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?
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 OutrageousInteractions.com 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.