Back in 2017, I worked at a call center company after I graduated from college to fund my solo exhibit in Manila. Due to me not having any money (like I said, I just got out of college) and since I was invited to have a show, I decided to work as a call center representative for 3 months. Knowing that I'll force myself to communicate with strangers and talk in English, I gave it a go since I also know I'll learn a lot with this job which I can definitely use for my future works.
Yep, I learned a LOT and I experienced a LOT of joyful things when I worked with this job. Despite the negative shit people say about call center agents (Being a low qualification work, being an easy work, etc, which is bullshit because this work is damn hard in my opinion lmao) I never regret anything and I am proud I have worked in this industry.
Some of you might have called or chat customer service and notice that most representatives are Asians. It is because companies in the USA prefer to hire customer service representatives from third world countries because it's cheaper, it's a popular job, and due to our nature of being friendly we are the best candidates for it.
The company that I have worked for was a fast fashion online shop in the USA that caters USA and Canada. I prefer not to say the brand, but think it's quite popular there lol. They sell bags, shoes, clothes, and female accessories so most customers are women. I rarely encounter men, but if I do, it is because they are calling to buy a gift for their partners.
Since I am talking to Americans and Canadians most of the time, I learned a lot about how they talk, deal with people, etc. Some of them are nice, most are entitled "Karens", some are mean. I've had a lot of crazy and funny encounters but I will narrate some of the shit that I remember.
The non stop talker
When I was in the academy stage (we receive real calls but with heavy supervision), I had received a call from a girl saying that one of her products is damaged and she's not happy with it. She was a nice girl and a loyal customer as I can see in recent transactions.
Automatically, we will offer returns or refund for any damaged products so I offered it to her. I thought she's gonna return it but NO, she just whined about it and shared her feelings about being sad. I can clearly hear that she's really sad and disappointed so I just listened to her concern and tried to solve the issue. She talked a lot. I offered the refund (without the hassle of returning), she refused. I offered a 10% discount, she refused. Then I offered 20% discount, she refused. 50% discount, she refused. Then I offered a free product worth $40 on her next purchase, she refused. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WAAAANT!!!!
She just kept on going round in circles and I just kept being patient and listened to what she was saying. Next thing I know, I missed my break and we were talking for 3 hours already. 3 FUCKING HOURS ON PHONE!!!!! As a protocol, we aren't allowed to proactively say that we should end the call. We will wait till the customer has finished with her concerns. Since she won't stop fucking talking, I just kept my chill lol.
My supervisors were already talking to her, asking her what she wants but, damn this girl's perseverance, she still kept on talking. I forgot how it ended but she probably got tired and just gave up. In the end, I remember giving her discounts and a $40 balance that she could use to purchase cos she was nice anyway. I think she just wanted to talk to someone and doesn't have someone else to talk to, so she used this chance to do so. Damn. I hope she's fine now.
Irate social climber caller
One irate customer called claiming she received a pair of left shoes (instead of the right and left pair) and wants to return it. I immediately told her we're sorry for the inconvenience and that she needs to print a return label and drop the item to the nearest post office and the shipping would be free. It sounds a bit of a hassle, yes, cos it's the company's mistake, but we couldn't do anything else but just to tell her she needs to drop it there herself. Believe me, I really really wish that fucking company could just send someone there at her house and pick the item up so she won't have to deal with it.
She became more pissed when she knew she's gonna drop it there herself. I apologized and understood it's a hassle and just gave her a discount for the inconvenience. She's not done yet. Another problem was that she doesn't have a printer to print the return label. I told her there's a free printing service at the postal office and that she could use that. Then she ranted about not wanting to drop it there again and that someone should come pick the package up at her doorstep.
I explained again, well, she got even more mad. LIKE MA'AM THERE'S NOTHING I COULD DO!
She began saying "I won't fucking return this and just bring me back my money you fucking scammers!! Or else I will tell my 40,000 followers about this!"
Yep. Once they mention about posting it on social media, our protocol is to do our best to deescalate and adhere to what the customer wants. (You know what to do the next time you call customer service wink wink). So, I called my supervisor and just gave her a refund so it will be over.
I'm not done yet. While waiting for my supervisor, I checked her account and there were other accounts connected to it. I checked the previous transactions and it looked like the same activity was going on (wrong items, not returned but refunded). HMM, NOT SHADY HUH.
In the end, we gave her what she wanted and when I got my free time, I got curious and checked her social media sites. Guess what. She only had 19k followers! LMAO!
The clueless (?) mom
The company's thing is this:
You can get 2 products for the price of one IF you become a member. Once you become a member, you will be charged for $40 a month which is equivalent to 1 item that they sell. The $40 that they take from your credit card will be converted to 1 credit and you can use that credit to purchase anything that you want (which basically just means you are forced to order lmao). The card will be charged every month until you choose to skip the month or cancel your subscription. In order to cancel, you need to call us for that.
I received a call from a mom claiming her daughter has used her credit card without her knowledge and was charged every month for a year and a half. I could totally see that she was charged for it and there were unused credits.
"Ma'am there's $600 credits here"
"OH MY GOSH! Why?"
