You get used to a lot of moods when you talk to customers on the phone… anger, frustration, resentment… but it’s not often you get to talk to someone who’s just oozing pure dread. This woman, from the start of the call, sounded as if a root canal would have easily been the better choice for her. I wasn’t sure why, this was a fairly straightforward problem, seemed to be some kind of a signal issue. I can even tell by the notes that she’d called in before and already did the troubleshooting, so I’m more than willing to bypass a lot of the basic steps and escalate her issue. I’m thinking that by cutting to the chase and getting her a repair faster, I’d put her at ease. Poor, stupid me.
“Okay, Ma’am. I’d like to get someone out there as soon as possible for you.”
*sigh* “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Just give me the next available appointment.”
“Tomorrow between noon and two?”
“Sure. Can you please specify that I get someone OTHER than the last tech who came?”
Aha! So that’s the problem! The last tech visit didn’t go well. This isn’t a common request, but in these situations, the protocol is to list that in the notes and dispatch will take it into account when they schedule the day’s tech visits. Now, allegedly, dispatch was pretty good about honoring special requests like that, but it was never supposed to be a promise or guarantee. Given the extreme hesitation in the woman’s voice, I feel inclined to tell her this.
“Okay, I can put down a request for another tech. Now, I don’t personally schedule them, but in most cases, it’s not a problem to get a different tech.”
“No, I NEED to have someone else! The last guy made me feel very uncomfortable. And I don’t want it to get back to the last guy that I’m asking for this!”
…. Yeah, okay, THAT’S going to be a problem. I can request a new tech with a 99% success rate, but I don’t have anything at my disposal that would keep the old tech from knowing the request was made. I can get her a new tech, or I can be discreet. I can’t do both.
“Well, Ma’am, I’m happy to do whatever I can, but if I’m going to pull the tech off his route, I will have to talk to his supervisor. There’s really no way around that.”
“The last time he was here, that guy made several comments about me, and how attractive he thought I was. He kept saying he wished he had his digital camera so he could take some photos of me. I don’t want to get him in trouble, but I don’t ever want him in my house again!” Ummmm… why the hell wouldn’t you want this guy in trouble? I’d want his termination papers framed on my wall.
“That’s very alarming. I understand why you don’t want him back… and I’d be happy to accommodate you, but there’s no way I can do that without someone else knowing that the request is being made.”
“He upset my four-year-old by saying he wanted to take their mommy away. Do you know what that sounds like to a small child?!!?!” Um… yes, I do. And again, why is it you don’t want this guy canned? I wasn’t even there, and I want him canned!
…”Please hold while I speak to my supervisor.” And my lead. And dispatch. And legal. And the motherfuckin’ Justice League.
“Thank you. Because I like having your service, but if you can’t absolutely, positively promise he won’t be the one who returns, I’m going to have to cancel.”
My supervisor eventually came to the solution of calling dispatch directly, and noting the account on the ISP end, rather than on the work order. This wasn’t SOP at all, but it seemed to resolve everyone’s concerns.
Ugh… some people are too damn nice.