Which Customer Service Cliches Most Get On Your Nerves?

We all have customer service horror stories, and so many of them involve customer service reps repeating the same old irritating bromides.

There’s the tried-and-true “I’m sorry, but I can’t make that change in the system,” to the classic buck-passer, “I can pass you on to a manager, but she’s just going to tell you the same thing.”

And of course all customer service reps “understand your problem” and are “very sorry to hear that you’re unhappy.”

So here’s your chance to vent about those tired phrases you could go the rest of your life without ever having to hear while trying to resolve a bill, track a package, get a refund or prove that you’re not dead.

Sound off in the comments and thank you for shopping at Consumerist.

Comments

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  1. Lolotehe says:

    “I’m not very computer literate…”

    OH! You meant when I *call* customer service.

    • diasdiem says:

      THIS. God, and they always say it in that half-jokey sort of voice that seems to say “Ha, isn’t that funny?” No. It isn’t funny that you don’t know how to use a machine that has been almost integral to Western civilization for at least the last 20 years.

      Either that, or they use that sort of dismissive tone someone might use while saying, “I don’t cotton to none of that fancy book-larnin’!”

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Some people have been in their industry for decades, since well before the advent of common-use computers. And even though they’ve had to deal with them for the decades since, never really get comfortable with them. My mother, for example, is very good at what she does, but has never been comfortable with computer technology. As she has gotten older, she feels left behind by advancing technology, but people still have to do what they have to do.

      Also, there are still people growing up today who don’t have computers at home and have limited access. Strange but true.

  2. uber_mensch says:

    “Please bear with me”

    • Keep talking...I'm listening says:

      Oooh…I want to bear with you…I’ll be Yogi, and you can be Boo-Boo!

      LOL

    • madmallard says:

      this one is a function of the belief that any dead air on the line during the call is somehow unprofessional.

      or something.

      • DorianDanger says:

        Exactly. On our quality assurance followups, they ding us (not sure about other places but I assume the same.) for dead air. They ask us to fill it in with ANYTHING, just keep talking.

        • NatalieErin says:

          Interesting. I recently spent an obscene amount of time on the phone with Home Depot, and I was actually quite thankful that the rep did not attempt to chat with me the whole time. He popped back into the call periodically to let me know he hadn’t disconnected but otherwise left me be.

          • Golfer Bob says:

            Which is how it should be, but some call centers do not allow the hold and do ding for dead air. However, I had a CSR who repeated “bear with me” so many times during one call, that I went to her desk to see if she was in some type of ursine danger. Guess how she replaced that cliche? She then began to say “processing, processing” to fill the dead air. Good job!

        • Sharwnthla says:

          Yeah “Dead Air” will get you dinged on a call review QUICK!

      • Nisun says:

        Agreed!

    • CustomerServiceAgent says:

      Lets remember that us reps takes hundreds of calls every week. The common phrases you hear are distilled from hundreds of calls. Do I like saying “bear with me”? no Do I like hearing customers ask Hello? HELLO?! after a three second pause? Yes indeedy.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Have you ever worked on a computer that’s loaded with junk, 5 years out of its use-by-date and still in service?
      Ok, then you understand how those CSR’s feel while they STILL try to be nice and get your problem solved in under 5 minutes or take a pay dock because their call timers are too high.

      Seriously. Those computers are shit – you’re lucky they can even do anything.

      • Morwen says:

        THIS! Whole heartedly agree.

      • Sharwnthla says:

        Exactly, the support rep you are talking to is normally working an ancient POS system that had been handed down the chain of command over and over again for years before the poor reps get it. We have dozens of programs thet have to all have up and running, and call times to worry about.

        The place I work wont give me a new system even though doing technical support, it take a good 15 to 20 minutes to open ONE of the core products we open because the system has NO free space with all the programs we have. I have an ancient PC with a tiny hard drive with no storage space. and to top that off we had to add encryption software that prevents us from using an external device to store any documentation.

        Also we have to say “Bear with me” to enter detailed notations if there is something involved going on because we HAVE to keep you on the line, if you hang up we can NOT take time between calls to properly note your issue, because we are hardly allowed any “After Call Work” time, and what little we do get is minimal and precious.

        Another thing that is the reason for a lot with little filler comments like that is obsessive call monitoring. Many places I have worked the rules state that if you have ANY dead air you get dinged.

  3. APriusAndAGrill says:

    I hate it when they will not admit that they did something wrong, as a company. Sometimes, all you want is an apology from the company as a whole.

    • Abradax says:

      You’d hate me as a customer service agent then. I refused to apologize for the company as a whole. I would apologize for your situation, and sincerely meant it. But it is beyond my paygrade to offer an apology for xyz corp.

    • Sharwnthla says:

      Many places wont LET the rep admit fault, even if the company is dead wrong. A few places I have worked admitting the company was in the wrong was worthy of termination of employment.

      • peebozi says:

        Ok, fuck it, I’ll say it…”and the concentration camp guards were just following orders, don’t be perturbed with them”.

        • Tenebrioun says:

          Yea, you’re right, since what we do is the same thing as killing millions of people, we should definately quit as opposed to feeding ourselves and our family.

  4. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    “The supervisor is unavailable” or “I am the highest ranking person in this department.”

    • MurderGirl says:

      I always respond to that with “Is there someone there that can fire you right now?”

    • Robofish says:

      Most of the tmie that is actually true at least in my office.

    • pastthemission says:

      or the ‘you’ll be on hold for at least 20 minutes’ to try to get you to go away. I don’t really mind if it’s going to take 20 minutes, just turn up the phone volume, put it down, and pick it back up when the music cuts out and someone says hello.

    • Anachronism says:

      Corrolary to this is the “My supervisor is in meetings all day and is not available.”

      It really ticks them off when you say something like “I understand that they are busy, and will be happy to wait AS LONG AS IT TAKES to speak with them, thanks.”

      Being that most call center “customer disservice” reps are evaluated on job performance by their handle time, politely informing them that I will destroy theirs usually results in one of three results:

      1. They actually take action and fix the issue to get me off their line.
      2. They actually get me to somebody that may or may not fix the problem, upon which the cycle starts again.
      3. They hang up on me, sometimes using colorful language- example from Microsoft “Oh go fuck yourself *click*”

      Note to companies- If you actually wish to give any credibility to your customer service, build in a defined escalation ladder. Heaven forbid that you actually have to work to resolve complaints, but it will both keep you customer and help keep them happy.

      There are few lies more ridiculous than a CSR rep earning $8.50 an hour at a fortune 500 company telling somebody that they are the final say on a matter, that there is nobody above them, that they don’t have a supervisor or somebody above them, that they are completely unsupervised and their “manager is in meetings all day,” or any other ridiculous reason that CSR’s are trained to respond rather than actually address an issue.

      • Anri says:

        When I worked at a Fortune 500 company call center I made close to $20/hr and often was the last person in the escalation line. Did I have supervisors? Yes, my department had 5 sups, who didn’t work past 10pm (7 pm PST), weren’t always around on weekends, and due to schedules we could easily have 2 or 3 on duty, all of whom were in meetings. And anyways, a manager who looks at sales numbers all day and doesn’t even know where to find the phone number for your local office, much less how to use any of the CSR software is not going to do anything but apologize, put you on hold, and ask me what to do. Perhaps your problems come from treating everyone like they are nothing but minimum wage drones?

      • madmallard says:

        perhaps you could then tell people to quit calling at 11:00pm on a Saturday with the expectation that anyone of any authority is actually there to hand the phone off to?

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        eh, a couple of times a year all supervisors at my place of employment do actually have an all day off site meeting. however, my customer service department is very empowered to make real decisions and i make a good bit more than $8.50 an hour because of that.
        but i wouldn’t put it past some companies to leave their employees unsupervised for several hours even without good training or decision making powers

      • Charles Bronson says:

        Of course, the other possibility is that they are doing their job, which is talking to you (and other customers). Their managers have a job to do, too, which doesn’t involve talking to customers. It involves managing the people who talk to customers. The manager may or may not have ever had a job talking to customers, in much the same way the manager at a hotel may not have ever worked as part of the housekeeping staff. Companies hire people to perform tasks, and you may not like it, but the guy on the phone saying he’s the highest person you can speak to probably is. Just because you don’t like his answer doesn’t mean he’s not doing his job 100% correctly.

    • omniomi says:

      This is sometimes true. In a company where I worked doing technical support the escalation path was:

      Tier 1 -> Tier 2

      and that was it.

      The “Supervisor Request Line”? Also Tier 2. The only people above Tier 2 were actual supervisors (read: managers) but as far as actual ability to resolve issues the managers had less access then the Tier 2 reps; they were literally just supervisors. If you wanted a free repair only tier 2 could auth it, if you wanted some free appeasement only tier 2 could auth it.

      If you insisted on talking to a manager and they decided maybe we should waive a fee or something they would pass the phone back to the tier 2 agent who would actually waive it and that tier 2 agent could have made the decision without the manager.

      The best part is if you emailed the “executive” or the “CEO” it went to a department called Executive Relations which also had less power then Tier 2, if you convinced Exec Relations to replace your computer they would transfer you to Tier 2 or at least consult with Tier 2 to make sure a new computer would actually work to resolve whatever the issue was.

      All companies have escalation paths and if you just phone the dang number you’re supposed to call and talk to the people they tell you to talk to and stop demanding supervisors or emailing CEO’s everything will be fine.

      The real kicker? I was a corporate trainer and used to train Tier 2 agents all over the country and yet I still took calls from time to time, you never know who is answering your call – give them a chance. When I told customers I was the end of the line it was true, all of the managers on the floor where I was taking calls had received their training from me.

      • jefeloco says:

        I experienced pretty much the same thing in my time at T-Mobile in a call center. Supervisors and team leads were there to support the needs of the employee, not as an additional level of support for the customer. We had our tier 2 group (who could give better freebies and whatnot) and our supervisors and team leads had the same authorization as them but if you spoke to a lead/sup and turned their offer down, you turned down any future offers on that subject.

        We also had trainers and even some HR people who would take calls while groups were in meetings so you really never did know who was going to take your call, sometimes they had 6 years of constant experience while sometimes the person only took 2 hours of calls a month.

        I have to get this out there too, I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who calls T-Mo and gets routed to the former Suncom call center since they all suck.

    • debones says:

      Every call center I have worked…I am the highest. Sure I have a supervisor, but it is not their job to take phone calls. It is their job to ensure I have adequate training to do my job, it’s their job to make sure I perform according to my metrics, and it’s their job to manage the others on my team. Not take phone calls. Sorry, my customers can email my supervisor but they’re not going to talk to him/her on the phone as that takes away their time to help the others on my team.

      Also, the last call center I worked at Tuesdays was meeting day. You call Tuesday before 5PM and you are 100% guaranteed to not speak with a supervisor on the phone and you will get the b.s. about everyone being in a meeting. Honestly, I wish they weren’t because questions still come up that a supervisor needs to answer but lo and behold they’re not around.

  5. scoccaro says:

    Having to verify the part number/serial number/model number every single time i am transferred to somebody else.

    • misterfuss says:

      I hate this and having to re-verify my identity every time I get transferred!

    • xspook says:

      And, after being prompted to enter an account number, the person I speak with then asks me for my account number – that I just entered.

      • Alisha Gray says:

        The call center where I work makes people do that. It’s a security measure so us underpaid CSRs don’t steal peoples’ credit cards. Then we ask for the last four digits and people think the system is broken.

    • ellemdee says:

      My cable company requires me to enter my phone number at the beginning of the call to pull up my account. When I try to pay a bill using the automated system or if I need to talk to a CS rep, I’m always asked for it a second time. What’s the point of asking for it the first time, then (besides “busy work”)? They also won’t allow me to hear my balance If I selet the “make a payment” option – I have to manually type in my balance (which I have to look up first). Poor menu design.

      • Scuba Steve says:

        Its because it only works the first time you talk to someone. When we transfer the information is still on that first person’s computer, but we have no way to transfer it when we transfer the call.

        Does it suck? Yes. Blame the call center software, its made by companies that just phone it in anyway.

      • nonsane says:

        i’m willing to bet a high enough percent type their number wrong that this is a time saving question.

  6. Darrone says:

    “I don’t know what that person told you, but we can’t do that”

    Translation: I don’t care enough to do that and I think you’re lying.

    • doughrama says:

      Translation: Somebody fed you a line of crap to make you go away.

      There FTFY.

    • angienessyo says:

      No, this seriously happens. At Starbucks a lot of employees have been feeding customers lies about getting a free cup of coffee when you buy a pound of coffee. This is only true if you’re a gold card member or if you bring in one of the bags from the grocery store pounds that have a little coupon on the side. I’ve had customers get mad at me for not giving them a free coffee because other people at other stores have done it, but it is not company policy and employees that tell you otherwise are lying.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        Would it be a terminable offense to give them a free cup anyway? Seriously, is saving the 15 cents that that would cost the company really worth it?

