Friday, August 05, 2005

Your Call Is Not Important To Us

Customer service costs, folks. It's not free. While you might not be paying, it is quite expensive to have customer support by phone -- over a dollar a minute is a fair going rate for basic, non-technical help.

This is a hint: if you're not a customer, don't call. We really don't want to talk to you. Furthermore, there is nothing that we can do for you.

This shout-out goes, in particular, to:

Opportunists. We do not have marketing available by phone through our customer service number. This is for good reason as we get dozens of calls a week through customer service from people asking for the marketing department, because they want a piece of the pie.

On one end of the spectrum, we have the people who want to distribute our product. Sound good? No. These are just random individuals who want to start selling our stuff on the street. Our company only sells their own products because they care about quality. We are not interested in you selling our product in Korea if you are just some random guy who goes to Korea on occasion and your family owns a tea house.

On the other end, we have simple beggars. I can understand the charities, but they generally have the sense to call corporate if they're legit. No, these are people who want our major company to purchase a spot on their go-kart for advertising purposes. It's a random individual who wants free product to distribute to their friends for "free advertising".

You know, guys, here's a clue: if you don't know how to reach our marketing department, you probably shouldn't be talk to them. Hint: they don't take phone calls from unknowns. Send it in writing, we'll have a good laugh and pass it to them so they can toss it, though, if you really insist.

The window shoppers. We sell products by mail order. There will be people who will call and ask about Every. Single. Product. We. Sell. for forty-five minutes (if we let them) and then never buy anything. We have a catalog, people! These people get upset when, after twenty minutes of discussing products, we offer to send them literature. They scoff and hem and haw and threaten to take the $5 order they were really considering. Well, you know what? You just cost the company five times that with your call. Go away.

The scammers. We are pretty good at detecting these, but we usually give people a few chances. After that, you get blacklisted.

Here's the deal: we keep a record of every transaction we do in the system. If you've bought something, you're in there. We do occasionally give out freebies to good customers, or when things go bad. If you're not a customer, you are not getting something for free - no matter how much you beg, threaten, plead, or cry. Don't tell me you forgot your zip code. We have other ways of looking up accounts and you'll look pretty silly if you don't know any of them. "Oh, my friend ordered, and I don't know his address." That's nice. Your friend can call then. If you don't know his address, then you probably shouldn't be calling on his behalf.

"I'll buy lots of product if you send this one free!" Yeah, I doubt it. We have a lenient return policy; buy it, if you don't like it, return it. Hell, I'd even ship it for free just to shut you up, if you pay up front. Oh, no money in the bank this week? Big surprise.

When someone gets blacklisted, I love the amount of whining and screaming. The best part is they always threaten to take their business elsewhere. Guess what, kids. We've already forced you to take your business elsewhere. We will not do business with you.

The insane. There are truly random and bizarre callers. Usually, they're just people screaming and raving until, fifteen minutes later, we realize that they think we're the phone company and they will not be "fooled" into thinking otherwise because they did not call the wrong number, and they know this in their very soul. (Note to my employees: Please do not transfer these calls to me.) Sometimes they know who they're talking to, because they seem to have found out about the mind-control conspiracy... but perhaps I've said too much.

To be fair, we do have actual customers who are also insane. They do tend to be only borderline profitable at best, because they call us all the time, often telling us different information from day to day. (One month, it's "I never ordered this!" and the next it's "Why did you cancel? I wanted this! I didn't cancel it!") I guess I can't blame them, because at least they buy something.

The obscene. Imagine my surprise when I pull a call and the guy's first question to the agent is "What are you wearing?" Look, there are perfectly good numbers for that out there. Please do not make my employee sit through your personal fantasy. I have people working for me that have been physically and/or sexually abused by men, including members of their own family. I have emotionally fragile and devoutly religious individuals as well. They do not need to hear about your cock, mmkay? They don't make enough money to put up with that, and even though they will eventually hang up on you, it's not before your call is burned into their brain. Do you want to make a poor young girl struggling to make ends meet unhappy? No? Then buy some goddamn porn for chrissakes!

The celebrity fanboys and fangirls. I know we have celebrity spokespeople. They are not available by calling customer service. Really. Stop calling. Seriously, who expects major (or even minor) stars of stage and screen to be available by calling customer service of a product they happen to endorse? I have literally had people freak out because they couldn't speak to them right then. WELCOME TO PLANET EARTH, JACKASS.

"Hello, Pepsi? I'd like to talk to Britney Spears, is she in? No? How about tomorrow? Oh. That's fine, please just send me to her voice mail, so she can call me back. I'm such a big fan! What? You mean I bought this fucking Pepsi and I can't even talk to Britney? Transfer me to her home phone right now, I'm sure she would be VERY unhappy to hear about this terrible service! GRRR! Fine, FUCK YOU and FUCK BRITNEY TOO!!"

Most of these people never buy anything. I don't think they actually have any money. I guess I should have put them under "insane", but that's charitable. These people aren't sick, they actually choose to be obsessed with some random stranger.

So, in conclusion: I will grit my teeth and be nice if, and only if, you have earned the right. If you're just a barnacle on for the ride, I will scrape you off and my bosses will thank me for it. Thank you for calling! Please don't call us again soon!