Customers Suck. Well, this one, at least.

As noted elsewhere, I work second level support for a large ISP. I try to fix things. I like fixing things. Unfortunately, sometimes things are not fixable by me, and so I have to dispatch someone out to your house to fix it.

When you called, you were asked for an availability window in which we could call back and have someone at home to work on things. You said “after 5 pm”. So, today, I tried to work my magic on your line, and called you at 5.10 pm. You were fine and polite right up to the point where my magic did not work, and I said “We’ll have to dispatch a tech to your premises; the earliest available time is on Saturday. Does it still need to be after 5 pm, or are you available during the day?”

Then the screaming started. “Saturday is too long,” you said. “Why can’t it be tomorrow?”

“Well,” says I, “it’s after 5 o’clock now and the techs have already been given their schedules for tomorrow.”

“That’s your fault for calling after 5 o’clock!”

When I pointed out that I was calling after 5 o’clock as per his directions, he insisted that he had told us 4, not 5. Later on in the conversation this changed to 3. Also, his service has been down for, variously, a day and a half, almost a week, and/or 30 days (this ticket has been open for less than 48 hours, so the day and half is the only one that makes sense). Also, apparently our service is not free! He is paying us good money, he says!

“I’m sorry,” says I. “Once the service is back up, our customer service department will be happy to credit you for the time down.”

“But your service isn’t free!” I take a moment to boggle. “And you keep telling me it’ll be one more day!” Actually, as you acknowledged when I called, you were told five business days, and here I am calling after less than two.

After roughly ten minutes of increasingly heated back and forth in which I try to moderate my voice and he becomes progressively louder, flatly refuses to give me a dispatch availability that isn’t sometime within the next twelve hours, and demands that I press ‘the magic button’ to fix his service, he finally demands to speak to billing. I transfer him over with a huge sigh of relief and go smoke several cigarettes.

Look, you comprehension-impaired, socially retarded cretin, I am trying to help you. I am attempting to fix your problem. Sometimes it takes more than one try. I am not calling you to laugh and point at the fact that your internet doesn’t work, I am not trying to harrass you into giving us your money for lack of service (both of which I was accused of in the course of conversation). I am trying to do my job, which, incidentally, would be a lot simpler if you would stop screaming at me and tell me when the fuck you’re going to be at home, because Og knows I am not enjoying this conversation any more than you are.

The fact that you don’t know how long your service has been out is not my problem. The fact that you don’t remember what time you told us to call back at is not my problem. The fact that you are behaving towards me in a way that I would consider inappropriate for any circumstances including while dead drunk in a barroom brawl with a guy who groped my girlfriend when I am trying to repair your problem (a problem, which, incidentally, circumstances are pointing to being caused by your shitty computer!) is, thankfully, no longer my problem because you’re screaming at someone in billing now.

Anyone got a winning lottery ticket? I think I want to quit and move to Tahiti.

I spent time in tier 2 tech support myself (manufacturing process control software, nothing that Joe User would be using), so I do sympathize with your situation. Especially because where I worked, tier 2 was the technical staff who knew the code, and sometimes had written it themselves. Based on my experience, I assume you have technical knowledge not normally found at front-line support, so what did this customer hope to gain by going ape-poop over you?

I hope billing passes a message to the net admins, who suddenly “discover” a high-usage P2P connection at this customer’s site, that triggers the new bandwidth throttling policy that so many ISPs are adopting these days.

Actually, billing put their collective foot down and said ‘no credit unless you cooperate with tech support’, and half an hour later a very chastened customer called back with a Saturday availability window. Quel surprise.

I am not sure that this customer realised I was second level - I did identify myself as such at the beginning of the first call but english is not his first language and he may have missed it or misunderstood it. But either way, I would have as little tolerance for his behaviour were it directed at our front-line mooks - they are (to be kind) a little slow, but you just don’t treat people that way when they’re trying to help you!

In times like these, we generally say to ourselves, “If we just ignore the customers, they will go away.”

The double meaning sinks in eventually…

Yeah, guys like him make me think of that other demotivator: “We’re not satisfied until you’re not satisfied.” It was certainly how he thought we were running things.

Now being at home with a beer and a cat I can look back on the event with a much more humourous eye. :smiley:

Glad he came back in a more cooperative mood. I was about to suggest that he’d burned so many bridges that perhaps you should call him up just to point and laugh about his internet connection being down.

your billing department rocks! Send them a box of chocolates. Trust me it is worth it.

OK OK - Next time I grope you and brawl with your girlfriend.


Yep. I’ve done about five years of tech support, on and off. In my current job, my callers are limited to onsite field engineers, which considerably decreases my stress. Still, some crazies are bound to slip in.

Dealing with the general public? shudder

You showed restraint and class, man.

Get friendly with a few of the local starving onsite techs and refer them.

If you would like to get someone out tomorrow to setup your self install kit for you you could call PAY-SUM-CASH and I’m sure they will happily get out there to:
Remove the 3.5 gigs of porn spam that is stopping outlook from indexing properly

Plug the ethernet cable back into the proper plug on the back of the router

Remove 848 virus and spyware instances from your machine

Wink back at your wife drooling lasciviously at our huge income potential and mad skilz.

Leave you a bill that might have been much cheaper if you had waited…but nooooo.