        • MW says:

          Might not be a terminable offense, but if it’s something the manager doesn’t want done (and frankly it’s only the barista’s word that the customer wasn’t a friend or something), then they could get into trouble over it. There’s a lot that a nasty manager can do to make someone’s life miserable before ever getting to termination, and considering the amount of managers who do that stuff with no provocation whatsoever, it’s not a stretch to think someone could get into trouble for a cup of coffee. They might even force the barista to pay for it on top of everything else.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      You’ve obviously never worked for AT&T. AT&T store employees LIE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW. “Oh don’t worry, CUstomer service can get that fee removed! This feature is only a trial and we promise it won’t recurring bill!”
      BULL.
      SHIT.

      If I could tell the customer that they’re lying asshats, I would. But you can’t. You have to say it in a PR friendly way and that makes us all look incompetent and makes the customer unhappy but its not my fault they’re dickheads and lied to you in the first place.

      • Morwen says:

        ” AT&T store employees LIE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW. “

        It sounds like we may have had the same job, hahaha. I handled calls about online oders for AT&T/Cingular a few years ago. Half the irate calls were people who had been misled or outright lied to be physical store employees.

      • roguemarvel says:

        Oh heck..yeah when I worked customer service in banking tellers lied all the time either because they didn’t want to deal with a customer or be the one to tell them no…or because they had been poorly trained and didn’t know. It was very frustrating and honestly it sucks having to be the one to say no…I’m sorry someone in our company was an ass and lied to you about what could be done.

    • Fortyseven says:

      Similar to that…back when I used to work for SBC in Connecticut doing directory assistance, we took over mobile phone 411 service for Cingular in **California**. Other than getting familiar with regional quirks and things of that nature, it really wasn’t terribly different from giving assistance in my home state. Still a city, state, name search on the same interface with the same recorded response with their requested number. (Understandably, callers were stunned to find out they were talking to someone on the other side of the country — how could I possibly give them accurate information? *gasp*)

      Anyway, tangent there… back to business:

      When Cingular handled directory assistance, they were able to give customers credit for out of service or incorrect numbers. They were USED to it… When they handed control over to SBC, however, you guessed it: we had absolutely no facility in the software to refund a caller’s credit for the call. I cringed every time I had to tell them that only Cingular customer service could do that now. Some thought I was full of shit; some thought I simply didn’t know how to do my job. (Though most were fairly understanding, it’s that venomous handful that made it hard.)

      Every now and then I’d hear stories from my then-peers saying how they didn’t even bother with telling the customer the details anymore and just gave a cheerful “OKAY!” when asked for credit. The customer didn’t know any better, and they’d be a lifetime away before they got their bill and blew their stack.

      Not only was that a rotten thing to do to a caller, but it also put the pressure on the rest of us… “I just called TODAY and they GAVE ME CREDIT!!”

      Ugh. I do not miss that job. Had some really cool people on the line, but the complete assholes and just plain rude and/or ignorant idiots made it hell. Worst two years of my life. :P

  7. Hotscot says:

    When they end the call with the scripted
    “Have I adequately helped you today”

    and I say

    “No, of course not, you didn’t fix the issue I called about”

    • mac-phisto says:

      lol, for real. or how about, “is there anything else i can help you with?”

      what do you mean anything else? you haven’t helped me with anything yet.

      • nonsane says:

        As a rep you can take this moment to make a funny
        “anything else i can’t help you with”
        or
        “anything else i can try to help you with”

        • Clumber says:

          Not my current job, but a previous call center support tech job : No we could not take that opportunity or we would be docked and have to have yet another inane “discussion” with our supervisors where our commitment to providing quality service would be questioned.

          We were rated on word-for-word buzz phrases we had to incorporate into every call, regardless if it applied.

          You did notice, I hope, that I no longer work there. And I gave that as part of my reason for leaving during the exit interview, along with “I refuse to lie to customers, which is what the new policy is requiring me to do.” CSRs are people just like you, most of us want to do a great job and solve your issues at least as much as you want them solved. Rarely are we the appropriate ones to lambaste. Sometimes yes – we are. But sometimes so are you.

    • jeffbone says:

      I got into a do-loop with one of AT&T’s mouth-breathers while trying to help my father transfer his phone service:

      “Have I provided you with excellent service today?”
      “No, you didn’t answer my question. Please transfer me to someone who can.”
      “I’m sorry to hear that, what can I do to provide you with excellent service?”
      “Please transfer me to the other department which can provide me with my order status.”
      “OK, I can transfer you but I would still like to know if I provided excellent service.”
      (lather, rinse, repeat two more times…)
      “FINE! You provided me with excellent service! Now please transfer me to the correct department!”
      (another mental note to never do business with the DeathStar again…)

      • chaelyc says:

        This happened to me (not with a telemarketer but an actual live person) at the car dealership. I ordered a part & a month went by with no call or anything. I kept calling but never got a person who knew where it was on the line. About 6 weeks later I get a letter in the mail, strangely at my mom’s house instead of mine, from the original person at the dealership saying that Lexus would be sending me a survey about her service & I HAD TO give her all 4′s (4 being EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE) or else something unnamed but terrible would happen. Meanwhile, my car was still broken.

        She had never even bothered to complete the transaction, yet I was getting a threatening letter in the mail about how I had better rate it highly.

        There’s something wrong when the reps are more concerned with their scores than actually completing a job to the satisfaction of the customer.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        They HAVE to ask that or they risk being terminated. Please don’t eat your CSR because they’re a corporate drone. Go chew on the company; We aren’t mouthbreathers, thanks.

    • jesusofcool says:

      I HATE that.
      The canned “Thank you for calling x, Is there anything else I can help you with today?”
      Um…you didn’t help me with the first thing I called about, so no.

      Close runner up is “I apologize for the inconvenience.” No you don’t. That’s just a nice way of saying, “Sorry, there’s jack I can do about your problem”

      • mingtae says:

        As CSRs, we HAVE to say those lines because it counts towards our evaluations. Even if you do not like the answer to your question, it does not mean the CSR did not attempt to help you and is moving on to see if you have another question. I had a customer with an issue in regards to an escalated issue that had to do with field technicians. I told the customer I would pass the information along to help get the problem fixed sooner. When I asked him, genuinely, if there was anything else I could help him with, he gave the same response as you “Um…you didn’t help me with the first thing I called about, so no.” Well, yes, I did help out to the best of my ability. It is not like I can jump in my car, drive out to his home and fix his problem. Try being a little more reasonable and less of an ass clown. After all, your account is noted.

        • jefeloco says:

          This is why I would always close calls with a recap of what I DID help the customer with that day. “Did I help you with your issue today?” doesn’t sound anywhere as complete as “Thank you for letting me help you with setting up auto-pay on your account today, we also changed your first name to “sponge” and verified the calls you made to Canada on the 24th, have a pleasant day.”

          I genuinely did everything I could to assist people with the issues they called in with but you can’t ask if you’ve been suitable or helpful because people will always find something else to bring up in those instances. I had co-workers who would fix the customer’s issue only to ask if they helped sufficiently that day and be told “No, you didn’t (actions related to issue #2 that I didn’t bring up until now) so I HATE YOU!!!!”

    • UberGeek says:

      That very question helped me with a recent issue over an $8/month fee. When the CSR asked that, I politely said, “not exactly. I understand your side now but it didn’t solve my issue.” Much to my surprise, she asked to put me on hold for a little longer and came back with an unrelated discount in excess of the disputed fee. Twist my arm, I’m happy now.

  8. HoJu says:

    “I’m sorry, my computer is running kind of slow today.”
    As opposed to every other day…

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      I hate that one. I used to work in Training in a call center environment and I always told them never to make any reference to anything which might indicate that the company was using less than the latest in technology. Blaming the computers is a terrible excuse for representatives not being able to navigate systems fast enough or having a slow response time from the servers. I especially hate it when that phrase sounds like it was built into their scripting. Lame…

      • kung fu lola says:

        How is “having a slow repsonse time from the servers” also the CSRs fault? What are they supposed to say when that is the case? Do you really expect CSRs to take responsibility for something which they had no say in – the administration of their network traffic and processing speed of machines they didn’t choose to purchase?

        • Sharwnthla says:

          Really, it is not the reps fault they are normally given ancient out dated systems, with too many required programs, and slow network connections. I WISH my system and the programs installed on it could keep up with me.

    • Larraque eats babies says:

      My immediate response: “Have you tried rebooting?”

    • Alisha Gray says:

      One time I was on a call in the middle of collecting a customer’s information, and my computer turned off. I had to wait several minutes for the outdated little thing to restart, and I felt so bad for the customer. At least it was a patient one, unlike the people who start screaming and cursing when I ask how they are doing. :p

    • Spacebabe47 says:

      One time when I was working in a call center, we were taking overflow calls from a utility company when there was a blackout somewhere in the midwest. The call volume was higher than the system was designed to handle, and so our computers were absurdly slow. Like type in something, and wait a minute for the next screen. I felt bad for the people calling in because it took forever to get through a call. Our ancient computers were usually much faster. This was on top of the fact that we had absolutely no training on how to handle calls like this. It was a terrible (but unusual) day.

    • Cantras says:

      I’d like to defend myself with yes, our computer system is a collective POS. It just is. Sorry. Sometimes it is the computer being slow. I hate saying it because I know it sounds like “doooo dooo i just don’t think real quick” but sometimes I key in commands and it just sits. Especially if a customer has several pages of old accounts that I need to flip through to get to the current one.

    • gbhicks says:

      It’s true. Some days, us reps, our computers work better than other days.

  9. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    Being interrupted when I’m trying to explain something. GAH!!!!!!

    • poco says:

      This. Especially when they interrupt to ask me about what I was trying to explain.
      Me: Well, the problem is-
      Them: So, what’s the problem?

    • diasdiem says:

      I get customers that try to tell me their life story over the phone, when all I really want to know is exactly what the problem is. And then there’s the customers that interrupt YOU by asking what you want them to do when you’re in the middle of telling them what to do.

      • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

        If I were rambling or repeating myself, it would make a little more sense, but I’m careful to be concise and clear and it still happens. Rude as shit. It also happens not just with call centers, but other place of business, such as doctors’ offices:

        {Erika calls the number listed on the business card of the clinic}
        Erika: “Good morning, I’d like to make an appointment with–”
        Bitch on the phone interrupts: “This isn’t appointments; I’ll transfer you.”
        Erika: “Tha–” oh wait, the line is dead.

        It’s really so hard to let the person finish their sentence and then responding cheerfully? It takes like four nanoseconds, doesn’t make you look like an fool with zero manners and doesn’t make your place of employment look unprofessional and surly.

    • mingtae says:

      It is a two way street. Most of the times, my customers are either repeating themselves after I’ve already acknowledged my understanding of the problem. So I usually let them speak. But I have been interrupted constantly as I am explaining the whats, wheres and whys.

    • gbhicks says:

      That’s because, half the time, the agent knows what the problem is within the first few sentences, or you’re rambling and talking about something that doesn’t have anything to do with the cause of the problem.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This might not be exactly what the article is going for, but the greeters at the Texas Roadhouse (steakhouse) restaurant near me use the exact same dialogue every time I visit. As they walk us to our seat they say nearly word for word every time:

    “How are you doing today?”
    “How was your last visit with us?”
    “Have you tried our fall-off-the-bone ribs?”

    It has nearly never wavered by a word, and we go there once every 2-3 weeks for the last 1-2 years.

    • APriusAndAGrill says:

      to combat this one…. you just have to say what they are going to say right before they say it.

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        That’s an awesome idea.

        • FuzzyWillow says:

          I do that at Toys R us whenever they ask if I need batteries, I then tell them I will not give them my zip code, I don’t want to pre-purchase move tickets, or pre-purcase video games.

          If I’m in a mood, I point out that their battery prices are higher than every other store in the area.

    • captadam says:

      “Hi, my name is Chad, and I’ll be takin’ care of ya today …” (Said as Chad kneels down by the table to be all friendly and casual-like.)

    • mikedt says:

      Gee after the first 200 visits I would have thought they’d be addressing you by your first name. 2-3 times a week?!?

    • Intheknow says:

      I love the food there, but the way the females flirt with men (who they mistakenly believe ALWAYS pay) leaves me cold. I love how after I’ve sat through a meal watching them cozy up to the man I’m with, they bring the check and look so disappointed when I don’t leave much of a tip because it’s ME who’s paying. I also hate the line dancing, when all of the females (NEVER the guys) stop waiting on tables, bringing food, etc., to “dance” for 10 minutes. I love that my food is sitting up there under the lights during this cutesy parade. Argggggggg!

      • Draw2much says:

        Really? I wonder if it’s your area. I’ve gone with my husband and without him. We get the same service and I haven’t noticed anyone flirt with him. In fact, when I go by myself (whether I’m sitting at a table or stuck at the bar because every where else is packed) the waitresses and waiters are all really polite and friendly. The ladies who work at the bar are particularly friendly, even when it’s super busy. (I’d prefer sitting at the bar more often if the seats and table weren’t so awkward for eating…)

        I am not generally observant about these types of things, but it’s really noticeable at my Texas Roadhouse. They always hire young attractive women. Normally college girls. You NEVER see older, plain, or (even slightly) over weight women at this restaurant. And while there are guys there, they are few and far between by comparison to the women. (They generally don’t look as chippy or happy as the girls either.)

