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Alive 6


This little piece  was originally written for  the benefit of some collegues 
at my workplace. With a little bit of tweaking, I thought it could go nicely 
in this issue of Alive!  At the very least, you get a window into what a lot 
of my working day is like! - CiH, Aug '02

Gribblys Guide to Customer Etiquette when phoning the workplace

"It's all about sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm.." - Tony Blair's evil twin.

"There's far too much reasonableness and politeness around these days.  It's 
getting so that virtually every conversation with a customer,  is a model of 
courteous  efficiency.  Now the current distressing lack of shouting,  back- 
biting,  and mutual hostility must be addressed straight away.  Frankly,  we 
don't  think our staff are up to it,  being the genteel bunch that they are. 
So we are relying on you,  the great British customer, to do their worst! To 
ease you along, here are a few pointers to help you get the worst out of any 
common situation on the telephone."

...Useful and Stunning tips to follow!......................................

Always give as little information  away as  possible.  When asked for a make
and  model  of  equipment,  you  can't go  wrong by  referring to its colour
instead.The description "It's big and red" will instantly conjure a thousand
diverse images, many of them sexually amusing, to our highly trained staff.

When you are first ringing up, assume the call controller has  an  immediate
familiarity  and recall of your problem,  without you hardly telling them  a
word!  In  that  case,  you  can save valuable time by dispensing with  such
superfluous items, such as your name, and the purpose of the call!

When coming back off holiday,  the first thing that you must do, to check up
on   the  status of an ongoing matter,   is to ring your service provider to
find   out.   We've  already told your collegues so they can tell you,   but
hey,   why leave it to amateurs and incompetents to talk to you,   when your
service provider can do it!   Hell, we can probably tell you about unrelated
things  like the level of belly-button fluff residing in your navel,  we are
really that good!

When our call controllers are busy,  an extra-long rambling narrative,  that
starts  with the callers great grandfather,  back in 1868,  always goes down
well. They appreciate the break from the quickfire routine of taking lots of
calls very quickly, and positively salivate with pleasure at the prospect of
a good old chinwag, which is both lengthy and frequently off-topic.

Our  call controllers are all Samaritan trained and have constant access  to
anti-depressants  disguised  as polo mints,  so a general theme of  grinding
despair worked into your monologue, will provide a welcome reminder of their
hobbytime interests!

Our  call controllers have many language skills,  especially translation  of
moronspeak  to English!  We're also more than prepared for the fact that  it
always seems to be the least articulate, or most speech defect laden members
of your staff that make phone calls to us.

For  best  results  in prolonging the length of a  call,  and  exponentially
increasing  the  amount of to-ing and fro-ing,  make sure you put the  least
experienced or most temporary person on the case.  Make sure there is a fair 
walking  distance  between the office and the workshop.  Make sure they  are 
wearing good shoes...

Kwik-fitters, when you have a car stuck on a ramp, it is always a sound move
to embellish the fact. If a car stuck on a ramp is due to go to the airport,
after  finishing a school run,  all in the next half an hour.  We're sure we
can squeeze our man in there just that little bit quicker! It just seems a
little bit fishy that the people concerned decided like  NOW was a good time
to fit a new exhaust to it?!

But remember,  our staff are top-drawer trained liars, who go on to work for
the CIA and MI5, in plausibly denying horrible things for the government. If
you are lame in your untruths, they can spot it straight away!

"First visit in the morning" can mean any time up to 10.00hrs. We are not in
breach  of  contract if he doesn't happen to be there at  two  minutes  past
door-opening time at 08.00hrs, but you should ring up as if we are!

All  our engineers are immune to all speed limits and can call on a   police
escort  to take them through any traffic hold-ups.  Additionally,  they know
lots of short-cuts, mainly through people's gardens, that you don't.

In  more extreme cases,  the engineer's van can assume the near-zero density
of  a  neutrino particle(*),  and effortlessly whip through  traffic  queues
without them feeling a thing! (*)Or is that a tachyon particle? Astrophysics 
was never my strong subject!

In  very  extreme emergencies,  or Kwik Fit visits,  our engineer will  have
priority  access  to  the  company time machine.   Thus making sure  he  can
travel back in time to stop the problem the moment before it occurs!

A  hint  to people who feel like ringing in angrily on  the  "Driven   Well? 
-  please call" phone  number  on the back of our vans.   Why not  recognise
that you  are  at least fifty percent of the problem?! and then shut up.

It   really  is  like  an  episode  of  Thunderbirds,   here  in  our  GCHQ.
Controllers  and  engineers alike,  lounge around in some unfeasibly  kitsch 
futuristic complex,  awaiting for the single callout they will get that day,
*YOUR*   call,   which  gets  a  guaranteed  or-your-money-back  gold-plated
immediate response!

It  is a customers sacred duty to find the *cheapest* possible option,  even
when  it goes against all expert advice,  good judgement,  and common sense,
and then to rant in a purple-faced fashion at us when it all goes wrong.

Re.  The  point  immediately above,  no,  surely you can get it done for less
than that?!

You  should  be aware by now,  that if you ask to speak to a manager,  these
people  don't actually exist in real life.  They are a fictional  construct,
made  up in the imaginations of bored and lonely staff members,  wishing  to
brighten  up  a  dull workday with a new imaginary friend!  So  I  shouldn't
bother in future, if I were you...

We   are  government funded by some faceless organisation with  a   sinister 
agenda  of  its own,  so when we ask for money from you,  we're just kidding
around  really!  All  invoices received should be queried with this  thought
uppermost in mind.

Or maybe our credit control department can do a pretty good impersonation of 
a  faceless  organisation with a sinister agenda of its  own,  when  they're
roused and chasing up overdue cash from people!?

And  finally,  if you smile when you are calling,  that will show through in
the  tone of your voice,  and the general nature of the call.  Same goes for
whingeing and snarling!!

CiH, Aug '02..

Alive 6