"You became a member on * tells date * since you purchased an item and since then you have been charged every month"
"OH MY FUCKING GOD THAT'S MY DAUGHTER"
In the end, we issued a refund and canceled her subscription. Up to this day, nobody knows if that was really her who ordered (and just forgot) or her daughter. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
One of the encounters that I won't forget was this. A mom called us saying she forgot to skip the month and was charged for $40 and needed the money back ASAP cos her son's at the hospital and needed to buy medicines.
This one knows about the membership pretty well and was a loyal customer too. I issued a refund right away and told her she has to wait for 5-7 business days for the refund to reflect back to her card. I expected her to be angry because she really needed the money but she was just really down she couldn't be mad at me (or was just really a nice person). If this was another American, I would be screamed at right now, and she has the right to do so, but she didn't. I could even hear her almost cry.
As it was a refund back to her card, it was her bank's job now to assist her to get her refund ASAP. In order for us to do that, I had to reach the supervisor and reach out to the back office team so they could issue a request number for the bank (confirming that the refund from us has taken place).
While waiting for the whole process to finish, I listened to what happened to her son and there she was, just venting out and was really sad. :( It took us her the whole day I think to get her refunds.
I wish her son is doing great now and she continues to be a loving mom.
Hulk-level mad woman
As I said earlier, once you buy something and became a member, you will be charged every month. You will see that explanation many times before getting confirmed to be a member.
Well, this woman called and said she did NOT authorize anything. I explained that it was because of her purchase that she was enrolled for the membership and that made the charge authorized.
"You fucking scammers! Return my money right this instant. You worthless piece of shit evil I will report you to the BBB and I will fucking sue you all you pigs!"
And all the other profanity being yelled at me lol.
I explained to her again that before she becomes a member there's gonna be 4 FUCKING PAGES OF CONFIRMATION SHIT BUT APPARENTLY SHE'S FUCKING BLIND SHE DID NOT READ ANY OF THOSE AND AGREED TO THE TERMS SO IT'S HER FAULT SHE'S IN THAT SITUATION but of course I did not say that lol. Not our fault they just buy without reading anything, honestly. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
So yeah, we refunded her so she'll finally be able to report us to the BBB haha.
There's always that one gal who will claim she didn't receive the package but the situation is different in reality. Like this one time a girl called and was saying she didn't receive anything. She wasn't mad, but just disappointed it was said on the website that the package has arrived but she didn't see it at her doorstep. Usually, the packages are left at the doorstep when nobody's home. Yeah, risky. But, that's just how things go there, I think. Some have their own secured PO boxes though but most of the time it's just left there, exposed to the neighbors.
So this gal just kept on saying she didn't receive anything and before I make an action for it, I checked her account and there were similar transactions that looked like she was lying and she in fact received it but just wanted a package from us, again. I think we did send her a package one last time but we usually blacklist those people who knows how to play the game LOL. But yeah. Some Americans are smart like that but just play dumb to get what they want. To be fair, that company was quite shady tho lol.
As someone who had an experience with this, I could tell you things that can probably be applied to you the next time you call customer service of any company.
It sounds very basic, but you should pay attention to the name of the representative and address her by that. Like, when her name is Joy, you should call her Joy and not "Ma'am". Doing so will make the representative assist you more because it kinda becomes personal and it is nice to be called by your name.
Pretty basic. Even if there's a slight inconvenience on your part, just be nice.
Why should I be? Is it just for the sake of being nice?
Representatives have the power to decide to just assist you with your concern, or give you a nice extra bonus. It could mean a discount, a pretty big discount, or a free month of your bill. Of course, it doesn't apply to all companies. But I know for sure companies (especially the big ones) have lots of funds to give you free stuff. You are a customer, they value you, and the representatives have the power to give you free stuff. So be nice.
Besides, after each call, we take note of everything that's happened to a call. We could put a little note there that you were nice and you deserve something nice next time you call. Or if you're mean, it will be noted there as well. Just be nice to all. They're just workers there, after all.
It's okay if you can't be nice or friendly. If you're really pissed at something and you know it's their fault, be assertive with what you want. You don't necessarily have to yell lol, but you should be assertive. Truth is, they just say they can't do something at first. It could be because it's their company's protocol to do so. But yeah, once they know you know what you want and you know what is right, they will eventually let me check if I can do something for you lol.
Okay, if it cannot be avoided, you can always yell at them. Be warned though, you shouldn't take it personally to the representative. There is a big chance they aren't even working for the company directly, so none of it is their fault. Representatives always understand your concerns and maybe 80% of the time they know that's what you're going to complain about.
Also, if you're shouting, there is a big chance the representative might not be able to do the job well (depends if they're new) because they get nervous sometimes or they have bad days or whatever. Let it out, but address the concern properly.
Uhmm, what else...
If you know your concern is valid and is something that shouldn't be taken lightly and they still haven't done what they needed to do, you can threaten to post it on social media or report it to the proper government agency. They always take those threats seriously and once the representatives get those, they will do everything to de-escalate.
Those are just some of the things I remember and pretty sure there were lots of other fun stuff as well. The tips that I said, they can't be applied to everyone. But the "be nice" tip will always work. Be nice not because you're waiting for a reward, but also be nice because you're a human and you know they are human front-liners that are just being told to do this and do that and they have emotions as well.