The title of this post... sounds familiar, doesn't it?
I'm sure we all have heard this usually-well-rehearsed statement hundreds of times... from various Customer Support people -- Credit Card Companies, Consumer Electronic Goods Suppliers, Internet Service Providers, Airline Reservations, Cellphone Companies... you name it! In fact, I was one of these "Support guys" too, till not so long ago... when I was working for Dell! Isn't it terrifying, listening to that machine-like voice (that claims to belong to a human) uttering the above fateful words? Brings to life all your worst nightmares!
When I was into my first few months taking calls for Dell, I got this caller once who actually let out a sigh of relief and said "Thank Gawd, you don't sound like a machine!" I couldn't understand at that time as to why he said such a thing. I didn't have a cellphone back then, you see. So never had to call up any Customer Support guys myself! In fact, several of my callers took my boss' email ID to tell him how pleased they were with the support I provided, and that I "even laughed on the call" (???)... and they told my boss he should give me a raise and a promotion. Of course, neither came... and eventually I just stopped giving his email ID to anyone, 'coz it wasted too much time on the call trying to explain an Indian name to those American fellas!
But anyways... enough of shameless bragging about how good I was as a Customer Support person! Let's get back to the REAL subject matter of this post!
Earlier in the evening, I had the misfortune to hear those agonizing words from a supposedly *Support* person. (I have a cellphone now you know!)
The situation is that I got my cellphone recharged with this Rs. 875 STD-Calling-Card late last night. But it wouldn't let me make any calls through it today! Repeatedly kept giving the error message that "this destination number is not reachable with this card" and that I should call Customer Support.
I was using the Rs. 650 version of the same card till now. In this STD-Calling-Card (or India-Card, as it is also known) all outgoing calls have to be pre-fixed with "*375". So if I want to call an out of town number, say a landline number in Delhi, I would enter "*375" followed by the STD code for Delhi "011" and then the 8-digit landline number. Simple enough? For cellphones, since they don't have any STD codes, I would simply enter "*3750" followed by the 10-digit cell number... just the way people normally call mobile phones... a "0" and the 10-digit number.
So this Customer Support guy answers the call after I've listened to their IVR for like 10 minutes. He listens to my problem... sounds confused... confirms that the prefix for the 875 card is the same as for the 650 card... still sounds confused... and then tells me that I need to add the STD code before the number for an out-of-town number.
I tell him I'm calling cell numbers, not landlines. He again seems a bit confused, so I tell him exactly what I'm dialling. The guy says there must be some network problem. I tell him I'm getting this specific error message repeatedly, which has "specifically" asked me to call you guys.
So he puts me on hold to *confirm* and then comes back a minute later and asks me "Are you getting any error message?"
I'm like "what was I saying till now dude!"
Anyways, I repeat the error message for him, and then wait for doomsday, as he puts me on hold again to *confirm*... again(?)... about it.
This time he comes back and tells me that he'll have to take down a complaint ("Finally!") and then transfer me to the concerned department ("Transfer? Oh! Hmmm!")... and he asks me to give him the number I was trying to call.
I had actually tried 2 different numbers, one in Guwahati and the other in Delhi. But he sounded so lost and confused, I decided to stick to only one (make things less complicated for him you know) and started to give him my sister's cell number.
"No wait. First give me the STD code."
"Oh but I told you... I was calling a cell number, not a landline."
"But Ma'am, whatever number you are calling, there will be an STD code with it. Please give that code to me."
"Well STD codes are for landlines, aren't they? And I told you, I'm not calling a landline. Why will I dial the STD code before a mobile number? We just add a '0' before the mobile numbers, don't we?"
"I need the STD code ma'am, it is mandatory."
What the f***!
"Dude! Even 10 year old kids know we just add a '0' for mobile numbers! YOU tell me what number should I give you now, when I'm not dialling any STD code!"
"I know ma'am that mobile numbers are dialled by adding just a '0'... I do the same... but it says here in this dialogue-box that I must give an STD code..."
"Fine then! Put a '0' in it!"
"I can't just put a '0' in there ma'am. I need to give a valid STD code."
"But there IS no STD code! You asked me what number I was dialling, and that's what I'm giving you!"
"Ma'am I'll need to put you on hold while I *confirm*..."
What! Not again! Pleaaassseeeee!
"Well since you need to *CONFIRM*... with someone else... about every little thing, why don't you just let me speak directly with that someone else? It'll save a lot of time for both of us!"
"But ma'am, I'll have to *confirm*..."
And I hung up on that!
One question that keeps popping-up in my insistently inquisitive mind: Why on Earth do they call this... this fiasco... "Customer SUPPORT Center"... or "Customer HELPdesk"? The guys in this department provide anything but support or help! They harass you, they torture you, they make you pull your hair out! They act like they are talking to some alien creature, who doesn't speak their language! They make you sweat, raise your blood pressure, increase your pulse rate... until you are on the verge of screaming "GOD! Let me die!" Oh! I get it... was this department so named then merely to *highlight* the fact that "Customers will NOT be given any SUPPORT or HELP here?"
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The title of this post... sounds familiar, doesn't it?