  11. AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

    “I’ll have my supervisor call you back.”

    Maybe not a bromide so much as an outright lie . . .

    • haggis for the soul says:

      I know. I had a bank rep the other day tell me she had to talk to her supervisor and she would call me right back, and then she CALLED ME RIGHT BACK! I was shocked, shocked I tell you!

  12. carefree dude says:

    *waits 30 minutes to get to a real person*

    yes, I will help you with your problem. Will you please hold?

    *CSR hangs up rather than putting you on hold*

  13. Jesse says:

    “Thank you for choosing [company name]“

    and

    “Have a good one!” or “Have a great day!” (But that is more of a general cliche I hate I guess)

    • mingtae says:

      These are things that must be said according to corporate or else the call evaluation fails. Don’t hate the CSR, hate the evaluation.

  14. shamowfski says:

    “I’m very sorry to hear that”, and “I can help you out with that”. They are neither of those things.

    • kwheel596 says:

      I work for customer care, say both of those things and in November also assisted 96% of the calls I took successfully without failure.
      :)

    • reds97 says:

      I use to say that.. and i did care.

    • chaelyc says:

      “Very sorry” might as well sound like “sucks to be you!”

      I appreciate that they’re trying to have empathy for your situation, but it usually sounds disingenuous. I don’t expect some low level CSR to truly be sorry because they didn’t cause the problem in the first place. I expect the company to show they’re sorry by giving their CSR’s the ability to correct the error. The words “very sorry” are a shitty pacifier for the fact that they can’t usually offer an actual solution.

    • Abradax says:

      The “I can help you with that” is part of a training program called ServiceMentor. And I hated it. I’d rather just help the customer than follow a script.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        Yes, the scripts are so obvious and annoying. This is the one thing about dealing with Charter reps that drives me nuts. I’m lucky, I know.

    • Corinthos says:

      When I worked it we were force to give those responsives.

  15. floor9 says:

    Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed.

    • mobiuschic42 says:

      yes! Especially when they leave that up 3+ months after they’ve changed the options.

    • TasteyCat says:

      My company does this when I call an internal support number. The options, for my purposes at least, are the same as they have been for years. Nonetheless, they force me to listen 20 seconds to the recording.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      I think that one is to get you to maybe listen better. I hate it too though.

    • gparlett says:

      Yes, Yes, Yes… I hate this. They don’t know the last time that I called, they have no idea if the menu options have changed since I called last, and they clearly have no respect for my time, since they would rather make me listen to that than give me my options.

    • fieldy920 says:

      It’s almost required though, due to the amount of mouth-breathers not listening to the recordings in the first place and button-mashing the keypad because they think they’re right in their selection. YOU may know what you want to press, but this helps get people where they need to go by alerting idiots to a “change”.

  16. I'm a tweeple too! says:

    When they try to empathize with me, ” oh yes, I have had that problem too…and I would be as upset as you are (then they tell me no stupidvisor available and have a nice day)”

    The have a nice day reeeaalllly makes me want to punch out the wall/phone especially after an irritiating phone call that has accomplished nothing but making my blood pressure spike.

  17. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    “Please restart your router.”

    …grrrr. All I wanted was for them to release my DHCP lease on their end! Resetting the router wouldn’t do anything!

    • Rachacha says:

      That is when you SAY that you are resetting the router, and restarting the computer and jumping on one foot while rubbing your belly and singing the latest Katy Perry Song even though you aren’t actually doing it. They have a checklist that they need to follow, so you can either argue with them for 10 minutes telling them that you have already done steps 1-10 on their checklist and need to be routed to a senior technician, or you can spend 5 minutes saying that you are doing something and it is not helping. so that when they get to step 11, they will transfer you to the senior technician.

      • SonicPhoenix says:

        I used to do remote desktop support and I always grinned a little when someone told me that they had already rebooted. I’d log into their system remotely, open task manager and check the system idle time which was almost invariably in the thousands of hours (translation – the system hadn’t been rebooted in months).

        I’d always politely say, “Just to be sure let me go ahead and reboot that for you real quick.” And lo and behold, about 90% of the time it would resolve the issue I claimed it would probably resolve.

        But then again I knew what the hell I was doing and wasn’t relegated to reading some stupid script.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad to restart when the need arises. But when all I need is a DCHP lease to be released… let my DHCP go!

          • Rena says:

            Yeah it’s great fun when the problem can’t possibly be on your end, but they make you go through the script anyway.

            “Hello, your account page is showing an SQL error” “OK first try rebooting your computer” Yeah sure. Boy this thing reboots fast.

    • EmDeeEm says:

      I hate that in general. I did it three times before I called you.

    • angienessyo says:

      Oh dear lord don’t get me started on that one. Every time I’ve ever had an issue with my internet the customer service guy will always tell me that. In my explanation of what’s going on with my internet I will always say “I’ve restarted my router, unplugged it, left it for 10 seconds and plugged it back in, scanned my computer for viruses/spyware in safe mode, etc.” 9 times out of 10 they usually won’t ask me to restart the modem, but there’s always that one person that will still say it. I’m assuming it’s out of habit but it’s still annoying.

      There was a time I was having problems with my internet for a good week and I called every day about it and they always gave me the same crap. I tested my internet on both my desktop and laptop(I get on the net with this laptop a handful of times a year). They came and replaced the modem, same problem. Then they start telling me I must have a virus or in the guy’s own words “your desktop and laptop both conveniently broke at the same time” which was impossible since I never use my laptop. They kept giving me the same stupid restart your modem suggestion which never worked. I finally took my laptop to work, took screenshots that the internet worked perfectly fine there and they finally fixed it.

      • FredKlein says:

        I work in tech support in a retail environment. The company’s stores are my ‘customers’. I really hate it when I call a store and ask them to reboot a device, only to be told ‘I tried that already’. Did you ever think that I might have changed something on my end? (Usually something too complex for them to understand, which is why I didn’t explain it to them to begin with. Just shut up and reboot already!)

      • gbhicks says:

        i never EVER tell somebody that the problem is with their computers…especially if both computers are down, or the issue is effecting All computers. That’s just horrid.

      • coldfire409 says:

        Often it’s because if we don’t ask you to do that stuff you already did we can get dinged on that call. Also many times I’ve had customers tell me they’ve done all that stuff and I get them back online with a simple powercycle of all their equipment. Also if they have a Motorola, RCA, or Arris modem check to see if you’re on standby. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had somebody call do everything you said and the problem is that the modem was in standby.

    • gbhicks says:

      In order to finish the dhcp release, we have to have you restart the router. I have people do this all the time. It doesn’t take properly if you don’t.

  18. Invalid_User_Name says:

    “Is there anything else I can help you with?” after they haven’t resolved the original problem and this is their approved-script way of dismissing you.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      ^ This. God, I hate this.

    • mingtae says:

      On 25% of the calls I take per day, some one actually does have something else to ask me. Also, just because your problem is not resolved does not mean the CSR is not doing their job properly. It means you are not happy with the end result.

  19. idx says:

    “Have a comcastic day!”

  20. banndndc says:

    “Sorry you are upset” is the absolute worst for me. It’s the absolute worst form of non-apology. They aren’t sorry for the problem, they are sorry i think it’s a problem. nothing gets my hackles up more than that insincere meaningless weaselly phrase. it doesn’t show empathy it shows disinterest and disrespect. argh…

    that and asking for my name, address etc every single time you get transferred.

  21. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    “I understand your frustration and I apologize. The Comcast Guarantee means that it is my job to assure your satisfaction.”

    Translation: “Go to DirecTV if you think anyone is going to care.”

    • I'm a tweeple too! says:

      And if you think Direct Tv cares….

      :peals of maniac laughter:

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        Directv might be a joke to some, but I’ve been with them for 5 years and besides a few bumps they’ve been great. All companies have their pitfalls I guess, I’ve been lucky with them.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          Their phone CSRs are actually great. They can’t DO anything a lot of the time, but I have never ever gotten a bad one.

  22. toddkravos says:

    “According to our records…”

    “There’s no documenation of your previous call”

    “There is no one in this department here by that name”

    “My :superior’s title here: is going to tell you the same as I”

    “That’s not possible”

    “I understand you’re upset”

    “That’s not how debits and credits are applied to your checking account”

    • mingtae says:

      “According to our records…” – means someone noted the account properly

      “There’s no documenation of your previous call” – means someone did not do their job when you spoke to them.

      “There is no one in this department here by that name” – means the last person lied to you

      “My :superior’s title here: is going to tell you the same as I” – means exactly what it means

      “That’s not possible” – ditto

      “I understand you’re upset” – Just following script here and being polite

      “That’s not how debits and credits are applied to your checking account”

  23. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Entering ungodly amounts of information about the call/problem (name, phone number, serial number, etc.) only to have the CRS ask me again when I get through.

  24. elkosteve says:

    We are currently experiencing higher-than-normal call volume. Your call will be answered in the order received…

    If I get that message every time, it’s no longer “higher-than-normal”, it’s just plain normal!

    • Jetts says:

      I’m guessing… Telus?

      They’ve had that on the hold recording for as long as I’ve been calling them, so eight years now for me. How can the call volumes be higher than expected for eight years?

  25. Jozef says:

    “Please unplug your device, wait for five seconds and plug it back in.”

    • S says:

      Tech: I know that you said you’ve restarted the modem several times already, but can you unplug it for 30 seconds while I’m on the phone with you. It probably just needs to reset.

      Me: Well, I’m 95% certain that the problem is on your end, but o.k. (click pen near microphone instead of unplugging modem again)

      Tech: (muffled rapid typing noises) Allright, now just count to 30 and plug it back in.

      Me: (notices connect light on modem light up) Nah, everything seems to be working now that you’ve sorted out the problem on your end.

      • Silverhawk says:

        I have had this EXACT conversation with AT&T support.

      • gbhicks says:

        …He was probably releasing your dhcp lease, and just didn’t tell you that’s what he was doing while your router was disconnected. The typing was just him documenting it. (everything command wise is point and click…you won’t hear the mouse.)

  26. oldsewnsew says:

    “Your call is important to us…….”

  27. oldsewnsew says:

    “Your call is important to us….”

  28. anduin says:

    at the end of the call when they say about 2-4 sentences that could have just been, “Can I help you with anything else?”

  29. cmp179 says:

    EVERY TIME I call Discover about something, they try to get me to pay for credit protection (or whatever it’s called). When I say that I’m not interested, they say something like, “and I understand why you would be reluctant, but . . . .” Luckily, they stop when I say no the second time.

    Also, Sovereign Bank is constantly trying to get me to opt in to allow them to overdraft my account. They used to only do this when I called about something, but now they even do it when I actually go to the bank. I have lost count of how many times I’ve said no to this, but they keep asking anyway.

    • Alisha Gray says:

      I work for a company that does that. If we don’t do the ‘I understand your hesitation but…’ line, we get fired. But we aren’t allowed to do more than one rebuttal unless the person says ‘no because I am retired/disabled/unemployed’, and they’re very strict on that too.

    • HannahK says:

      I could have written this.

      One of the Discover reps who called me seemed pretty offended when I declined his offer, and he went past pushy into straight up rude. I complained to customer service through a secure email, and they offered to mark my account as “do not market”. It sounded like bs, but since then I haven’t gotten a single call or email pushing one of their products, so I think that this designation must actually exist in their system.

      With Sovereign though… I am planning to close the account because of their pushiness. It’s really shameless.

    • zmnatz says:

      Wow, you get them to stop suggesting it after 2 “no”s. That never worked for me. I now go with “No and if you suggest it again I’ll cancel my credit card”

    • TasteyCat says:

      Last time I got a call from Sovereign Bank, the message merely said it was a “courteousy call” without any explanation attached. When I called back, the person was not available, so rather than playing phone tag, I just went into the local branch since I work in the same parking lot. Turned out it was due to the overdraft protection, about which they said I had to make a decision. So my decision was no.

    • brownhb says:

      Oh my god. One time I was canceling my credit card identity theft protection (I realized they had signed me up for several) and the woman went on a 3 minute long rant about how important it was. She started saying things like, someone could get your name and take an AIDS test with it, and then your results could be positive and everyone would know. It was ridiculous!

      My pet peeve: long, unintelligible sales pitches that go on for 60 seconds or more, and you can’t get in a word edgewise or understand anything because they’ve recited it 500 times that day. Jeez, just send it to me in writing.

  30. Thyme for an edit button says:

    “I’m sorry, but that’s what my computer says.”

    Then silence when I ask why the computer says that.

