O customer, my customer, you can suck it

I’m having a bit of mean-spirited gloating right now.

A problem customer ordered material. We notified him a couple of different ways about the price increases this year, but he apparently ignored our notifications. So, he got material and the invoice and called to scream at one of my people.

He got transferred to me and angrily demanded a discount, an apology, blah blah blah. We don’t want the material back, so I told him I’d see what I can do.

In investigating this customer, I discover that he has legacy pricing, meaning his base pricing was set years ago before I was here and that he used to buy in greater volume than he currently does. So, I called him back and said that I would give him a discount on the material. My apology was also forthcoming: Sorry to tell you this but you’re at list price for all future orders.

The upshot? He saves $200 on this $8000 invoice. If he orders this amount of material in the future it will cost him $12000. If he hadn’t made waves, he would still be at legacy pricing. Win-win for us. If he buys from us at the new price, we make more money. If he goes away, we won’t miss him in the slightest.

The moral of this story? If you’ve got it good, don’t be a jackass. The results may not be to your taste.

Love it! Just remember: the customer is always right.

Except when they’re wrong.

How true it is.

Once upon a time there was a large telecommunications company with a long history of being broken up, then buying back bits that had been broken off, merging with other bits, and generally lurching around the marketplace with an endless stream of new ideas and no actual planning or followthrough. This left a hodgepodge of systems, calling plans, and policies that was a nightmare for anyone who had to deal with it, customer or employee.

I got a job working for them, and eventually found myself as one of the guys you talk to when you say “I want to talk to your boss!”

One day an agent came up to my desk and said that she needed me to take over a call because the customer was very upset about the price we wanted him to pay for a new phone. We went over what she had done so far, and what options were available, and she’d done everything she could to get him a good price, so I took the call.

While the customer was telling me how horrified he was that we were asking him to actually BUY a telephone, rather than giving him one for free to keep his valued custom, I was pulling up his account in the front end system that we used to make changes to and keep track of the features on the account.

While he was berating me for wasting his time rather than just giving him the (rather expensive) phone he wanted, I was pulling up his account in the system that handled the actual physical processes of allowing him to use our network, switches and towers and such.

While he was threatening to have me fired for not having solved his problem yet I was trying to pull up his account in the ancient program that handled the billing. I tried several times, to no avail. I just could not find it.

At the time I was very much into the technical aspects of the job, and this was a potentially fascinating issue. The customer was safely continuing to vent, having moved on to how he paid my salary, and was good for another 5 minutes before he would need a reply, so I went back to the front end system to look at his bills and see if I could track down why I couldn’t find them in the billing system. It was very powerful, very cranky, and very DOS like. Any new information or commands I could bring to my fellow geeks would win me much cred.

The front end system showed no billing information either.

A few minutes of judicious questions to the customer (reverse social engineering, as it were) confirmed what the systems showed: his account existed in the general access system, it existed in the tower and switch system, but it didn’t exist in the billing system.

For 17 months he had been receiving absolutely free unlimited service. No billing information existed, no bills were generated, so he received none. For 17 months. This is either a situation you would have resolved earlier to avoid problems in the future or one you don’t poke at because you don’t want it to end. Not this guy.

The phone being 17 months old, he decided he needed a new one. He decided he wouldn’t buy one elsewhere and quietly put it on the account, but would call the company that hadn’t been billing him to buy one from them. He decided he didn’t like the price that they were offering, and demanded to speak to someone higher up, because he believed he deserved a free phone to continue his free service.

The best part was the genuine hurt in his voice when I explained that not only would he not be getting a free phone, but he would be getting a monthly bill from now on. He really didn’t understand how we could do that to him, after he’d been a loyal customer for 17 months.

Oh my god, it’s the same guy! :smiley:

I don’t suppose there was any way to bill him x17 for services rendered? That would shut him up. :slight_smile:

This guy gives stupid people a bad name, I really cannot see how anyone could be so entitled, to not only steal from the company, but to try and then score a new free phone to continue stealing.

Sure there was a way: fill out a voucher (that was form SW-47xx?). But we wouldn’t normally do that. I used to perform the job that would have had me referring the customer to 3trew, if I was unable or unwilling to handle the situation. I once had a customer call, bitching about being charged for Touchtone service after a repair call. (Debates about whether the Evil Phone Company should charge for Touchtone should go somewhere else.) But a repairman had noticed that it was Touchtone service and had it added to the customer’s billing. She called, complaining about it, as she’d never paid for it before. I told her I couldn’t make it free, but she didn’t like that answer. I told if she requested to have it removed, there would be the normal service order charges*; she didn’t like that answer, either. I told her I’d found the original order for Touchtone service, and could now quantify the error, as she was starting to get on my nerves. She owed us for 6 years and some months of Touchtone service, at $2.05 per month (the going rate in our territory at the time). She was outraged, not knowing that we almost always just ate those kinds of errors. I explained that if she wanted me to take some action, that was about the only action available to me. We decided together that leaving things as they stood (where she paid for Touchtone going forward, but not for the past charges we’d omitted OR the charges for the order which installed it in the first place), was a solution she could live with, after all.

She probably thought I was an asshole and the phone company sucked, and she was right. But I doubt she realized was that she was an asshole, too.

*and that was all that multi-element order pricing crap: service order charge, central office access charge, customer premise visit charge, set handling charges…it would have cost her a small fortune to go back to dial phones - yikes!

You’re not talking about CRIS are you? That wasn’t DOS, that was IMS DB/DC using MFS displays (DIFS/DOFS, MIDS/MODS) on an MVS OS. :slight_smile:

That reminds me of something I recently dealt with. I work in my company’s IT department. We had a complaint come in that someone wasn’t able to listen to XM radio on his computer. Apparantly this was an urgent issue. :rolleyes:

I explained to him that our proxy is set up to block the common streaming video and audio sites, to reduce the strain on our bandwidth.

“Oh yeah?” says he, “Then why does Sirius radio work?” He then pulls up Sirius’ web site and starts playing a radio station, acting very smug and pleased with himself.

“Ah, yes.” says I, “I’ll get that fixed right away”.

I made sure the guy was copied on the work ticket, which stated:

Issue: Sirius, a streaming audio website, is not currently blocked by our proxy.
Resolution: Sirius is now blocked.


Ah yes, the delusional sense of self-entitlement rears it’s ugly head once again.

Any of you folks ever experience this from the other side? By that, I mean Senior Management that will do anything (I mean anything) that an irate customer demands?

That slaphead is the kind of idiot who ruins it for everyone. For the love of God, everyone knows you don’t TELL IT when a good site is still unblocked. :mad:

These are great stories here. People getting super deals (and steals, too!), and that’s not enough so they wreck it for themselves. Heh.

Oh, sure. I work in benefits outsourcing. The companies we work for often give their employees whatever breaks they ask for, just because they don’t want to worry about complaints. I worked on one client that always automatically approved all appeals, and several that will let you make changes to your elections for the year until at least the end of January, even if their election period ended in October.

Well, how did you guys do the notifications? Has anyone else been caught unaware by the pricing increases?

We fax and mail all price increases one month before they go into effect–which he admitted to receiving but said he “didn’t read.” Though he also claimed he “had one in front of him” and that it was for “five percent” though we have not ever sent out a five percent increase notification.

We also fax out a confirmation of all orders that shows the pricing for that order–a confirmation that he also admitted to having but said he “didn’t read.”

And no, there have been no others caught unaware. We are good at our jobs.