Monday, October 30, 2006

The good, the bad and the unbelievable

It's been a very long weekend at work for my colleagues and I at the call centre -- made all the more remarkable by the fact we scored record sales for the pizza chain we work at. Seems that one of our competitors was off line the whole time because of a water main break in Toronto that took out its phone lines -- along with about 7,000 other customers. They're back on line this day and we once again welcome the battle as we head into Hallowe'en tomorrow.

It was gratifying to see some locations get triple the business they'd normally get, even with Saturday hockey and Sunday football. And to all the customers out there who decided to try us for a change, we hope you liked our service and call again soon. To our regulars, thanks for your patience -- a lot of you had to wait as much as 10 minutes to get a pickup which is not normally our standard (it's supposed to be 20 seconds).

There is one thing, though, that's still bothering me -- the concept that the "customer is always right." That is simply not the case. Sadly, there are a lot of people out there who think they can get a free pizza out of us by playing hard and fast with the "rules." These include people who say they know all the "loopholes" -- that is, they used to work for us. For the record, we clarified and tightened some of the rules anymore so we won't get ripped off as often, but we still do. They should know this: We do keep a paper trail, as do the stores; and eventually they get blacklisted.

One customer last night phoned just after the stores closed asking where her order was. It was a fair sized one. Interestingly, the ordertaker -- probably a new one -- didn't notice the address was clearly marked "No Go after 9 PM," something that applies to all the addresses on that particular street. We've had security problems there before and it's no longer worth the risk to the driver. Clearly, this was our mistake, not that of the store. I was about to offer a credit to this customer for the pre-tax value of the order -- about $43.00 -- but just as I entered the data on the complaint client, she hung up. Five minutes later, she called another agent in customer service, claimed I was harrassing her; then cancelled the order and threatened to call the police.

I want you to consider that for a minute. It was our mistake, and we wanted to do right by her, essentially giving her the full value of her order that she could use next time. A store closing or a no go area are the only times we offer a full value credit, on anything else or during business hours it's item replacement or a credit for a missing item and that alone. She yells at me as if it was my fault; so I'm prepared to give her -- um, the full monty -- and she hangs up before hearing the offer; then says there will be legal repercussions.

Take it up with our corporate lawyer, lady. We record all calls, and filing a false police report is itself a criminal offence. Besides, you were clearly told it was a no go area, and you had the chutzpah to come up with a sob story about "we've always delivered after dark"?

It's people like her that are the reason we've had to change the rules. Her refusal to accept anything, denoted by her hanging up, has been duly noted and is on her file. Next time, she'll be offered squat -- exactly what she got out of it last night. And don't even think about calling back today, because we only resolve issues like that the day of the order. This is not being unsympathetic. It's about being fair to both the store as well as to my co-workers. All we can do at our end is let the agent know about his or her mistake and hope it is not repeated. Usually, a simple discussion makes sure it doesn't.

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