Crazy caller of the day 2

Of the hundreds of calls I take each day very few are anything out of the ordinary. Usually its an endless parade of orders, product queries and just to spice things up complaints, very few calls actually stand out for their surreallness. One recent call however, would have Salvador Dali scratching his head and picking up his lobster phone to ask  just what is going on

Me: Hello ……… how can I help?

Caller: I’m a long time customer of yours and I was hoping you could do me sort of  a favour really.

Me: Sure, what can we do for you?

Caller: Well, my daughter is wanting to move to Cheshunt and they’re looking for somewhere to live. I wanted to help them look for a property. Would you be able to send me a copy of the local newspaper so I can have a look at properties that are available.

Me: Um, I’m afraid I don’t think that would be possible. In any case we’re nowhere near Cheshunt

Caller: {sounding disappointed} Oh, I see, but do you know what the name of the local newspaper is?

Me: {starting to think this is some kind of set up}I’m afraid I don’t. I don’t even know where Cheshunt is

Caller: {affronted} So you’re saying you can’t help me?

Me: Um, I’m afraid so.

Caller: Well goodbye then.


2 thoughts on “Crazy caller of the day 2

  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog. This exactly the kind of thing I was writing about … a crazy call maybe but two opportunities lost. Opportunities to make your customer love the company and an opportunity for you to feel great about yourself and the way you rose to the occassion.
    It starts and ends with imagination! Instead of going downhill, have fun going uphill.
    You: That’s an interesting request, sir, and I would love to help you but we are nowhere near Cheshunt.
    Caller: {sounding disappointed} Oh, I see, but do you know what the name of the local newspaper is?
    You: {sounding quizical} I don’t even know where Cheshunt is sir but I am sure the Cheshunt information office would know, Why don’t you try calling 123 (info) I am sure they will know.
    Caller: {feeling appreciated} I hadn’t thought of that, thank you for your help. You have been most kind. Goodbye.
    Now, how would you feel about yourself after a compliment like that? How can you make every call an opportunity to raise the bar to feel better about yourself? Heartfelt positivty broadens the mind to see new opportunities … maybe a way out of the misery you describe in another post.
    You may be in a miserable room but I encourage you to keep in mind that your emploer may buy you time but every minute is still your life, make the most of it. Have fun.

  2. Hi there Shaun and thanks for our comment and reply on your blog.

    Strangely before finding myself in my current post I worked in what could be described as a local government call centre under a manager whos ethos was ‘If the driver of the number 9 bus calls and asks us where it is going we’re going to try to help’ – this was in response to reports that operators had been telling people to ‘try the yellow pages’ a business phone directory. I think that ethos rubbed off, creating a culture of helpfulness, and I’m told I was much more helpful when I started at my current call centre than I am nowadays!

    The problem, as I partly covered in my comment on your blog, is that I feel management structures, and systems, dictate the responses given by frontline staff. For instance in my old job I had access to the internet so could easily have found a contact number for the local newspaper in Cheshunt, but in my current job internet access is disabled as management don’t trust frontline staff not to abuse it and take the approach of treating them like children, so I’m unable to use it even to help a customer.

    Reflecting on this it seems that as a front-line worker we develop an attitude handed down from our bosses and the paramaters we work with. If they don’t empower us to provide customer service then we close off and see such left-field requests as a complete annoyance. Saying all this I take your point that it is possible to develop a positive attitude to such situations and I may well take some of your advice on-board.

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