
Who are you more scared of, Serena Williams or Kanye West?
etc etc...

And even though it's usually the same group of us that answer these questions and send them on, I find that I learn a little something more about that person with each survey filled.

Still, my dream is to write my own question survey thingy and send it off into email land to one day, have it returned to me. Now THAT would be an achievement!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Playing squash & horror reflections...

Deno and I went to play squash today and it really was a lot of fun!

He's been asking me to play for quite some time but as he's really competitive, and I play more for the fun of it, I was a little put off going...

But in the end I thought I'd give it a go and really had a great time. I was actually able to hit the ball and when he held back, even scored a few points for myself!
I can only get better right?

Luckily we had a court that was shielded from the rest of the complex so it was also very private and nobody witnessed my sometimes, lame attempts at the ball.

Oh, I take that back... there was some annoying person watching. She was a frumpy looking thing who I noticed every time I looked at the sheen from the glass at the back of the court. I've also noticed her when I look in my bathroom mirror but thankfully I've learnt to ignore her so I didn't pay her too much attention today either...

So, I don't want to speak to soon, but I think today's activity may have motivated me because later on in the day we went to Harbour Town and I bought a new pair of running shoes!! I plan to use them tomorrow morning...

AND I'm also looking to get the timetable of a gym that's nearby..

I know, I can hardly believe it myself!! but I have to do something to make that annoying frumpy girl I keep seeing in reflective surfaces go away!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Because I work in a call centre...

Here is the latest collection of silly things that we call centre staff, or our lovely customers have said...

A customer called in and said "Yeah I'd like to register for… umm… I've got one of those recession cards. Do you get anything off with a recession card?" Actually I think there are a couple of whole countries that are holding one of those cards at the moment!!

But to show that it's not all about the "silly" customer all the time, here are some of the things that we operators have said...

One of my colleagues once spoke to a customer who identified themself as Zachary.
Brimming with confidence and personality, my colleague who is NOT called Zachary said
"Hi Zachary, this is Zachary, how can I help you?"

Another colleague named Max once answered the phone saying
"Good morning, Welcome to Max, how can I help you?"
Instead of saying our company name.I kinda like that one.
Welcome to Margot. My world. My rules.

Yet another colleague was once overheard answering a call saying
"Good Morning, this is Joe. How can I help you tonight?"
Tonight? Was Joe taking the customer on a date? hehe

Yet another call was answered
"Good morning, this is Sally. How can I help you with MY utility account?"
Well heck we get utility accounts too that we have to pay don’t we?

At the end of the call we're supposed to say "Thanks for calling" but some variations said by my colleagues are
"Thanks for your day"
And even,"Thanks for calling, have a good gay"
Don't know if I should mention that the person who said that last statement is actually gay... make of that what you will! *wink*

Another closing statement heard was "Thanks for coming" instead of "Thanks for calling"
Ok, so I'll admit that one came from me, and the stranger thing was, the customer didn't say anything! Perhaps they didn't hear.

Oh and Jesus called into the call centre today. I was a bit miffed that the operator who got him didn’t ask those tricky questions like, is he really the son of god?, and how did he manage to get out of that tomb? And what was his real relationship with Mary Magdalene?

Isn’t it wonderful that this constant stream of customer and operator stories never stop!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Customer Stories cos you know you love em!

Today I answered the phone and was just about to go into the opening spiel when I heard a woman SCREAM what I thought was my name!

This freaked me out a bit because how the hell would she know what my name was before I'd given it???

Then she says calmly, "I'm sorry, did you hear me screaming just now?"

And I refrained from saying "yes master, what would you have me do"

Instead I said "yes, in fact I thought you said my name"

She laughed and said she had just been yelling at her dog who is called "milo" (Kinda sounds like Margot right?)

Phew, the world is still a rational place.

Actually I take that comment about rationality back. I had a man contact me today to tell me we were over charging him because his last account ws $80 and this one was $89.

Now honestly, what chance could I possibly have with someone like that???

As I started to explain it's Winter and you use more etc etc he cut me off with "oh you've got all your ready made answers haven't you but you're just ripping me off!"

Sometimes I'm just lost for words.

A guy was cut off for non payment of account. We had been in contact with him last month and he had promised to get in touch by the end of August to let us know when he was paying. We didn't hear from him so he was disconnected.

He called in today FURIOUS!!! how dare we disconnect him!! he's got four kids!

How can someone be so indignant about being disconnected when they haven't paid? And yes I certainly feel sorry for the kids but all the more reason for him to pull his thumb out and contact us when he was supposed to!

Now tell me, if you had to ring your utility company, would you want to get someone like me on the other end?