Customers Say the Darndest Things

Photo Credit: Brian Moore via CC License, edit by Joe Goedereis

Photo Credit: Brian Moore via CC License, edit by Joe Goedereis

This post originally appeared on the FCR blog on June 21, 2016. Click here to read the original.

Work in customer service long enough and eventually you’ll encounter a customer that says or does something that leaves you shrugging your shoulders and saying “I got nothing.” A colleague of mine, when doing practice calls with new hires used to go into a bathroom and flush a toilet just to see how they would react. You laugh now but working with people is a breeding ground for the unexpected, the funny, and the just plain weird.

I thought it fitting to dedicate a blog post to this and thus asked my colleagues to share some of the weird and funny things customers have said to them on the phone. Here are some of my favorites.

Multitasking Moms

My colleague Jasmine remarked that she frequently encounters moms who pause the conversation to say “No! Put that bug down! Don’t eat it!” or “Why did you dump a whole bag of flour in the bathroom?” Moms are certainly the best at dealing with these issues while not skipping a beat on a customer service call. Kids screaming in the background is most certainly a given with these customers.

Beware of bears

Samantha, who works with a company that delivers food, had a customer specifically ask if food would be left on their doorstep. Apparently they had a lot of bears in their neighborhood. I guess that would be a reality for many people depending on where they live but unexpected if you’re fielding that question from a big city office.

Will you marry me?

My friend Jenny Dempsey has been proposed to — twice by men and once by a woman. gotnothingJust know that if you are really good at your job in customer service, it’s not unheard of for an extremely grateful customer to propose marriage.

Jade mentioned a time when she was on the phone with a customer who said he had a problem with his phone. When she asked what the problem was, he responded saying, “I don’t have your number in my phone.” Ugh! This guy can keep his cheesy pick up line.

Yeah, asking “Is there anything else I can help you with” at the end of a call can certainly elicit a variety of responses. Of a more appropriate nature, a couple colleagues mentioned customers asking for bags of money and trips to the Bahamas. Can’t fault ‘em for trying, right?

Do you clean up dead birds?

Jenny’s sister Jackie runs a cleaning service. She once had a customer ask if they could clean the dead birds out of his bathtub. Ok, that’s just gross.

Reality distortion field

Customers trying to get service without paying their bill is almost a given. My colleague, Kristina noted a time when a customer asked for a credit because their service had been down for two days. Nevermind the fact that the service was down because they failed to pay their bill.

Thanks for nothing

Chris spoke of a time when a customer once spent 45 minutes venting about an issue. All Chris did on the call was listen. He didn’t fix anything but at the end of the call the customer gave him a top satisfaction rating. Sometimes people simply want a listening ear and nothing more, while others just like to hear themselves talk.

The Socratic Method?

Sara once had a legitimate customer who spoke only in questions through an entire call. I’m speechless but would sure love to hear that call.

Under the influence

Leslie Molloy, one of our Program Managers was helping a college student. Through the call she could hear coughing in the background and then one person interrupted the caller and said, “Bro, it’s your hit.” Yes, you have to be prepared to talk to customers under the influence of all sorts of things.

Another colleague, Josh shared a time when a customer couldn’t remember their username and password because they had somewhere between one and six glasses of wine when they signed up for the service.

Conflict resolution at its finest

I had colleagues mention having to resolve issues involving spoon and rotisserie chicken theft. In both cases they were able to use superior negotiation skills and a small credit to make it right for the customer.

Tech support facepalm

Double-Facepalm-Meme-03Garland shared a time while doing tech support for a piece of technology where a customer thought “WiFi Enabled” meant that an internet connection was provided with the product.

Adrian Redlinger, another one of our Program Managers talked about a customer who went on and on about how we took her “E” away from her. Apparently she had hidden her taskbar and couldn’t find her way back to Internet Explorer.

After reading this list, it’s clear that these stories definitely add a level of fun and refreshment to life in customer service. If nothing else, we hone our ability to adapt quickly in those unexpected situations. I guarantee that everyone has at least one story to share. Leave us a comment on Facebook or Twitter and tell us one of your favorites.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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