  31. pop top says:

    I know a lot of Consumerist readers aren’t sympathetic to the front-level associates’ plight, but really, a lot of this stuff they HAVE TO say. I’m so sorry that you don’t like hearing it, but a lot of employers require them to fill silences instead of leaving the customer hanging, or tell them to say specific key phrases, or say certain things at the end of the call like asking you if you were helped. I understand this is a general gripe thread, but some of these complaints show how people don’t understand the fundamental basics of customer service.

    • I'm a tweeple too! says:

      If we felt we were GETTING serviced rather than served, we might be more sympathetic.

      Try speaking without sounding as if you are reading a script, I know you are – you know you are but it is a lie with which I can live…we will just both wink and get to the good part. The part where YOU HELP ME or find someone who can help me.

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        I work at a job were we use a lot of phone scripting, and we were encouraged, when I was trained, to adjust our delivery so that it comes across as more natural sounding. To not use the same exact phrasing each time.

        of course, each of us just came up with two or three scripts that switch out overthe course of the day or the particular situation, and I’m sure they come across as mechanical.

        • I'm a tweeple too! says:

          Agreed, reading the same thing over and over again must be a royal pain in the erm yeah that area. :) I can also accept that if you deviate from the script the non existent manager will be listening in on the call, as they say for training purposes and you may lose your job.

          But sound like you care, if you are bored hearing the same thing from us imagine what we feel – I know you have 100 people saying your product sucks or worse. I know you have people assuming that you personally have decided to screw with their lives by causing (whatever product) to crash/burn/not work. But whilst the customer is NOT always right the customer is always frustrated when they call – I may be in the minority here but even if you say to me I am doing the best I can – if you sound like you mean it I may believe it.

      • pop top says:

        I understand the annoyance at not getting the level of service you want but you have to be realistic—the front-line employees can only do what they’re empowered to do and have to do what they’re told. That includes reading from a script, whether you like it or not. It’s more important to them to keep their job than to make you happy. E-mail the executives and the corporate board, you know, the people who can actually change the policy. Don’t dump on the little guy just because you are mad about the situation.

        • MountainRooster says:

          Going to have have to unplug for 10 seconds when you reboot this time.

          • pop top says:

            I didn’t reply to your post because it wasn’t funny, and it’s not funny the second time either. The workers are people too and you should treat them as such. Acting like anyone who defends them is a robot or something just makes you look childish.

            • Doubts42 says:

              No it was pretty funny, both times.
              I work phone support, I have done so with and without scripts.
              You seem to have missed the part where no one is attacking the rep. We are all attacking the procedures and scripts.

              • tungstencoil says:

                I was going to say pretty much the same thing – we’re criticizing the process, not necessarily the person.

            • FrugalFreak says:

              AH the poor CSR’s.

            • hobochangbar says:

              And a little courtesy does still go a long way, well often still does. I’ve racked up enough time in customer service both as front line & the supervisor the front line bumps calls up to to to say this with confidence. While a good CS rep. will not actively do things to cause you trouble just because you were rude to them they are less likely to go above & beyond for you when you are rude. There’s always a little gray area where they have some discretion on how to proceed. This is where starting off on the right foot can help you. When the assumption is that the next caller is going to be a pain in the ass, because the last dozen were, and you start the call politely you can disarm them and get them wanting to help you. Even on calls where I’m too angry to hide it I still make it clear that I’m not angry with them personally.

              I’m still amazed at just how rude some folks will be on the phone, more so than even the biggest douchebag would be in person.

            • scouts honor says:

              No, it was pretty funny.

    • MountainRooster says:

      No, the gripes show that customer service doesn’t understand the customer. You have been corrupted. Reboot and repost so we all know if you were cured. Then stay on the line for this short survey.

    • LandruBek says:

      This is a strawman argument. No one is saying the CSRs themselves are the villains.

      The problem is the whole shoddy system: it’s the weaselly script writers; it’s the business decisions to understaff the call centers and to set policy so that the CSRs have to be merciless and rushed; it’s the legal departments that won’t let CSRs apologize for screw-ups; and also lazy, lying CSRs themselves get a share of the blame too.

      (Not all CSRs are lazy liars, just some of them; not all businesses have lousy customer service, either.)

    • Kristoffer says:

      I think everyone here knows that in most all of these cases the employee is required to say these things, that they are reading from a script and are not allowed to deviate from that, etc.

      The article is titled “Which Customer Service Cliches Most Get On Your Nerves?” and the people here are answering that.

      If you work for one of the companies that makes you say some of the things mentioned here maybe you should print it off and slip it under upper managements door, post it up in the break room, leave several copies laying around, etc.

  32. StevePierce says:

    Your business is very important to us. Please stay on the line for the next available representative.

    If my business was really that important, they would have hired enough people to answer the phone instead of putting me on hold for 28 minutes.

    – Steve

    • Sarge says:

      THIS!

    • sgmax2 says:

      Yes, oh yes, oh yes! When the “we value your business” or “your business is very important to us” rolls round on the recorded announcement for the 256th time, I get a little chatty with the (non-responsive) phone …

    • Rena says:

      So very much this. I don’t know what’s worse, that you put me on hold for half an hour, or that you insist on interrupting every 60 seconds (or less!) to tell me that my call is important to you, so that I can’t even try to enjoy the music while I wait. Can’t you just keep playing music or even silence so I can just put it on speakerphone and wait without being subjected to this torment?

      Seriously, I’m always astonished when I spend less than 30 minutes on hold to any major company or tech support line, as it’s quite a rare occurrence.

  33. tanyamel says:

    Cable companies – “Reboot the system.” And then when that doesn’t work, because it never does, “I’ll have to make an appointment to have a technician come out.” They literally only have one ‘troubleshoot’. Reboot. That’s it. Useless!

    • CreekDog says:

      I’d call Comcast to see if there was an outage and they’d do this to me every single time and never once was it my system and never once did it require an appointment.

      What’s worse is that they’d have you reboot your system, but also the modem, they’d ask you to unplug your phones and then when it didn’t work they’d jump to scheduling an appointment.

      I once asked them if I could simply call them and report an outage. No. Stupid Comcast. You could never call them to report or do something simple without getting stuck in a mind numbing loop of pointless talking and activity (prefaced with hearing Ben Stein and whomever bark at you to try pay per view for whatever sporting even you don’t watch…).

      I don’t think AT&T is much better in terms of cable or internet, but while deciding whether to stick with AT&T (after my first month) or go back to Comcast, while on the phone with Comcast trying to cancel my account, the endless runaround (that Comcast truly excelled at) they put me through gave me an epiphany,

      “Wow, what a nightmare, this is my 5th call to cancel my account, just like it took 7 to 8 calls to get them to stop disconnecting my cable cards a year earlier and the multiple calls in between when they tried to bill me for equipment I never requested, nor had…this is what happens when you have Comcast. I really am going to cancel –this time forever.”

      • mingtae says:

        “I once asked them if I could simply call them and report an outage. No. Stupid Comcast”

        Because what if it really is not an outage? Then you are calling back the next day to complain that your services have not been fixed. Duh! Its really a problem inside your home. Realistically, yes, you can simply report an outage but unless your neighbors are also calling or the computer system shows a couple of modems out in the area, reporting an outage means you will be calling back the next day.

    • kwheel596 says:

      Well, its either reboot the system or crawl behind your 9000 pound entertainment system to unplug and replug in every single wire on the box (which by the way actually works, regardless of how many times you say no one touches them or how tight they already are)

  34. MountainRooster says:

    Not speaking English!

    • kwheel596 says:

      Well you do live in a country without a national language. English is clearly the dominant language but is no where listed as the official national language.

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      I highly doubt anybody answers your calls and doesn’t speak english. They may speak english as a second (or third or fourth) language, but they always speak english.

      Personally I hate the intolerance American’s seem to have for people with accents. The way I figure it, they learned one of the most complicated languages to speak, so that makes them smarter than me. I speak English pretty well, but that is it. If they can speak Tagalog, Spanish, Hindi, Russian, or whatever language is native to them AND speak fluent enough English to work in a call center, then they deserve some respect.

      • Doubts42 says:

        I have no problem with people who speak with accents. That does not mean i feel they are qualified to work in customer service over the telephone. The primary job requirement there is to be able to communicate with your paying customer. If I truly can not understand what you are saying then you are not helping me, you are wasting my time.

        • bethshanin says:

          As much as I hate to say this, you are right. I have had both excellent and horrible experiences. The best being a guy named “John” from Bangladesh who spoke better English with only a tiny accent on one or two words (which it why I asked where he was) clearer than my companies own CS reps. I pointed out the fact that he had no accent and where did he learn that and was told he watches the american news channels to get “non-regional dialect”.

          The worst experience was a Microsoft call that I could not understand a damned thing no matter how many times repeated slowly. Frustrated, I hung up and called back to wait another 45 mins to get someone I could understand.

          If I could only speak a little, horrible Spanish, I would not take a job answering the phone for frustrated Spanish clients. I’d just make the situation worse.

          • Rena says:

            Yes, there are times I call and get someone with such a thick accent I just can’t understand a word they say. Not much help.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I hate it too. We have a lot of people call where I work who have some kind of accent. They call from New York City, they call from California, both big melting pots, and they sometimes call from overseas. I can hear the inside reps talk to them and they sometimes talk differently than when they’re dealing with a native speaker. Then when they hang up, they make remarks. I’ve heard this even when the accented person speaks perfect English.

        That contempt bleeds into the interaction. That’s NOT good customer service, people.

      • lyllydd says:

        My problem is not so much with accents or with people who speak English as a second language. I grew up overseas, I’m more than accustomed to various accents, and love hearing them.
        My problem is that I’m dealing with a company that uses cheap foreign labor, sending jobs and investments overseas when our economy is in the crapper and Americans need the work.
        I also have a problem with calling someplace on the other side of the international date line when I may need a tech to come to my home to solve the problem.
        This is only exacerbated when the call center staffer on the other end of my call tries to convince me that he or she is just down the block by making conversation about American pop culture. Nope. Not buying it.

  35. flipflopsnpolos says:

    I’m a manager for a major nationwide cellular company. Coming from the customer service providers perspective, there are some really irritating things that customers tend to say.

    Here are my top 3 most hated customer statements:

    1) Greeter: “Welcome to ABC Wireless. What brings you in today?”
    Customer: “My car.”

    2) “The customer is always right.”

    3) “I don’t know my cell phone number. I never call myself, haha heh heh ha.”

    • FrugalFreak says:

      “The customer is always right.”

      I’m sorry, What Company do you work for? If I use it, I’ll be sure to amend this situation rather quickly.

    • DorianDanger says:

      As a call center worker- I enjoy this one:

      “I’m sure you’d rather just give me the discount then lose a customer.”

    • perfectly_cromulent says:

      these were my top 3 as well when i used to work for Verizon! I had a manager who would ever so smoothly tell the customer “actually sir/ma’am, the customer is not always right. We are clearly explaining why such-and-such is happening, and unfortuantely we are not allowed to change the rules just because you don’t like them”.

      It worked most of the time, he was always polite and friendly while saying this too. It was so awesome to have a customer escalate up to management and then get told this.

  36. Bativac says:

    Working in a dreaded call center as I do, let me pass on a couple “behind the scenes” stories regarding these cliches.

    1) Inavailability of management: my center had (up until last month) a “management line” that we were directed to call, should management be requested by a customer. We were told in no uncertain terms that it was not their job to deal with customer concerns, it was ours, and frequency of calls transferred to management counted against us. Nevertheless, it came up from time to time – understandably, in many cases. Management would routinely not answer the phone, or all management would be in a three hour “management meeting,” and then disregard any messages they were given.

    2) “No record of the previous call:” in my call center, if the person who answers the phone doesn’t add a note to the customer’s file, then there is in fact no record of that call. If a call center rep is concerned that they are saying something they shouldn’t, or if they just don’t feel like following up on something, they’ll either leave it out of their file update or just not update the file at all. Sure, management might catch it occasionally, but with four hundred reps each taking 20 to 30 calls a day, there is no way they’ll catch it most of the time.

    3) “My computer is running slow:” If they updated our computer systems more frequently than once every three to four years, and updated them with something more up-to-date than the three to four year old systems they currently use, the computers might not run so slow.

    4) I also hate “there’s nothing I can do for you” because 9 times out of 10, there IS something they can do, but the rep is being stubborn and refusing to budge. Why that happens, I have no idea. Sometimes people are just bastards.

    • Morwen says:

      20-30 calls a DAY? Do you work part time? I used to take 100+ calls in an 8 hour shift. On busy days it was pushing 200.

  37. Jesse says:

    I worked in public accounting for 3 years. When we would call the IRS for clients, they would loop the same part of “Waltz of the Flowers” from the Nutcracker for hold music. Sometimes I would be on hold for 45 minutes waiting for an agent to pick up. It was absolute torture because I couldn’t just put the phone on speaker since I was in a cubicle with neighbors.

    But they eventually changed that, thank God.

