Confessions of a Contact Centre Agent

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To make the voice of agents everywhere heard and to inject a little humour into what is sometimes a very stressful job, Interactive Intelligence launched a contest inviting contact centre agents to submit their most outrageous customer interaction stories. The more bizarre, wacky, preposterous, outlandish, unreasonable, or over-the-top, the better.

Here they reveal the confessions of a Contact Centre Agent…

Contact centre agents and managers worldwide were invited to submit their most outrageous customer interaction stories based on phone, email, letter or web chat interactions. The winners were selected by a panel of industry experts including Dr. Donald Brown, president and CEO of Interactive Intelligence.

The winning entry came from Tracy Roach, a customer service specialist who wins a trip for two to Hawaii.  Roach’s customer service story entry beat out nine other finalists with 29 per cent of the vote as a result of the online “people’s choice” voting segment of the contest. The winning entry was announced on-stage at the Internet Telephony Conference and EXPO.

As Roach explains, “I received a call from a gentleman who was very upset:

Caller: Somebody painted the outside of my branch!

Roach: Okay, sir, how can I help you today?

Caller: Why would they paint the wall?

Roach: Well sir, it could be that the paint was scuffed, or there may have been graffiti. We try to keep our buildings looking nice.

Caller: Well now I don’t have my PIN number! How am I supposed to get my money out?

Roach: I’m sorry? (I said, completely confused)

Caller: I wrote my PIN number on the wall beside the ATM, and now they’ve painted over it! Why would they do that?

Roach: It sounds like they were trying to cover up the vandalism. I’d be happy to resend your PIN number to you.”

Some other highlights from the competition included Susan McLeod of Virtual Agent Services who faced a difficult first day on the job:

“The first week on the phones at any call center is hard, you are nervous and scared of what is coming at you from the other end of that earphone, and I was no different.

“I answered my call correctly and was then asked a question by a gentleman. I asked if I could place him on hold while I found out the answer. I came back to the gentleman and said, ‘Thank you for letting me hold you’, my face turned red and I am sure he felt the heat from the other side of the phone. My caller replied, ‘You’re very welcome, I hope it was good for you too.’

The day was off to a great start and I have loved my job ever since.”

Noelle Turner, a Classifieds Manager had a slightly more risqué experience. As she explains:

“The following call took place during my training to take classified ads.

Caller: Hi, I’d like to place an ad

Turner: Sure, what is the ad for?

Caller: Queen-sized…

Turner: (I cut her off, thinking I knew everything) Oh, so you’re selling a mattress?

Caller: No, I’m looking for a companion. I’m a queen-sized, black female looking for a male.”

With more than a decade of experience developing software to help call centres provide better customer service, Interactive Intelligence knows first-hand the issues agents face every day. It was as a result of this experience that the firm decided to launch the Outrageous Interactions competition.

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing , Joe Staples adds, “Our company is in a unique position to understand the challenges contact centre agents face, but also to call attention to some of these difficult and often humorous issues they handle with grace every single day. All of the customer service entries we received from around the globe, the 50-plus articles that were published by the media, and the more than 20,000 hits to the web site show how well people relate to these stories. We extend our admiration to the millions of hard-working call center agents who keep this industry thriving.”

If anyone has any other funny stories to tell, then please send them in to us.

Author: Jo Robinson

Published On: 22nd Oct 2008 - Last modified: 27th Mar 2024
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  • Am acall center agent and always we recieve very funny calls, one of these funny calls when the callar said to me
    sara:hi how could i help you?
    callar: i have abig proplem in my phone.
    sara:can you tell me about it to get the suitable help?
    callar:yes,when i recieved missed calls you charged me.
    sara:could you please be more clear how this happen?
    callar:after i recieved missed call i call then you charged me.

    sara M.elhassan KH 29 Dec at 11:09
  • How delightful to see the funnier side of working as an agent. I’d love to have seen the other entries. The article reminded me of one of the funniest calls I took way back in the mists of time when working at BT.

    Me: Good morning your through to British Telecom how can I help you?
    Customer: My fax machine isn’t working.
    Me: Can you give me a little more detail about the problem?
    Customer: Yes, well it’s like this. I put the paper in that I want to fax but it’s not going anywhere.
    Me: I’m sorry to hear that, what do mean exactly when you say it’s not going anywhere
    Customer: Well the paper keeps coming out of the other side of the machine and it’s not going down the line.

    After struggling to hold in my laughter, I managed to solve his problem without causing offense.

    Janette Coulthard 28 Jan at 12:25
  • Me: thank you for calling my name is wiz how may I help you today

    Caller: well my problem is that the fax number that you gave me isn’t working

    Me: I see ok let me just verify that the fax number the agent that gave you the fax number is 850-xxx-xxxx???