Now there’s a temptation. Unfortunately, Legal has told us flat out not to do this anymore, since a 3rd-party tech screwed some guy’s inside wiring and gave us flak for it.

Daerlyn, does your Tier II team sometimes go by the handle National Help Desk (NHD?)

Nope. I am, thankfully, not outsourced. I really hate companies that do that.

Whew. When I saw the thread title, I thought this was about me. I ran the Tracfone people ragged today over a problem that was caused by my own stupidity. I sucked as a customer.

I didn’t yell at anybody though.

Did you know that Tracfone tech support is in Guatemala City? I didn’t either.

Re: Customers suck

Enjoy this one, & the archives. It may ease the pain of "takin’ what they’re givin’, cause I’m workin’ for a livin’.

Me: “We don’t have rooms available over that weekend. We’re totally sold out. I’m sorry, but I can give you a couple of numbers to other nearby places, maybe they can help you…yes, sold out completely. I have absolutely no rooms available. I wish I did. That’s a very busy month for us.”

Prospective Guest: Blah blah blah…beg beg beg…

“…no, I’m afraid I have no rooms. We are sold out.”

PG: “Whaddya mean sold out? Blah blah blah…BLAH BLAH BLAH…”

“You already bought your plane tickets? Well, I’m sorry I can’t help you, but I can’t except to give you another number or two. I know how it is when you have basically unchangeable non-refundable tickets…sure, yes, in the future you definitely want to check with us first if you’re coming to the area during the season. Yes, you can call (number) or (number) and perhaps if they can’t accomodate you they can point you towards some other options. Yes…yes…you’re welcome. Good luck!”


No I don’t have a secret hidden room I can yank out of my ass for you! Why would I tell you we are sold out unless it’s true? Do you think we don’t want your money or something? Of course we do! But we’re sold out!!!

The situation may different, but the frustration is the same. Oy.

The ticket likely means nothing, since the operating procedure appears to be to close every ticket immediately after any work was done, expecting that the customer will call back and open another ticket. And of course, the next ticket will be treated as a completely new and distinct problem, handled by a completely different tech who will ignore all your protestations that this is an ongoing problem because “those tickets were closed.” Also, the techs lie like Pinocchio in the close-out information.

I had an intermittent sync DSL problem that took no less than 5 tickets over 3 weeks. My DSL suddenly started going up and down for no reason whatsoever. I hadn’t changed anything.
**Ticket 1: ** I called an agent. After going back and forth over the likelihood that a change on my end had “caused the line to have interferences”, an outside tech was dispatched. The next day he came out, determined that there was no outside line noise, run an inside wire “just in case”, and wrote in the close-out information the outrageous 100% fabrication “Customer complained of packet loss during rainstorm, problem is resolved after new home run, closing ticket”. WTF? I’m in Atlanta, it hasn’t rained all summer if you haven’t fucking heard. And I did not confirm problem is resolved, I begged him to stay 10 more minutes to see if the intermittent problem would recur (which it did, of course, after he was gone).
Ticket 2: Called back to report that Ticket 1 did not resolve the problem. But it’s like ticket 1 never happened. Outside line tech is dispatched to my house again. This time he gives me a new modem. What’s the ticket close-out information? “Problem fixed after giving customer new modem”.
**Ticket 3: ** Called back and explained that ticket 1 and ticket 2 did nothing. Outside tech was dispatched again. He came to my house and said that there’s nothing more an outside tech could do, and that I should call back and request an inside tech. Ticket 3 closed.
**Ticket 4: ** Called back and said that the outside tech told me to call back and request an inside line tech. I vociferously demanded an inside line tech. The agent assured me they would dispatch an inside line tech within 24 hours. The next day, there was a sticky note on my front door from the outside line tech reading: “They dispatched me for some reason. I called and opened a ticket for you to have an inside line tech dispatched”.
Ticket 5: I have no idea what happened. The problem magically resolved itself. Nobody ever called back and said “Hey, you know what, we were full of shit, it wasn’t the ‘interferences’ in your line, there was a bad card in the DSLAM”.

So, I’m sure you may be the one competent call center agent in the entire internet, but be sensitive to the fact that the customer may have logged 4 other tickets which have been shredded… err… “resolved” before you ever talked to them. This is what bugs me about call center reps, you force false resolutions to issues in order to close the call, and then pretend like every issue is a new issue because the previous call has a resolution on it.

In summary, the next time my DSL goes down, my call goes straight to billing to cancel service and switch providers. And when they try to route my call to a “customer retention agent”, I’m gonna tell them to open a fucking ticket with the help desk.

Wow, Cosmic Relief, your ISP is seriously sloppy, and you have my deepest commiserations. Our tickets never disappear, and any time I talk to a customer I have their entire ticket history right in front of me. This particular customer had one other ticket from customer service opened because his modem had gone astray in shipping, but no tech tickets at all (he had in fact been with us for less than a month).

In your case, I would be right behind you on the whole cancellation issue. What the hell good is a ticket system if you can’t refer back to it later?

Wow, wait… Did he literally say ‘the magic button’? That would’ve been comedy gold, right there.

That is a direct quote, yes. If I hadn’t been so pissed off at him, I probably would have started giggling right there.