  38. rahntwo says:

    Press one for English (I won’t)

    I’ll be happy to remove you from our mailing list. (Yeah Right)

    • RayanneGraff says:

      I forgot about press 1 for english. This BS never fails to make my blood boil. This is America, we speak english here, so learn english if you wanna live here. And I say this as an immigrant!

  39. Thyme for an edit button says:

    “Thank you for calling. My name Peggy. Tell me what is problem please.”

    But “Peggy” is a man working in a call center/shack in Eastern Europe.

  40. Zen says:

    Any form of patronizing sympathy in lieu of action. I’m not calling customer service to find a shoulder to cry on or looking to have my disappointment validated; I have a problem that I want you to fix.

    I don’t really care how you feel about it. Don’t waste my time with pleasantries, fix the problem or find me someone who can fix it. All other considerations are superfluous.

  41. kc2idf says:

    From one of my credit cards:

    “We have great news regarding an exciting new opt-in feature that will prevent your card from being declined when our records show your purchase will take you over your limit. Please press 1 at the main menu to hear about this exciting new feature.”

    …it is in there in such a way that I have to hear the entire pitch before the automated system will read off the numbers I wanted to hear. Any attempt to bypass it will either (a) take me someplace I didn’t want to go and doesn’t tell me what I wanted to know or (b) restart he pitch from the top. On top of that, I understand what it is they are pitching, and that just pisses me off all the more, especially given that it is on a closed account that I am paying off.

    Many other organizations, in response to just about any question:

    “Yes sir, I can research that for you.”

    How about just, “Yes. One moment, please.” Far fewer words and far more colloquial.

  42. mac-phisto says:

    this is a recent thing, but b/c i changed insurance companies, i’ve had to call my bank more than once over the past few weeks (big surprise) to make sure they get the info that shows i have insurance for my mortgage. on more than one occasion, the CSR has referred to my house as “the property that *we* own.”

    uhh, no. you mean the property that *i* own. you have a security interest in the property, but it is not *yours.* the deed only has one name on it under “owner” & it ain’t “the bank”.

  43. Dave on bass says:

    Anything that starts with the word “Unfortunately.” That word makes me want to punch someone in the throat; it means “I am about to *not* help you, and I’m pretending I’m unhappy about it just as you will be.”

    Here’s the secret, unhelpful corporate assbags: There exists one or more persons on this planet, living and breathing right now, who possesses the mystical ability to actually resolve my problem – I’m not the type to call in with a problem such as blaming the power company for the hurricane that pushed a tree onto the transformer. Any “unfortunately”s along the way are simply unwillingness on your part, and that’s where you need to cut the shit and stop saying there’s nothing you, as a company, can do.

    If the customer wants a problem resolved, you’d better damn well enlist the person who can help. Execs seem to be able to find those people when they get an EECB, no?

    • eldritch2k4 says:

      This may come as a shock to you, but Executives have a little more power in making something happen than the Level 1 CSR you get when you call the Customer Service number.

  44. BacteriaEP says:

    “Please reset your modem”

    Oh rly?! I never thought of that as a reason why my internet was effing up. I know it’s standard procedure and I know of people who don’t already know of this as common sense, but it still bugs me, especially when they ask that I do it despite already telling them I’ve done it.

  45. Murph1908 says:

    I really hate the stuff they are forced to add on to the end of the call.

    “Did I solve all of your problems today?”
    “Please know that Onstar is always here to help.”
    “I hope I provided excellent service.”

    The call is over. Let me get off the phone. I don’t want to do a survey, and don’t need you to affirm my satisfaction. If I was not satisfied, you’d know by now.

  46. discounteggroll says:

    the scripted phone monkeys at lenovo taking over a minute to say “thank you for calling lenovo technical support in atlanta, georgia. My name is _____ , how may I be of assistance to you today?”

  47. JulesNoctambule says:

    ‘The customer is always right’

    I loathe it, even as a customer. It’s used by too many self-entitled jackasses to get their way, trying to take advantage of everything to the point where business run out of generosity and those jerks ruin it for everyone. Also, the businessman (HG Selfridge) generally credited with putting the phrase into circulation died in poverty.

  48. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    15-30 seconds of music, interrupted by a corporate slogan, a standardized patience script, with that recorded lady who always sounds like she is trying to speak loudly and not shout, but is still shouting … and then resuming to music, only it is a different tune. Any sort of hold music that is interrupted by speaking is annoying. If I’m going to be stuck listening to your hold music for 5 minutes plus, at least don’t loop the same 60 seconds over and over.

    • jesdynf says:

      I *hate* the voice ads interrupting music. I don’t care if I’m on hold for 20 minutes, I don’t even care if the music loops while I’m on hold, but sweet Jesus don’t interrupt my attention every ninety seconds with a human voice that isn’t the one I’m looking for.

  49. CreekDog says:

    When you call Kabletown and they say they will fix your problem by putting a “note on your account”.

    Which is the like me saying I’ll fix something by putting a post it note on my monitor reminding me to do it.

    *Kabletown=Comcast

    • jeffbone says:

      They did “put a note on your account” — in the form of a Post-It stuck to the monitor underneath your account information, which was immediately removed upon completion of the call.

    • mingtae says:

      One thing about Comcast, you will get one of two types of people on the phones. Outsource rep or someone who lives within 50 miles of where you are calling from who actually works for Comcast. You’ll know the difference by the accents usually.

  50. u1itn0w2day says:

    “we just want to update our records” or we want to sell you something or get update information we can sell

    ” you have to tell me or I can’t clear my screen” or the system is designed that you must tell us everything

    “just take a seat” we’ll get someone to speak to you when we feel like it.

  51. MercuryPDX says:

    “Your call is very important to us. Please continue to hold and your call will be answered in the order it was received.”

  52. jesdynf says:

    A lot of it is the CS rep covering themselves. Most of the time, they already know how the conversation is going to go. They already know that you aren’t going to get what you want, and they already know you’re not going to like that. So they’re making sure that they can’t get dinged for handling you impolitely if the call is reviewed (or posted to YouTube).

    Just look at the thread attitude. You’ve already recognized them as adversaries standing in the way of your objective. Is it so hard to believe they haven’t made the same assessment?

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      The CS reps are probably using a script. If they don’t use the script and they loose or agitate a customer even more then they could get fired for not using the script. As long as they use the script they’re covered.

  53. psm321 says:

    Asking for the same info I just gave your automated system 2 minutes ago. If the reps are going to ask for it again anyways, why have the phone system ask it?

    • SonarTech52 says:

      The automated phone system mainly just makes sure the right people are calling and they get routed to the right spot. We used to not have the automated system and kept getting calls from people looking for a company that sounded like ours, or just totally random stuff. It happend so much that it would make real customers have to wait while we explained “Sorry you have the wrong number.” I would try to look up the correct number for them and get them on their way, but it takes time..

  54. Sword_Chucks says:

    Calling tech support when you know more then the technician, you’ve already tried the steps theyre about to run you through, 3 times, you just want them to look at the tower and fix it.

  55. no says:

    “The system doesn’t allow us to…” and complete the sentence with any important change, such as “remove saved payment information” or “change your monthly billing cycle date”.

  56. ConsumerMan says:

    “If you read the details of our agreement…” – An Alaska Airlines ticket counter “service” rep when I expressed surprise that the seat assignments I’d selected online were ignored when I printed my boarding passes out at the airport.

    “I don’t book flights” – her follow-up when I tried to convince when people book flights, it isn’t reasonable to expect them to read all the fine print.

    The problem: They lean back on the law as though I’m supposed to be okay when I know that while I’m being screwed, I’m being screwed LEGALLY.

    • eldritch2k4 says:

      Perhaps you SHOULD be reading the fine print. If you know they are going to try to screw you, maybe you should make sure you know what you are signing your name to.

  57. emax4 says:

    I can’t wait to be there when Consumerist does, “Which Customer Bad Habits Get On Your Nerves?”

  58. Foot_Note says:

    not quite a cliche, but “Convience Fee”.. my tush… phone company charges 3bucks+ to pay automated over the phone.. bah!

  59. ldillon says:

    When they say they can’t do something like it’s a physical impossibility,
    when they really mean that the corporation has chosen not to do something.

    Email from noreply@megacorp.com

  60. Reverend Mike says:

    “The customer is always right”

    The customer is NOT always right. Some are helplessly wrong and a few are just selfish jerks.

  61. Xtopher says:

    This is the worst thing ever and should never be said. Sometimes things break and it’s out of the hands of whoever is on the phone, but don’t feed me this line of condescension:

    “We apologize for the inconvenience [this may have caused]” “and we appreciate your .”

  62. theinstallguy says:

    Why is everyone in customer support in India named Steve?

  63. Outrun1986 says:

    Um how about all of them, can’t we just get back to the good old fashioned actually helping people with what they need. This is rare in customer service these days, but there are people at call centers who will deviate from a script. I can understand a script for a really basic issue like resetting a router password or restarting your computer, because there is going to be a set method for it regardless. Some things just aren’t appropriate for a script though and you need an actual human to intervene.

    What do we have to gain by scripted calls, as this post states, most people don’t like it, and its only making the customer base more angry, which can’t be good for the companies using scripts, especially the cliche’s. Does anyone seriously believe that the rep on the other line actually cares about your individual problem?? The rep on the other line only cares about whether or not your call is going to prevent them from making an incentive or making their numbers, so they don’t lose their job, which they probably desperately need.

    • peebozi says:

      corporate profiteering is the reason…they save more money from scripts than they lose from pissed off customers.

  64. RayanneGraff says:

    My biggest irritation, oddly enough, is excessive ass-kissing. You know, when the rep gushes about how they’re SO SORRY I”m having this problem, they feel SO bad for me & they can CERTAINLY sympathize with my pain & anguish.

    … it’s just a minor technical issue. I’m not dying of butt cancer, so please stop kissing it. Just listen to my problem, maybe say “I’m sorry” once, and just FIX IT.

    Oh, and also, when they thank me profusely for every last little bit of info I provide.

    “OK, my phone number is 405-XXX-XXXX”

    “Thank you SO MUCH for that information, I greatly appreciate it!”

    Le sigh. I know they’re required to do it & all, but it’s so annoying.

  65. FrugalFreak says:

    Sorry, but the computer is down.

    Why is it only down when it causes you to lose profit?

  66. corker says:

    Something must be wrong with me. I’ve had very good luck with Comcast. verizon offered me a better deal , so i went with them. When the bill arrived it was 15.00 more than we agreed upon. They corrected it on the spot.
    Recently Macy’s sent an ad to our home. When I went to two Macys, neither carried the item. I then called the Boston store and they kept hanging up on me. I then called Macy’s corporate headquarters, explained my problem. They put a third party on the phone, problem was resolved. Turns out she was the manager of the Boston store. After problem was resolved, I called corporate back and gave the manager a glowing report

  67. tungstencoil says:

    “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

    1. No, you’re not. You’re somehow putting the situation that I’m calling about back on me in the form of an emotional response.

    2. I expect you to deal with the facts of the situation; my feelings are merely a vehicle.

  68. kinickie says:

    I don’t need to be thanked every time I answer a CSR’s question. I had to get a replacement nook from B&N, and after every answer it was, “Thank you for that information.” I swear, the call took at least twice as long as it should have.

  69. xnihilx says:

    My ABSOLUTE favourite one was when I was trying to get a replacement monitor (all in one, it holds the computer behind it in a stand) for work. SOMEONE at Dell majorly screwed up and put the wrong part association with a part number. SO, instead of getting my AIO monitor stand for the small form factor PC I kept getting ones for the ULTRA small form factor PC model. I talked to EIGHT people for almost FIVE hours on the phone (not to mention all the emails and parts returned and sent out and returned) only to be told they could only swap SAME FOR SAME. Meaning THEY COULD ONLY SEND ME THE WRONG PART! They couldn’t just send a plain old 17in LCD monitor. I think in the end I told someone to go f off and went home and drank.

  70. KlueBat says:

    I hate when the hold message tells me to check the website over and over. I looked on the website and my issue in not covered. That is why I’m calling!

    I hate when they thank me for everything. “Thank you for that information sir.” This is especially pervasive in Indian call centers.

    • KlueBat says:

      Oh, and I hate it when I call with an issue and they try to up-sell me on more service. The stuff I’m paying for isn’t working. I don’t really trust you with more of my money at this point.

  71. TheGreySpectre says:

    Paraphrased because I don’t remember the exact words: “our call system is too busy to even put you on hold in line”

  72. Blackfoot says:

    My biggest pet peeve is the difference between CAN and WILL…

    CSR: I’m very sorry, Mr. Blackfoot, but we can’t do that.

    ME: Actually, you can. You just won’t. Let’s be clear on the difference.

    • emax4 says:

      If the roles were reversed, would you feel better saying that you “won’t” do something? that’s like saying that you have the power to do so but choose not to. It’s easier telling someone that you “can’t”, because “won’t” implies that you have power, whereas “can’t” implies that you do not have power.

