Friday, June 12, 2009

A decent day ruined by an hour of idiocy

How is it that the entire call center could have a decent day all the way up until 9pm and then suddenly enter The Fucktard Zone? This isn't anything that could be reliably predicted, mind you. It happens all the time, but there's no particular day or time. There doesn't seem to be any way to know when this is going to happen but, suddenly, starting at 9pm, I got five calls in a row about computer issues that had nothing to do with their ISP (me). Five people of well below average intelligence IN A ROW.

Then, the kicker, was a woman who had just gotten two cable boxes and neither were working. She had a third that was working, and even the first two outlets worked just fine plugged straight to the TV. First available appointment was 4 days out.

Now, first of all, when a phone rep says FIRST AVAILABLE, they don't mean "first available unless you pitch a fit like a three year old." They mean first available. If they could give you something earlier to get you off the phone, they would. That you decide to show just how immature and retarded you can be does not, in any way, help anyone.

By the way, for anyone out there that hasn't figured it out yet, an over the phone customer service rep's priorities are, in this order:

1.) Make the biggest paycheck possible with the least amount of work and
2.) Get each customer off the phone as quickly as possible without breaking any rules that would endanger the paycheck

You start out wanting to be helpful and wanting to make things better, but people in general will knock that urge right out of you within a few months.

So anyway, this woman was going on and on about how she wanted me to "send a signal" and "program the box" etc etc (people often make things up when they have no idea what they're talking about) when the box wasn't even booting. We went round and round with me telling her, over and over again, "If the cord coming from the wall is plugged in to the cable in, and the box has been plugged in for 20 minutes with no response, then there's nothing I can do. A tech has to come out, and you have the first available appointment."

How hard is that to understand?

It doesn't matter if you say "So I just got this box and now I have to wait?" It doesn't matter if you tell me how much money you pay for the service every month. It doesn't matter how long you've been a customer. None of that matters. It's as pertinent as telling me your curtains are blue, or stamping your feet and screaming, "But I don't want the sun to be hot!"

That's the way it is and nothing you can say will change it. Saying the same thing repeatedly will certainly not help.

Anyway, for maybe the 5th or 6th time in the year and a half I've been there, I had to hang up on her. The conversation was over for a good ten minutes before I did it, but that certainly didn't keep her from talking.

Well, the original point of this was to marvel at the fact that dumb people always manage to move in droves. The argumentative twits all call the call center at the same time. The non-tipping jerks always called the pizza places at the same time. How does that work? There has to be some sort of science to it.

So if anyone out there argues with tech support or stiffs the pizza guy, let me know if there's some sort of moronic collective out there or something. That way I can find it and destroy it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Open ended questions

I think a lot of people aren't aware that open ended questions can be extremely rude, especially under certain circumstances. By asking an open ended question, you're assuming that the answerer has the time and inclination, not to mention information, to give you a decent answer. If you're interviewing someone, that's fine, it's expected.

If you call tech support and ask open ended questions, you'd better know what you're talking about, otherwise you're going to make a huge jerk of yourself. Not that many people seem to care anymore.

Example: Customer calls in and says his PS3 can't connect to the web, gives a DNS error. I immediately inform him that this is a known issue with the PS3, Sony has a fix, and to call them up. First off, had he checked his computer, he would've known it was working fine and there was no point in calling his ISP in the first place, so he's already under the table in dumb-points.

But then he has the gall to ask, "Well, what do I do if Sony can't fix it?"

I've already told him it's not my problem. I've already told him who to call. I've even go so far as to tell him, under no uncertain terms, that they have a fix. It couldn't be any clearer that I have nothing left to say on the matter, so an open ended question at this point is about as rude as you can get. He could've cussed at me and hung up and I would've been far less irritated.

Another good one. After troubleshooting a cable box, and the customer being very, very confused through the entire process, we get to the end of the line of what we can do over the phone and set up a trouble call.

And she asks, "What could cause this?"

For one thing, you couldn't figure out how to unplug your box, what makes you think you're going to understand what caused the problem? If you think you did something to cause it, how about you tell me? Why do you even think I know what caused it? I'm not out there fixing it. I'm on the phones, talking to you, and scheduling someone else to come fix it. I'd say that's pretty good odds that I have no clue, nor do I particularly care. I'm already passing it on to someone else; obviously I'm done here.

Even more irritating, sometimes, is open ended silence, or asking someone to hang on while you do something that has nothing to do with them.

Customer: I can't connect to my wireless router.

Me: Okay, it looks like you don't have wireless through us, so there's really nothing I can do with that. I would suggest you call the router manufacturer.

Customer: (silence)

Me: Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer: Come on, you can't just help me out?

Me: No, it's not our equipment, therefore I can't do anything with it. Is there anything else *company* related that I can help you with?

Customer: (silence)

You can see that this is going nowhere, yet they persist. They're like little robots that don't know how to go around an obstacle so therefore they just ram it over and over again until they run out of battery power. Only the robot is funny.