These challenges come from a small writing group. We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share. The goal is to answer at least one per week. (Sort of like being in a writing class where you are assigned the topic to write about.)
Have you ever been given the runaround? What did you do?
My most recent encounter. Yes we have all been on the receiving end of someone trying to play pass the buck, it’s not my area of work, your question is way above my pay grade or simply a runaround. I have worked in a customer service capacity for many, many years and I make it harder for someone to ignore me when I need help.
As an employee in what is considered a service industry there are many things that I have learned along the way. I try to get the nameless person on the other side of the phone on my side so they don’t hang up on me. Today it seems very easy to bully or badger a faceless voice at the end of your phone and that tactic rarely works in the long run. If you happen to get the one person who really cares, you don’t want to lose them.
I recently called my insurance company because of a letter sent to me by a government agency that regulates insurance. I mainly called because I wanted to know what was up with that. The person on the other end assumed that I was angry and kept trying to pass the buck and transfer me to another department or another company. I was just as insistent, in a polite way, that might not really be the best result because I simply wanted to know why this happened, not who was to blame. I persisted that she needed to listen to my full question regarding this situation.
Eventually, after about five minutes trying to explain the full question, she agreed to look into it. Then she realized it was something she could handle and said she would do that. It took explaining repeatedly, using slightly different phrases each time for her to really hear me. I think the one that got her was when I said “This sounds like I am living in crazy town.” She actually laughed at my comment, that was when I knew she heard me.
I, have since had another situation where the person heard only half of my question and said she needed to transfer me. Again, I said please hear my whole question and then tell me who to talk to. She had the perfect answer for me and it worked beautifully.
Many of the companies judge the employee based on volume not on quality. If you answer X number of calls does not make you a better customer service person, yes volume is important, but so is quality. I would call and compliment each of these agents because they both helped to resolve my problem.
Moral of this story is that it has been a few weeks and the situation is cleared up. Make them laugh or cry or cringe in horror at your story, never blame the person on the phone unless it truly is the last stop. Most of the people doing the job are just like us and trying to survive one phone call at a time.