      • DorianDanger says:

        This. Not only that though, do you know ALL the policies of the place/center that you’re calling? In the one I worked at previously, we were empowered to do price matches within 10 days, anything over that up to a month had to be done by tier 2 employees. Then all of a sudden within a day, we didn’t do them at all ever, no exception. We weren’t allowed to transfer calls about price matches, and all we could do is say that we COULD NOT do that. All these people would call and say,” I KNOW you can do it, you’re just not wanting to help me. ” You don’t know that. You have absolutely NO idea that our INTERNAL policy on price matching had changed. That’s most obviously my fault though, and that’s why everyone was yelling at me on the phone. Oh wait…

  73. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I am an IT support specialist as well as being a trainer and administrator for the software. That makes me a fairly high level person who should ordinarily take three levels of help to reach. We hired a consulting firm (I won’t say their name but it looks like @©©€Ѝ↑ЦЯ∑) to take the place of our perfectly good help desk staff, and they outsourced the operation to Bangalore. Now my users call in with detailed descriptions of exactly what’s going wrong, when, how, and to whom. I know they do, I trained them myself. I also know they do because when I call them to find out what’s up, they always complain that they spent ten minutes on the phone with the first-level tech describing the problem. What makes me want to grab a pillow and primal scream, lest I be guilty of a combination mass murder and international incident? Tickets passed to me that say, in their entirety, User has issue with system.

    • RosevilleWgn says:

      Having worked in T2 support for Earthlink in the past.. I am very familiar with “User has issue with system”. I had one of these passed to me five minutes before the end of my shift that turned out to be an OS reinstall due to a botched Earthlink 5.0 install. I drowned some brain cells later that night, let me tell you!

  74. TBGBoodler says:

    “Your business is very important to us. Please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.”

  75. NumberSix says:

    Slogging through a troubleshooting script when I’m 100% sure of the casue of my problem.

  76. howie_in_az says:

    “Is there anything else I can help you with?” after a long, tiring conversation about how the company screwed up and has yet to own up to the screwing and make things right.

    “You haven’t helped me with anything” usually confuses them a bit.

  77. Aisley says:

    “Please listen carefully, as our options may have changed.”
    Really? How organized is that company that you don’t know if your internal directory has changed or not?

    “This call may be recorded for training purposes…”
    No, you’re not recording the call for training purposes; we all know that. You are (not “may be”), recording it to protect your posterior in a liability case. Unless, of course, you’re training your legal department

    • DorianDanger says:

      Actually, they record the calls and people’s jobs are graded based on them. I’ve worked at like 3 call centers, they all do it. Maybe it also helps later on for legal issues, but the main purpose is to make sure that we’re doing the scripts, and offering upsells, and blah blah blah.

    • brinks says:

      Why is it that EVERY time I call ANYWHERE, their damn menu options have changed? Just to screw with me?

  78. HoJu says:

    Ya know what really grinds my gears????
    When you go through the automated system, enter your phone number or account number or whatever, get transferred to an agent and they STILL ask you for the information you just entered into their magical automated system.

  79. Torchwood says:

    You have to realize that many MBAs upstairs who is only interested in the bottom line and increasing their profits (and paychecks) treat customer service as something that eats revenue, and therefore is a cost that must be controlled. Thus, the CSRs get hand-me-downs for computers, tools that only allow us what they consider 95% of the jobs, and call metrics that must be followed. They forget that CSRs are also important in customer retention.

  80. Geosama says:

    I hate being thanked after every sentence

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Really? Politeness upsets you? I think this reminds me of the old joke along the lines of Heaven and Hell being exactly the same place, except what some people consider pleasant and serene pisses other people off no end.

  81. eltonwheelock says:

    “Let me put you on hold while I review your account.”

    • gbhicks says:

      …ok, ok…you’ve got us on that…there’s no good reason to put you on hold while reviewing your account..

      …Unless you’re prattling on about how pissed off you are and we don’t want to listen to it.

  82. scouts honor says:

    I hate it when they call back the next day with a robocall survey asking me about my experience with the service call and then trying to upsell me on something at the end. Actually, upselling at any time is unappreciated in my household. Typically, I just say, “no thank you.” I’m usually pretty patient with the CSRs because I know they didn’t write this shit. But when they did it at the end of one call where I had already spilled my frustration at having to call them every month for the past 5 months to straighten out a billing error, I finally asked the CSR if he was f#%ing serious. There was a long pause before he quickly said thank you and ended the call.

  83. Paintmann says:

    The ones that get me the most are the websites that give you a Phone number to call customer service, and the phone number you call tells you to send an email for help. Couldn’t we just skip the second step altogether? Especially when you have to call during certain hours (8:19am to 9:03 am New Zealand Time on Thursdays).

    /cynicism

  84. Mystern says:

    Well, ya know, as a Customer Service rep myself, I kinda hate it when I’m telling the truth and the customer thinks it’s a cliche. I mean, 8 times out of 10 I really *am* sorry, and 10 times out of 10 my manager *won’t* say anything different. Then again, the CS at eBay is a little different than other places. The absolute best advice I can give any customer is to be reasonable, polite and explain why you need what you need.

    And the number one key to getting what you want, ASK WHY. Why does the company have this policy? Why does my circumstance fall into this policy? And why can’t an exception be made?

  85. jjcraftery says:

    I just HATE having to call a number to “activate” my new replacement credit cards.
    Because after I “activate” it, I have to deal with customer service trying to sell me a protection plan or whatever else they got……

    I JUST WANT TO ACTIVATE MY CREDIT CARD!!!!!!!!
    NOTHING ELSE!!!!!!!!

    Oooooooooh, that’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine!
    I put it off for weeks, sometimes, just DREADING calling the activation number!

    • jenjenjen says:

      my cards come with a phone number and a website you can use instead. Try the website – no upsell tactics.

  86. backinpgh says:

    I can’t stand some of the overseas call centers and their insistence on saying “Thank you very much for providing me with that information. And your last name? Thank you very much for providing me with that information. And your phone number? Thank you…”

    ARGGGHGHHGHH

  87. abz_zeus says:

    “you can use our website” – on a loop, when I’m calling because your website is useless and doesn’t give me the info I need or let me do what I need to.

    Also “please have your customer id/parcel id/other info to hand” on a loop

    Having instructions on a loop during hold music is seriously annoying – hearing the same thing over and over again, irritates not what you want to do to customers

    • Hmmmmm needs more WarOtter says:

      Yes, that is classic. I love it when I have to call my ISP because my internet is down and the recording says, “Much of the information troubleshooting information you may need can be found on our website.” That would be great if I could get online.

  88. SenorGrub says:

    “Thank you for calling XYZ today, We appreciate you choosing us for your need” Ok so is that why I am calling their customer service because you want to reward me for choosing you so I call and explain my negative service. I loved this with Citibank Student loans. I never chose Citibank, my college had an under the table deal with Citibank so that was the only loan provider I could use.

  89. stevied says:

    Have a nice day.

    AKA: Go screw yourself

  90. exsprintminion says:

    I used to work at Sprint. Often when you thought you were speaking to a supervisor, especially when they say “I’m the supervisor on the floor today”, it was just another rep who was taken off the phones to play supervisor.

  91. Beeker26 says:

    “I will get this fixed for you. Guaranteed”.

    And of course they don’t.

  92. kittylauper says:

    Having to explain the problem to 5 different people.

    What I want to speak to someone about is NEVER an option on the menu, so I have to just hit 0 and play CSR roulette.

    I do not like when the CSR does not REPEAT the 10+ digits I just read out to them. It is SO EASY to get a letter or number wrong. I just read them out to you, the least you can do is read them back to me.

    OH! One time a dumb-ass CSR rep from Sallie Mae accidentally entered my mom’s (cosigner’s) info into THE WRONG PERSON’S ACCOUNT because they use a split screen with two different accounts up at the same time. This resulted in my mother being signed as the cosigner on a complete stranger’s loan. It took a lot of phone calls and lawsuit threats to take care of that one. Luckily, they were able to pull the recording from my mother’s initial call.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Do you really want the CSR to read your Social Security number, your credit card number, or your other sensitive information out loud to a roomful of God knows who? Identity theft city, my friend.

  93. junip says:

    Passing the buck.

    Dell customer service really loves to transfer you a million times to all sorts of different departments without telling you why they’re transferring you or who they’re transferring you to. On top of that, they don’t tell the new rep why they’ve transferred you either, so your call goes a little like: explain whole problem, get “I can’t help you with that, let me transfer you to someone who can”, “Hi, how can I help you?”, to which you respond “I don’t know, someone transferred me” and explain problem all over again, then repeat the loop 5 more times before hanging up.

    Luckily I never deal with Dell anymore, and last time I talked to them was a couple of years ago for a work-related machine – which btw, they refused to fix because I couldn’t give them a 2 year old UPS tracking number for a machine that was sent back to them as defective.

  94. zt says:

    What annoys me the most is when I am on hold, then the machine takes me off hold just to notify me that I am still on hold. Yes, I already knew I was on hold, but now you’ve just distracted me from what I was doing in the background (since I have to pay attention now in case it is someone to help me). Then you repeat this every minute or two, completely ruining my ability to concentrate on something else.

  95. ja says:

    “I’m sorry you FEEL THAT WAY,”

    as opposed to

    “I’m sorry for the mistakes we’ve made that we will correct with more than just insincere words.”

  96. vicarp says:

    Mine is currently with our mortgage service company. They are sending at least one solicitation letter a week, now resorting to “scare tactic” letters. We got a loan Mod earlier this year, and are current and not in need or, nor going to get a better modification. I called after the first few because one said our Modification wouldn’t be permanent if we didn’t send it back, and one had info on our loan, and was denying us a HAMP modification as if we had applied for one.

    I have been Assured that they are solicitations and that I should just ignore any that come. I asked the question – well if it contains our personal information, how are we to know when a real letter, with information we need to reply with comes in the mail….Being that they read from a script they can’t answer that question.

  97. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    If the customer is always right then why do I need a receipt?

  98. ellemdee says:

    I called to check on rental car prices last week and after every single question I asked, the rep said “Can I go ahead and get that reserved for you?” and asked me for a credit card number. I told them I was just chekcing prices at this point, but they kept it up. Too aggressive.

  99. brinks says:

    I was with Vonage for years and had no complaints, but I no longer had any real use for a landline and decided to cancel…and it was a hell of an effort.

    First, I was told that they were “doing system maintenance” and couldn’t process any requests, so call back in an hour.

    Then, “the system was down” when I called back the next 7 times.

    Funny how these things were never mentioned until after all of their attempts at retaining my business failed. While I realize it is possible for the system to be down, I find it hard to believe the system can be down for 8 hours. I find it more realistic to believe that their supervisor gave them some unrealistic goals and they had to resort to these cliches to make them.

    I wouldn’t know, though, because they never gave me to a supervisor. The supervisor was always “busy.” Or, better yet, one guy told me there WASN’T one. Not on a break, not on a call or in a meeting…there just wasn’t one. That’s at least not a cliche. No one’s ever told me that before.

  100. giax says:

    “I know how you feel.”
    No you don’t. I’ve got asperger. I don’t even have a clue how I “feel”, sorry.

    “I can’t do that/I don’t have the power to do that/it’s not possible to..”
    Needless to say, “please put me to a person who CAN do that.”

    “Your call is important to us.”
    Just keep me happy enough to buy your products in the future and cut the bs please.

  101. Kingeryck says:

    I’m tired of getting people in India.

  102. Intheknow says:

    I absolutely detest when a customer service rep tells me for the thousandth time how sorry they are. You just know they’re rolling their eyes. JUST FIX THE PROBLEM ALREADY. I always try to call early in the morning – after coffee, but before they’ve had a chance to become fed up with customer complaints for the day. My other favorite is the fake supervisor, who’s really just a different customer service rep echoing the same old line and getting his/her friend off the hook.

  103. Morwen says:

    When you call? Try working the customer service lines and having to say these phrases for 8 or more hours a day at least 5 days a week….for a year and a half. And most of the time I did understand and feel sorry, but company policies suck. It’s not nice to have about 20 people threaten to sue you personally each day, at least 50 swear on you, a dozen or more tell you you’re stupid or lying, and half of the people shout at you.

    /end bitter rant

    BTW: Upset is understandable, but when you cross into irate no one will willingly help you.

  104. sixhoursago says:

    None of them really get on my nerves.

    Provide a quality product, at a fair price. That’s seriously all it takes. Any more effort is wasted on me.

  105. Beave says:

    The sales department is staffed 24/7, but to cancel services you have to call back during banker’s hours.

    “Let me transfer you to another department.” Another huge pet peeve. You wait on hold 10 minutes to talk to someone, they answer the phone, route you, and you end up back on hold.

    “I’m not authorized to handle that, you’ll need to talk to ___________.” Blank is either another department, or a supervisor. Similar to my above complaint, the guy who answers the phone is only authorized to sell you new services and tell you how much your bill is, if you want to cancel, get a bill adjusted, or ask a technical question that’s another department.

