just wait, it's coming! dddragon presents: Is Anything Truly Random?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Call Center Life

WARNING: this is a long post, and really not all that interesting. But it's all true:

I got into a conversation with a woman about the names that children are given (we sell lots of personalized items). Her friend had become a grandmother earlier in the week, and after three days, the baby still didn't have a name. It seems that the new parents did have a name picked out already - the little boy was to have the names of the new parents' grandfathers from both sides of the family. But the new daddy's mother had decided that wasn't good enough. The new boy should have the name of not only his greatgrandfather, but his grandfather (the woman's husband). The poor new parents were trying not to cause fights, with the new mom leaving it to her husband to speak to his mother.

I told my customer that maybe someone should read that Bible passage about sons leaving their mothers and cleaving to their wives. She laughed and said that was a good idea. I then said that I was glad that neither my mother nor my MIL tried to influence our decisions about names - something that I hadn't realized until that moment.

Funny how blessings aren't always appreicated until much later.


Then there was the woman who called to say that she was on our website and couldn't find any children's robes.

I told her that we didn't sell any robes for children, but we did have bath wraps. I instructed her to type "bath wrap" in the search box to find them. "We have several very cute bath wraps," I said, waiting for the page to load.

She did - and then said "oh, these are just bath wraps, I'm looking for robes!"

It was hard not to laugh.


Yesterday's odd place name is Cut Off, Louisiana. I didn't get to ask about it, because we didn't have the item that the woman was looking for (surprise!!), but I did look it up later. The name seems to be more interesting than the place itself.


And finally, our issues with personalization.

We personalize ALOT of items. Thousands and thousands of Xmas stockings, jewelry boxes, backpacks, duffles and much, much more. The number of mistakes that are made, I'm told, are less than 1%.

The backpacks and duffles have several shipments coming in, but we've got so many orders that the availability has been pushed back to February and March for some sizes and colors. So if you really want one, you really should go ahead and order it, 'cause it's only going to get worse.

Anyway, week before last a woman called to say that she was ordering a duffle online, but the thread color options puzzled her. It was "red" or "SL". I sighed - SL was the vendor code for Bellaire Grey (no, I don't know why), so I let her know that if she wanted grey thread for the monogram (as the photos in BOTH the catalog and on the internet show), then she could go ahead and select "SL" as the thread option. I wrote up a trouble ticket and turned it in so that it would be corrected. The website is updated every Thursday.

Yesterday I get a call to order a pink backpack and pink duffle (but for different kids). The backpack has grey trim and some yellow accents. The duffle is just pink with grey trim - no yellow anywhere. The woman had given me the backpack number first and to my surprise only the yellow thread option came up. Hmmm ... but she was okay with that, because the photo did show it with yellow thread, too, and it did have some other yellow elsewhere.

Then she gave me the duffle bag item number ... and only yellow thread came up there, too. hmMMM ... what's going on here? I told her that I would have to investigate, and spoke to a supervisor. I wondered if the correction to my previous trouble ticket had resulted in someone removing the whole option, instead of replacing "SL" with "Grey" on the website. But wait, our ordering system is separate from that ... what gives? The supervisor told me to write up more trouble tickets (for the website and our ordering system, the AS400) and let the customer know that I would/could complete the order next week.

The customer was fine with that and gave me several more items - it ended up being a BIG order.

So I took a trouble ticket back to Karen, who is our liasion with corporate about catalog and AS400 problems. I explained that the grey needed to be reloaded as a thread option. She said - oh, that ain't going to happen, the thread options were never supposed to include grey.

NEVER? These duffle bags have been shown with grey thread for more than two months!!

Karen said it took her that long to get corporate to correct it. Mind you, the duffles are ALL trimmed in GREY. But the thread options are yellow on pink, medium blue on green, dark blue on red, medium blue on navy. ONLY. Mind you - they were never shown in any photo that way. Only grey thread.

  • So they were photographed that way - no one caught on.
  • Proofs were sent and approved - no one caught on.
  • Catalog proofs were sent and approved - no one caught on.
  • Catalogs were printed and mailed out - and we've been taking orders for grey thread personalization
  • And the same items were pictured again and again in the catalog and the internet - and they still are pictured that way.
So I had to call the customer back and tell her that the thread was never supposed to be grey as shown in the photo. It was never going to happen for her. Apologized. She was STEAMED. Never rude to me, but I could just feel the anger. She told me it was deceptive to show it in a way that was not available. I agreed and apologized again. I was waiting for her to cancel the $1000+ order right then and there. But she only cancelled the duffle bag. (The entire call, trouble tickets, consulting and so forth took an hour.)

But I have to wonder: did ANYone ever get ANY duffle bags with grey thread? How 'come the Sales Dept. never heard of this? It's not like it's the first time there was a mistake - we're told and then we inform our customers. I suspect that the Personalization Dept. (in Memphis) has been doing them in grey anyway, and have just now been told not to. But that's just a guess.



At 9:24 AM, Blogger Doug said...

AS400 is HAL's nickname.

I think maybe TLP should have gotten involved when you named your children Goa'uld and Bookworm.

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Haha, Doug.

Love these stories; working in a call enter can be tedious, but you certainly do get your share of interesting encounters.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

I enjoyed the post. Read it all.

Yeah, I never would have picked Goa'uld and Bookworm for the girls' names. I can think of two lovely names for them.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Well cancel my duffle order too. In case I phoned one in. I can't remember. No, wait, I don't need a duffle. Cancel my order for suitcases, just in case I ordered some. And I don't want the jewelry, either, since you don't have gray thread.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Old Hoss, *LOL*

Re: Personalization - it's OK to a small extent (if everyone has the same duffle bag for instance) but I swore a long time ago to never date a man with vanity license plates. I think it makes sense, don't you?

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Minka said...

Babies don´t get a name here until they are christened. The priest is the first to announce the name. Sometimes you are just "the baby" for months. After the priest announced the name of the baby, which is usually followed by one neighbour tipping the other and asking "What name did he say?", you go home to the little feast and there is a cake with the name of the baby engraved...so actually the baker knows the name first...now that I come to think of it!

At 8:58 PM, Blogger AP3 said...

Yeah, good post!

It's true that we don't notice most blessings until long after the fact... pity!


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