    Caller: yes that’s right

    Me: well that’s the correct fax number, what seems to be the problem???

    Caller: well when i try to call your fax number, only a voice mail answers and something must be wrong…

    Me: mute: (Oh dear what should I do she’s speaking to our fax machine) ok ma’am how about you just send your documents to us so that you wont have to speak to our fax machine again, will that be ok???

    Caller: yes that will be fine, but try to fix your fax machine I think it’s broken…

    Me: Oh dear…

    Wiz 19 Feb at 11:48
  • I work with a technical call center for a satellite company.

    Me: How can I help you?
    Caller: My tv is black and white. Its supposed to be in color.
    Me: Have you reset your receiver?
    Caller: Yes, I have.

    After asking several probing questions about the problem…

    Me: Ma’am, do you have a color TV?
    Caller: No, this satellite is supposed to make it color!

    Freddie 24 Feb at 00:08
  • I am a CRO in a telecom call center.
    I recieved a call during my first month in company, a very angry cutomer called me up.

    Me: Hi , this is Najam, How may I help u Mr Ashraf
    (I said it in a very good mood with professional softness)

    Customer: Hmmmm, well u have called my name so nicely that now I dont want to submit any complaint, Take care.

    Najam Khan 12 Mar at 16:44
  • This happened to my co-worker when working in a discount brokerage:

    Caller: There is something wrong with you website, I want to make a trade online.

    Rep: No Problem, let’s first try closing all your windows and then reopenning them to see if that works.

    Caller: Sure, Hold on while I do that. Puts rep on hold.

    a few minutes later…

    Caller: Ok I don’t know how this will help but I’ve gone all over my home and closed my windows. Your website is still down.

    Tony 15 Oct at 20:21
  • Caller: “I need help. I’ve been getting this sasser worm everytime I log on the internet.”

    Me: “Sasser? That’s easy, sir.”

    Caller: “Alright. I’m ready to do whatever you want me.” Now that’s a thought.

    Me: “First, we need to get you off the internet. Kindly unplug your phoneline, sir.”

    Caller: “Okay, then.”

    And then there was silence. And a long beep.

    That was one of my shortest calls. ^_^

    Call center services outsourcing 26 Oct at 09:18
  • jojo: hi good mornigng..this is jojo, how may i help you today?
    caller: what kind of service are you trying to provide to your customer?..
    jojo:what dou you mean sir?
    caller: i subcribed to your $399/month internet connection for about a month now..and still i not getting any internet.if this issue keeps on happening,i’ll be forced to get my service out from you guys!!..i believe you dont want to loose a customer right?
    jojo:had you already receive the modem sir?
    caller: yes about three weeks now..
    jojo:so how many signal strenght can you see on your computer now?
    caller: oh i see,i need to have a computer then?..

    jojo 17 Apr at 03:45
  • Im working for internet tech support

    Me: Hi this is clev how can i help you.

    Customer: i would want to order a package please?

    Me: no worries. what will your order? Antenna, modem or a new plan?

    Customer: what!!!? Isnt this Pizza Hut?

    Me: Bwahahahaha!

    C.Ray Clevinger 27 Oct at 21:58
  • i used to work in a call center and i received this funny call once:

    me: thank you for calling, this is whoopi, how may i help you?
    me: i do apologize about that sir. i’d be more than happy to assist you. all we have to do is to wait for a while until the windows logo goes away.
    customer: oh.

    apparently, the computer was just booting up but he keeps on pressing the power button so it restarts!

    whoopi 23 Feb at 11:27
  • I used to work for Citibank and I was giving a password to an employee in another contry.

    Me: So your password is London1, L-O…
    Caller: HELLO?
    Me: Hi, can you hear me?
    Caller: Yes, Yes…
    Me: So I was saying, that your new password is London1. It is spelt L-O…
    Caller: HELLO?
    Me: (I started to understand that he was not understanding that I was trying to spell out London and instead he hear HELLO (L-O)
    Sir, did you understand what your password is?
    Called: No.
    Me: Ok, then I am going to spell it out for you, OK?
    Called: Yes.
    Me: So you spell your password L-O…
    Caller: HELLO? HELLO?
    My colleague heard me getting fustrated so she quickly came over redid the password, took the phone from my hand and said to the caller
    My Colleague: Sir, you password is Mumbai1… Ok… Great… have a nice day.

    xsimix 1 Apr at 13:36
  • I work in a Hotel Reservations account.

    Me: Thank you for calling, how can I assist you today?
    Me: After getting the confirmation numbers, madam it seems the confirmation number you have provided is invalid.
    Caller: WTF! That is the confirmation numbers you have sent through my email, it says UAA(United Airlines)000110022.
    Me: scrolled eyes!!!

    officeboy 22 Apr at 13:29