  106. SilentMountain says:

    “How can I provide you with excellent service today?”
    - Erm, by providing excellent service?

    “Can I please get your account number?”
    - You mean, the one I punched into the phone tree already?

  107. lumberg says:

    As a long time retail employee, I can honestly say that whenever I said “I can’t make that change in the system” it was the complete truth. Same for “I can pass you on to a manager, but she’s going to tell you the same thing.” We’re not idiots, nor are we LOOKING for a fight. In MOST cases (NOT all, but most), if we tell you we can’t change the system, it’s because we can’t. We know you’re going to whine and cry about it. We don’t want to hear it. If we could avoid it, we would. As for the manager, we say that when it applies (get the manager to change the system, for example). We don’t program our point of sale systems, and most are not NEARLY as “open to changes” as most customers seem to think.

    As for our “understanding your problem” what would you prefer us to say? We have to be polite, no matter how much we want to tell you where to stick your whining and crying. So we have to say something fake like that. Do we care that you’re unhappy? Not really, other than the trouble you’re causing us. We don’t get paid enough to care. What’s that? Get another job if we don’t like retail? Right, cause entry-level jobs are so easy to get.

    Stupid customers don’t seem to understand that the people who are “serving” them are underpaid and overworked people who most often don’t give a damn and don’t have real reason to give a damn. You treat us like crap, we are scheduled crap hours, and we get crap pay.

    First and foremost, let me say that we, the employees of the customer service field, are human beings just like the rest of you. We have families, friends, lives, and bills. We have good times and bad, great accomplishments and horrible tragedies. Just like you, we do have emotions, and just like you, sometimes our emotions can get the best of us.

    I’ve heard it said by many people that if you work in the service industry, you should be prepared to always put on a happy face and give each customer the most pleasant and wonderful shopping experience they’ve ever received. Typically, those same people say that if you aren’t prepared to perform that way, then the service industry isn’t for you. This, oh arrogant customer, is a crock.

    There are very few people who work at CheapMart because their dream was to spend their career stocking shelves at CheapMart. It’s quite unlikely that the guy who makes your burger at Cheeseburger Champion does it because it was the greatest aspiration he had for his life. Sure, there are people out there like that, but the number is likely to be something like one out of every thousand. Yes, I pulled that statistic outta my head. I base it on the number of people I’ve worked with over the years. Over a decade of retail experience and I have never come across anyone who felt they were working their “dream job.”

    The majority of service workers are doing the job for two reasons: They needed a job, and (insert company name here) hired them. Plain and simple.

    The common notion out there seems to be that if we don’t like working customer service jobs, we should get out of that field. Right, because it’s just THAT simple! Hate to break it to you, but not everyone has a degree to get a job in their preferred field. Not everyone has the money to GET a degree in their preferred field. And while a degree isn’t necessary to get a job, the majority of the most easily accessible jobs out there that don’t require a degree involve customer service in one form or another.

    For that matter, many don’t even HAVE a preferred field because they haven’t yet discovered something that they really enjoy doing. It took me four years after high school to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. In the meantime, when you’re a teenager with no work experience under your belt, who is going to hire you? The answer, of course, is the customer service industry. Sure, there are other companies here and there that might want to take a chance on an inexperienced teenager, but the majority of job opportunities come from the service field.

    And that’s what most customers don’t seem to understand. We are just working our way through college. We’re working a second job to pay bills. We’re trying to buy cars, pay off student loans, pay auto insurance, etc. We’re not trying to sell you a pack of paperclips at Office Supply Land because we have some kind of absurd passion for office supply products, we’re doing it because it was the job we were offered, and it pays the bills – or some of them, anyway. You can’t expect us to be all happy-go-lucky about leading you to the toilet paper aisle or extra-sizing your french fries. It’s not exactly a very fulfilling lifestyle, but for most of us, it’s a temporary necessity. If you told an unhappy retail employee to get another job if they didn’t like customer service, they’d likely respond with, “I’d love to. Who’s hiring?”

    Then there is the human factor that no one ever seems to take into account. As I said, we are people with lives just as much as you are, and we experience emotions too. I remember an incident at Computer Galaxy when I almost got in trouble because some over-sensitive customer got all upset over something that had nothing to do with her. We had three long lines at all the registers, and we were trying to get people out as fast as we could. One of our salesmen brought up a cart full of stuff – a computer, monitor, printer, cables, etc – for me to ring up. Then he decides he forgot something and runs off, telling us to wait a minute. I started to get pretty annoyed because we had a lot of people waiting and the salesman had stopped my line dead. Well, this customer saw me shaking my head slightly, and when the salesman returned, she demanded that he summon the manager because I was “huffing and puffing” over having to ring up their sale.

    I didn’t have a problem with her before that, but you can be sure that AFTER she jumped to that absurd conclusion, I was pretty ticked off at her. It infuriates me how customers LOOK for things to complain about.

    If an employee is taking a personal call at the cash register, most customers get annoyed. What if it is an emergency? What if they’re getting an update on a sick relative? What if the babysitter just called to tell them the electricity had been shut off? Customers have no idea what’s going on in these people’s lives, yet they whine and complain if they aren’t helped in less than thirty seconds. I refer to it as the “God Complex.” If people aren’t worshipped as gods the second they walk through the door of any business, then employees should be fired and free product showered down from the skies. That’s right; should something happen that offends them, nothing less than the unemployment line for the offending employee will satisfy. If someone loses their cool and tells you to “Shut up,” you respond by demanding that person’s job. Should the employee have said that to you? No, of course not. Should he lose the ability to pay his bills and feed his family for it? Absolutely not. We are human beings. We have emotions, and we make mistakes. Get your heads out of your rear-ends and move on with life.

    And while we’re on the subject of pay, let’s talk about the money issue. Many customer service employees work two jobs. Sometimes three. Why? Because we get paid next to nothing while the world is expected of us. Take my cashier job at Computer Galaxy, for example. For $7 an hour, we were expected to sell Product Replacement Plans, Training Classes, Tech Services, Unmatched (Another phone/training service), Computer Galaxy Credit Cards, Add-on products, and internet services. The phrase “Ask Every Customer” was pounded into our heads multiple times daily. Our numbers were closely monitored, and we were ripped in half when we didn’t reach our goals. And don’t be so foolish as to think that we were given commissions or spiffs for those things. For a short time, commissions were a part of the Computer Galaxy pay structure, but they were so small it was laughable (we’re talking $10 for meeting your goals for a week), and they didn’t apply to cashiers anyway. So, given all of that, how enthusiastic and happy can you really expect an employee to be?

    Office Supply Land was the same way. The only “technicians” they hired while I worked there were recent high school graduates who were not certified. Why no certification? So they could pay them $8.00 per hour, of course. Honestly – what kind of quality tech work can you expect from that kind of employee?

    Then we have to face the ramifications of all that. We ask every customer to buy every service we offer because our bosses demand that we do it. So, of course, every customer gets angry that we’re badgering them to spend more money. They see us as money hungry employees trying to squeeze every last penny. In reality, we’re just trying to keep our jobs. And when our inexperienced “technician” screws up your computer because the company wouldn’t put out the money for a real tech, the customer service reps have to take the heat from the customer for it.

    We’re getting paid like crap to pretend we care while you scream at us for something we didn’t do, had no power to stop, and have very little power to fix.

    Customers don’t seem to grasp any of this. The phrase “The customer is always right” seems to have brainwashed people into thinking that they should get their way no matter how absurd their demands are. And as you will see from the stories in this book, they can get QUITE absurd. I read online about a woman who got angry because an employee tried to stop her from cutting ahead of a line of people waiting to have their receipts checked. The employee grabbed the woman’s purse to try to hold her back. Now, I’ll be the first to say that the employee had no right to act the way that he/she did, but at the same time, this lady really thought she was justified in cutting ahead of everyone else who had been waiting because she only had one item and was, as she put it, “in a hurry.” How does that make you more important than other people? The whole thing could’ve been avoided if she hadn’t thought she was better than everyone else.

    Then there was the story of the customer who tried to use a taser on a Cheeseburger Champion employee who got their order wrong. How about the woman who called a technical radio show to get help stealing her neighbor’s Wi-Fi connection? People just don’t understand how ridiculous their behavior can be or the hassle we go through in dealing with them, yet they expect us as service people to always be happy and enthusiastic.

    You want good service? Here’s the one and only tip you’ll need: You know how you expect us to treat you when you walk into our store or call our company?

    Treat us the same way.

    I promise you’ll have more good experiences than bad that way. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of lazy and uncaring employees out there who don’t give a damn whether you’re polite or not. But for the most part, you’ll get a far more pleasant experience with an understanding and friendly attitude than you ever will with anger and threats. Just keep in mind that sometimes, no matter what you do, you won’t be getting your way.

    Because the truth is that the customer is not always right.

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/27796
    http://retail-ramblings.blogspot.com/

    • MedicallyNeedy says:

      Pass up the grief.

    • brinks says:

      I’ve been a retail manager for over a decade now. There is no way I could have said this better.

      Thank you.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      You actually don’t know that your supervisor will say the same thing. I prefer your supervisor to speak for themselves, thank you.

      • coldfire409 says:

        Actually for the company I worked for the manager would typically ask the customer service rep what the best course of action would be for the situation. I’ve had many times when I would offer some sort of credit for something as a courtesy that the customer really shouldn’t have gotten and ask for the supervisor only to get nothing because the customer didn’t accept the offer they were given and the problem was caused by something they did.

      • sailorstarfairy says:

        @ Speedwell: You’ve never worked somewhere where your own manager told you “Alright I’ll talk to them but didn’t you tell them I would just tell them the same thing?” Or how about been a manager/supervisor yourself and just repeated the same thing to the customer?

        Irregardless if you have or haven’t, the fact remains that a lot of customers will want to speak to a a manager even if they’ve been told that the manager can’t do anymore than the agent could simply because the customer just wants someone HIGHER UP to listen to what they are saying.

    • peebozi says:

      “I’m real sorry about the problem you’re having with that and I hope to better understand your problem and get that solved for you today as well as provide you with excellent customer service. In order for me to serve you better, please repeat the problem you’re having and unplug the cord from the wall. Thank you, in order for me to service you better please hold, thank you.” Click.

    • Joeypants says:

      As a log-time customer care agent, unwillingly turned customer care manager: That was beautiful.

    • HillBillary says:

      Oh, preach it my good man! Amen!

    • mingtae says:

      Well said and spot on!

    • the_wiggle says:

      +20

    • NuclearMonkey says:

      I am sorry. I can totally relate to the pain that you have to deal with when working in customer service, having done the job myself for several years (retail grocery store). However, for most of this post, my only reply is: “Waaaaaaaaaaaah.” Yes, the job is hard. It requires you to be different things to different people fifteen times an hour depending on the customer’s needs, management doesn’t care, and you get evaluated based on numbers that don’t actually correlate to how well you serve the customers. Frankly, the job sucks. But, that job that pays some of the bills has a key component. You as a CSR are not getting paid to merely occupy three dimensional space within the building or put on your phone headset. You are being paid to make the company you work for look as good as possible to the people who pay the bills. If you can’t or won’t do that, then at least fake it well enough to not actually damage the reputation of the company who pays you and start looking for a new gig.

  108. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    “Have good one!”

  109. Yorick says:

    I hate when the robot message is incapable of understanding a calm, clear “no” and has to tell me “Next time, please tell us X so we can properly direct your call”

    I have to call FedEx a few times a month as part of my job, their voice-recog is exceedingly annoying about that.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Try pressing “2″ when the system asks you to SAY “no”. 1 = yes, 2 = no. This works on many systems. i think i recall FedEx is one of them.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I just say “Customer rep” and then when it asks “Are you calling to ship a package?” I say “No.” It only takes a second, but sometimes it goes “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that, blah blah blah.” Most of the time I get to a human pretty fast.

  110. MedicallyNeedy says:

    “Please unplug the device and look on the bottom and read me the upsidedown model # that starts with an “R” and has a jumble of zeros, ohs, ones, els and eyes. No. thats not it. That’s the serial #. OK, got it! Now whats the serial #?”

  111. s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

    Being told how I’m supposed to fill out a survey, namely Sprint telling me to “please select ‘yes’ on the survey asking you whether your issue was resolved.” My response was, “That depends on whether or not the issue ends up being resolved satisfactorily.”

    One air-headed rep saying they’d do something (ship a replacement phone), which then doesn’t arrive, necessitating that I call back and be told, “We don’t ship phones anymore, here’s an e-ticket for you to go into a Sprint store on your own time and let them evaluate your problem.”

    Related to that, “I absolutely agree with you ma’am, that should not have happened,” but nothing being done to follow through on the initial promise.

    Dead time on the phone. It is REALLY HARD to tell whether I’ve been disconnected or not. I check to make sure it hasn’t, but isn’t that what hold music is for?

    Identifying myself EVERY TIME they switch me to a new department, because apparently none of their shit is interconnected.

    Yeah. Guess who got to spend over an hour on the phone with Sprint earlier, because no one knows what they’re doing.

