Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Customer Service

I've mentioned that I work in customer service. It's very interesting - usually - but sometimes also very frustrating. We can usually tell when there's a full moon - the donors get frantic over the teensiest, most insignificant things, and some are downright nuts. Over the years, we get somebody who becomes obsessed with one of us. At least that's what we think has happened. One man I'll just call "J" calls several times a day - has for months. He usually has shoes he wants to donate or he has some detailed about an appeal and makes us jump through hoops to answer and then says he'll think about donating. The next call he'll say he has no money - so why does he ask all the questions? Today, he told one of the ladies in my department "I know the women in Haiti have tiny feet so I'm going to send a size 7 1/2 and a size 12 pair of shoes". Size 12 is tiny??? Unless he means little girls shoes. My rep didn't think that's what he meant. We think he was obsessed with a young lady who used to work with us and that he made excuses to call, hoping she'd be the one to answer. He'd call using several different phone numbers, I guess, trying to trick us in case we had caller ID (which we do). Then there's another woman who I'll call "Z". Z only wants to talk to one woman in a different department upstairs. She wants a certain information package sent each time she calls. This is an expensive package unfortunately. She claims she never receives it. Finally, the young woman who keeps sending it, sent it certified return signature mail. The woman still claimed she didn't get it. Then she was confronted that she signed for it. Then she changed her story that she lost it and wanted it again. Meanwhile, she's never donated a dime. She's signed up for a special pledge, but then she keeps canceling it, and then resigning up. She wants to talk to this specific person several times a day. She'll hang up on some of us. We know it's her because of the caller ID. She, too, uses a few different phone numbers. There was another donor I'll call "A" who swore up and down, and was getting very nasty, even threatening because we didn't send her a tax receipt for her gifts of $1,000 in 2007. We searched and searched and found nothing like she claimed. She refused to send us copies of her checks or statements. She went to her credit card company and complained about us. She was wrong. She'd given us those gifts in 2006 (yes SIX, not seven). She realized this after throwing a total hissy fit for over a week. Then there's "Q" who was incensed that we couldn't tell her exactly who gave us her name - we sent a one-time cold mailing inviting her to be a donor. When I looked it up on the computer, it only told me something very vague. I read it to her. She didn't believe me. She said I was lying to her. She demanded to speak to my boss. My boss told her the same exact thing - because we were telling the truth. She accused him of lying, too. He promised to find out. It took awhile because our director of that department had to ask his vendor who didn't know because it came from some other list. The woman called again and got me. She kept saying I was calling her an idiot, that I was lying. She refused to let us call her back - she demanded the info that moment which I didn't know and my boss was in a meeting and couldn't be called out. My boss's boss was in Haiti dealing with an emergency. Of course, she called me a liar again and couldn't believe people weren't just waiting at their desks, twiddling their thumbs, awaiting her call. I had one donor accuse me of sleeping with my boss. That really threw me for a loop. This person doesn't know me. He had no right to get so personal. Of course, I never did and never would. This was in regards to my ex-boss. Then there are donors who go to our website and order an e-card to be sent to somebody. A month or two later, a couple have called furious because their honoree didn't get a snail mail card acknowledging their donation to our charity. Hellooo! They didn't give us a snail mail address. The text on our website said they were sending an email postcard. I guess we're supposed to be all-knowing, that our crystal ball will tell us the person's mailing address? Another man today said we (our charity) should give vasectomies to all the poor men in the Caribbean to stop the poor from overpopulating. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time I've heard something similar. We're supposed to force them? Catch them first and pin them down? Birth control is a very controversial issue, so we have to stay neutral or risk losing a lot of church support. I can understand their basic reasoning, but to suggest forcing somebody to do something... That goes against my grain. One woman blamed all charities for causing 911. Because we help people, we made the terrorists reign terror on us. Huh??? People amaze me. The majority are nice and sane, but some are completely unreasonable (and worse). I never know what I'll hear when I pick up the phone. So now, you know how I spend my days. Lots of time, truth really is stranger than fiction.

6 comments:

Amarinda Jones said...

Anyone who has every worked phones, dealing with customers, knows that on any given day someone with want to blame you, fuck you, date you, sing to you, cry to you, prank call you or just blow a whistle down the phone because they think it's funny until you pass their call line identifier details to the police. Customer are, in a word - insane.

CrazyCath said...

The world is a funny old place. It would be boring if we were all the same though wouldn't it?

While no-one has the right to be personal or insulting to anyone, I just feel sorry for these folks that have nothing better to do than sweat the small stuff. And it IS small stuff.

I am sure you do a fantastic job keeping your cool in the face of great adversity! (And insults) Well done!

Molly Daniels said...

And at the end of the day, you go home, drink a glass of wine, and reflect on the insane urges of people who have nothing better to do than complain to charities about the unhappiness in their own lives.

I tend to be polite when I have to call customer service reps; my hubby is, unfortunately, one of the insane ones who make reps want to hang up on him. And some actually do.

He never learned, 'you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar' adage.

Kelly Kirch said...

Wow and I thought I got nut jobs! There is something about the full moon theory. Anyone in customer service knows it for fact.

On another note, Ashley, I'm sorry I couldn't make your Novel talk interview last night. :( Is there another coming up I could try for??

Ashley Ladd said...

Kelly and all, I'll be at the Nightowl chat for a bit tonight with the TEB authors. But I'll be outside at the daughter's ballgame so I have to take the laptop and Internet card so I'll only be on as long as the charge lasts - usually only about 30-40 minutes. It starts at 8 and goes till 10. I imagine I'll be from about 8-8:30 or 8:40 pm EST tonight.

annie kelleher said...

wow - what a story!! ty for your nice comment on my blog story about writing.... thanks for stopping by!

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