14 March, 2011


The Stress Fiend has been honing her communications and customer service skills lately, focusing on a couple of parts of her position description in particular:

Whenever someone calls her from an internal number, she won't answer her phone until she's looked the number up in the internal directory so she can see who they are. If the number isn't listed, she won't answer and just lets the phone ring out ... again, and again, and again.
If the number is listed, she'll sometimes decide arbitrarily that it's about something they're "supposed" to call us about on the general number, and will just let it ring out.
Then when she does pick up, she either explodes with so much false bonhomie that passing birds fall dead from the sky, or (if it's someone she's friendly with) snarls angrily down the phone about the stupidity of our clients.
Occasionally, for variety, she'll sneer condescendingly at a client and imply that everything is somehow their fault.
"I'm sick of people always emailing me directly when they know they're supposed to send stuff to the team's general account. Move the emails into the shared Inbox so other people can act on them and reply from there? Why would I want to do that? People might find out what I'm up to if I did that!"

Oh, where to begin, where to begin... She's been excelling herself here, lately.
One of the annoying things our clients tend to do is ignore any of the information published on our website, or that they suspect hasn't been personally tailored for their unique situation that's just like 90% of the other requests we also get. Instead, they prefer long personal phone calls and email exchanges, where we reiterate the published information or confirm that no, the form letter they received wasn't an elaborate practical joke perpetrated at their expense.
(In fairness, I get the impression that some of the clients who've been around for a while have sound historical reasons for distrusting anything on the organisation's intranet, and as for form letters ... well, let's just say that whenever Ted laid his hands on a form letter, his unique cut-and-paste skills had all the elegance of a starving wolverine and a wounded elk, with none of the wolverine's clarity of purpose.)
In any case, the Stress Fiend erupts every time a client asks us to confirm something they've already been told, or asks us to (essentially) read aloud to them the email they've just received from us. It's frustrating, beyond a doubt, and in a sane world you could be forgiven for thinking that we'd treasure and nurture those clients who do read what we send them (or, at the very least, have them stuffed and mounted to preserve them for future generations).
But, alas, my workplace does not exist in a sane world. In fact, as should be well and truly obvious by now, it exists on some obscure plane of Hell and I've been confined here for what I can only presume were vile crimes committed in a previous life. In which case I can only hope my past self had enough fun to make it worthwhile. The bastard.
Anyway. To paraphrase:
"These idiot clients! What do they think they're doing?"
I look at what they've done. I look at what she's told them to do, and...
"They've done exactly what you told them to do?"
"Yes! Exactly! They should know by now they're supposed to do something completely different from that! Just because I told them to do it doesn't mean they should do it. Why aren't they reading my mind and doing what I want them to do instead of what I tell them to do? How can they be so f***ing stupid?"

And if that wasn't a clear enough case of someone wanting to have their Rage Cake and eat it, try this for size:
"GRAAARRRR!" she roars, looking at our job queue. "Why are there idiots not giving us the details, like the name of the person this is actually for?"
I brave the madness of the service desk queue and have a look. Sure enough, there are a whole bunch of newly-created jobs listed for "anonymous", and because they all appear to have been system-generated jobs there isn't even anyone we can contact to fill in the gaps. In fact...
"It looks like these have all been generated by those new web-forms that were put up for us a few days ago."
"They are. And these frigging idiots just aren't filling it out right!"
I have a look at the offending web forms.
"I see the problem. The form design doesn't have any place for the clients to enter any of those details."
"Oh, yeah, I know about that. But they should bloody well enter them into the 'additional information' field that's there for them!"
"Or we could just get the form redesigned so that it actually captures the information we need."
"No,  not yet. I'll give it a month and see how things go before asking them to redo the form for us."
"Oh..." Because it doesn't need a lot of foresight to guess how things are going to go. And, scant minutes later:
"And there's another one who hasn't filled everything out! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!?" 

1 comment:

klc said...

A particularly fine entry (though one of many). Keep 'em coming. :)