  112. coffee412 says:

    them: ” I noticed on your Checking Account you dont have overdraft protection?”

    Me: “That would be correct. We dont believe in writing checks we dont have money for”.

    them: “Well, It can be quite a safety net if you have it”.

    Me: ” Maybe you didnt understand me. We dont bounce checks period”.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Correct response: “We’re not interested in overdraft protection. Please don’t ask again.”

  113. Acolyte says:

    Well I have seen it from both sides…..

    As a customer I hate it when it takes eons to get someone on the phone. It’s not the CSR’s fault but the higher ups for cutting corners so that they can pay less, but still….

    CSRs who do the least possible for you so that they can get you off the phone as fast as possible.

    CSRs who upsell at every possible opportunity, like the Comcast CSR who when I called to dump my cable tv as my bill had risen and I would rather have had their internet without the cable to make the bill cheaper, she offered me a triple play package instead, I had to remind her that I was out to save money and not to spend more. She then refused to transfer me to retention or lower my rate, I had to make another call to do it.

    FLIP SIDE AS A FORMER CSR

    Managers are not wizards, in many cases the CSR has done their best and the manager can’t do much more if anything given how disempowered or ignorant some of them are.

    It’s not the CSR’s fault that it took you so long to get a live person on the line, many companies are understaffed when it comes to peak calling time. Write a letter to corporate or something.

    Lets face it, in an ideal world things should go so smoothly that you never need to call in past the routine stuff!

  114. Sharwnthla says:

    Oh so very much THIS! I get it all the time from customers who entire living is made working on a computer.

  115. morpheoush says:

    right before you get transferred to a CSR, the computer says You have been randomly chosen to be a participant in a survey to improve our quality assurance. After your call please press pound to continue on to the survey…. or occasionally it says to tell the CSR to transfer you to the survey.
    1. i’m never telling a CSR to transfer me to the survey. i’m scared that they’d probably assume i’m pissed and screw up my account in retribution for what i might say

    2. When exactly do I hit pound?? never works.

    3. who wants to spend MORE time on the phone after you just spent 30 min on hold and 20 min fixing your issue.

  116. gman863 says:

    Hi, I’m the automated voice fembot who was programmed by a retard and can’t understand a word you say. Please tell me why you’re calling today.

    “Customer Service”

    I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. Tell me again, by saying something like “I want to spend a shitload of money” or “What are the best sexual positions in the Karma Sutra”?

    “I WANT TO SPEAK TO A REAL PERSON!”

    Sorry. Your speech sucks so bad you must be a total loser. Let me try to find someone who is fluent in Ebonics or bizarre regional accents…..

    Click…dial tone…

  117. I just blue myself says:

    I hate when customer service transfers me to a different department and when they put me on hold, they disconnect the call so I have to call back, explain my problem all over again and then get transffered. This used to happen all the time when I was with T-mobile.

  118. Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

    Oh I had one on the line from Charter the other day and after she asked me for the 5th time if she could ask me another favor (Do you use your internet for gaming or watching movies? prolly trying to upsell me on internet speed.) I said “Let me ask you a favor! My problem is solved, may I hang up now?” After which she said “Let me remind you……click” I hung up.

  119. SgtBeavis says:

    “Thank you for holding, your call is important to us”

    What a crock….

  120. haggis for the soul says:

    When they say that after they help me they’d like to discuss my service options. If I wanted that, I’d call for that. I hate upselling.

  121. Anne says:

    Thank you for calling…your call will be answered in the order it was received.

    Should be: Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.

  122. Farleyboy007 says:

    I hate it when someone tells you their policy, you explain why it doesn’t make sense for your situation, and they simply repeat the policy verbatim as a response.

  123. peebozi says:

    “As a one time courtesy we will refund the…”

    Typically, the above sentence ends with “…money we stole from your account and refused to give back for the past several weeks”

    Or, for the corporate apologists on this board, the above sentence often ends with “…for the duplicate fees we charged to your account due to a technical issue our 3rd party software development team, who in no way is an agent for, or otherwise associated with, our corporation, is responsible for causing.”

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      As a corporate apologist, as a one-time courtesy I’ll overlook the implied sneer at people who aren’t responsible for the error but try their hardest to fix it for you anyway.

      That said, people who don’t even try, or who make a half-assed stab at it and quit or lie, are beneath contempt

  124. HogwartsProfessor says:

    This is to the COMPANIES, not the phone staff.

    –Interminable hold times. I know you’re understaffed, but you’re eating into my cell phone minutes, or keeping me from doing something else, especially if I’m at work.

    –Incessant apologies. I know you make your CSRs do it, but it’s irritating.

    –Upsells. STOP IT. If you keep doing it, I’ll stop using your company.

    And the number one annoying thing:

    –Not giving your CSRs the power or training to actually help customers. You might have to pay them a little more, or spend more on training but believe me, it WILL help your bottom line.

  125. savdavid says:

    Please take a survey after this call and be sure you rate me as excellent in all categories

  126. qwijybo says:

    Thank you for calling, your call is important to us, please stay on hold as waiting is faster than calling back.

  127. SilentAgenger says:

    Blaming an impasse on “the system”…as in, “the system won’t allow it.” What are you, controlled by HAL? There’s some great big machine/computer calling all the shots, and you’re helpless to stop it? No. A human designed “the system”, an that human is either the boss or has a boss, so there is a human somewhere with the authority to override the system. Transfer me to him/her, please.

    Also, telling me whatever I want to hear just to get me off the phone, knowing full well that when your promise fails and I call back, I’ll get someone else clear across the room/state/country/planet and it’ll be their problem. One silver lining from this: the next CS rep I get is likely to be more helpful.

    • gbhicks says:

      You’re not really so naive as to believe that a customer service rep on the floor actually has the ability to put you in direct contact with corporate executives, are you? Because that’s what you think we have the power to do.

  128. maruawe says:

    Gee! I have never heard of this before let me do some research ,may I put you on hold– no I don’t want to be put on hold—- please hold —-hold for ten to twenty minutes—- The supervisor will get back to you within two hours……supervisor never calls

  129. teamplur says:

    ” I’m sorry you don’t understand the way this system works, it’s like this “
    – I understand how it works, I just dissagree

    ” Well i’m sorry I can explain how it works”

  130. jcargill says:

    “Your call is important to us”

  131. Skandrannon says:

    I work on a helpdesk, and a lot of good things have been said already, but remember, however pissed you are when you call, we’re dealing with people all day long who have no idea what is going on.

    Riddle me this Batman, how can someone call their computer a modem? If they don’t know what a computer is, why do they know the names of the parts inside?

    In any case, a lot of times, there is no manager available. It doesn’t take many people to ‘oversee’ a room full of folks on the phone. Sometimes they go to lunch, the bathroom, and yes, meetings.

    We don’t like it either.

    I do, however hate having to tell someone the same info I just put in the automated system. There’s a trick to that too… say things that don’t make sense, and you’ll get a person.
    Applesauce Gorilla Battleship Toothpaste – Never fails. :)

    Yes, some call center folks suck, but think of it this way… No one calls customer service just to say hi… they deal with angry, irrational, and sometimes downright stupid people all day long.
    Every once in a while we get someone who knows whats going on, but not all the time.

    • mingtae says:

      Me (CSR): Can I have you unplug your router?

      Customer: What’s a router?

      Me: The box with the antenna.

      Customer: Oh. Where would that be?

  132. baristabrawl says:

    “I’m sorry to hear that and I understand how frustrating that can be…” So. Sick. Of. That. One.

  133. RubyRedJess says:

    The problem with all customer service centers is management. The reps are entry-level and treated as such (or worse). I worked in a call center for 5 years for Sprint and Verizon Wireless and I can tell you that many reps find “creative ways” around the impossible stats management holds you to. The whole “There is no record of your last call” line is BS. I trained people in back-systems that show every time a customer calls in. If a rep TOUCHES your account, it is tagged with their employee number, date and time. Period. Reps have to log onto the system before they can take calls. Lots of reps are not aware of this “backup system.” I’ve seen reps purposely not note an account because they flat out lied to a customer to get them off the phone. Little did they know, I could prove they were in the account when the customer claimed to have called and spoken to a rep. That rep was not fired, not punished, nothing. The managers told the customer “so sorry, you never called”.

    As a rep, you are expected to deal with irate, screaming, crying, out-of-their-mind pissed off grown adults. These people are already pissed because of the billing issue/tech support problem they had and then are then put on hold for too long. When you finally get the call, they are fuming! I’ve had people not even say hello and jump right into “I’m going to kill you and your family!” LOL. WOW, OK You are threatening my life because of a $5 fee sir? Then, you have to resolve their issue (without giving them any $ credit) and up sell them on a product all in 5 minutes or less. If you don’t do that, you are penalized and down the road you could lose your job.

    These companies make errors, don’t consistently train their reps, then hold the reps 100% accountable for everything. If you complain about the job, they will tell you to find another one. They don’t want you to stay with the company, they want you to leave after a year so some 20 year old pot head will come in and do the job for 8 bucks an hour and a fresh attitude.

  134. joescratch says:

    “Your call is important to us.”

  135. bigloser says:

    So you dont want me to verify that the system pulled the correct account or that you didnt fat-finger part of the account info? So which would make you angrier, spending 20-40 seconds telling me your phone number and address or spending 15 minutes troubleshooting with the wrong account on the screen because of something out of the control of the person you were speaking with? In my experiences, about 15% of the time the account that shows up is an old account, the wrong account, or no account came up because data was entered wrong or the system didnt make the connection.

  136. sweaterhogans says:

    I love when I get connected to someone in India and they tell me their name is “Betty” (or some other strangely uncommon American name) in a thick Indian accent. In my experience, the Indian call centers are the most likely to NEVER deviate from the script. Extremely frustrating when you have a problem with say, your router, and they just keep telling you to reboot. It took me 4 hrs on conference call with both Linksys and Verizon in India for anyone to figure out why the router wouldn’t work…

    **and for the record, I’m Indian, and can’t stand the call centers.

    • gbhicks says:

      why wasn’t the router working, out of curiosity?

      • sweaterhogans says:

        I still don’t know. Verizon has some weird modem that requires you to change 6 different settings. I had to bridge and unbridge several times in different locations. Just all around bad communication between devices and bad UI design.

  137. gbhicks says:

    Hi, folks. I have to say, I’ve been doing customer support for YEARS. Tech support, no less. I have to say, on behalf of all customer service reps…we understand you don’t want to screw with answering questions about your account, you don’t understand why we ask so many questions about your account, etc…
    It’s because we have to. It’s called Safeguarding. It’s a process that is there to protect you from other people stealing your identity. We know it’s annoying and it’s tedious, but it’s there for you.

    I understand that it’s even worse if you’ve been calling us multiple times for the same problem, and it’s not resolved, and you have to go through the process of the automated system AGAIN. We understand. But the automated system isn’t going away any time soon. Also, keep in mind that there are alternatives to calling phone support. There’s email support. Some companies even have chat support. It’s not all about the phone. Some companies, like Verizon Fios, have programs you can install on your computer to help with simple issues like ordering remotes.

    But, no matter how much you hate the process, remember this: The phone reps are required to do all that. We get graded on our calls. There’s certain things that, if we don’t say them, we get zeros on quality. It seems absurd, but it’s true. Just roll with it, and let the customer rep do what he/she needs to do to pull up your information, and don’t give them a hard time. We have some of the most difficult jobs you can imagine. Hell, the majority of people calling us will probably have Christmas day off, and New Years Day off.
    People doing tech support, usually, we’re there. Somebody is always there for tech support, even if they are US call centers. Be thankful we’re there, that you can call and bitch about having to talk to us.

  138. kiki1 says:

    Please remember these people are REQUIRED to say certain things to you on the phone. CS is the lowest regarding department in any company, and they take your sh!t and the companies all day long. They’re also the lowest paid in the company, and generally do not have access to the information you are demanding of them. Please try to treat your CSR with some respect and see where that gets you. After all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    I have been a CSR at 3 companies and a waitress. Most of you would not believe how rude people are to complete strangers.

  139. $watcher says:

    Instead of music on hold, firms have a long prattling message about offers you can’t live without.
    You can’t talk with anyone while waiting or you might miss it when the rep finally comes on line.

  140. deniseb says:

    Being subjected to marketing pitches while waiting for someone to pick up.

    Being forced to listen to the same 5-minute recitation of instructions and menu options and other phone numbers etc. etc. every single time you call. Especially after they’ve disconnected you.

  141. mandy_Reeves says:

    trying to decipher the accent.

  142. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    So what you’re saying is, if you’re unhappy you don’t want me to explain that I’m empathetic to your situation (common as it may be) and you would rather I not offer condolences for you being subject to it? I’ll keep that in mind…

    • Ducatisti says:

      I only want to hear you are sorry if you sound like you mean it. If it sounds like you are reading it from a card, skip it.

      I also only want to hear sympathy in conjunction with a solution. Sympathy alone I can get from the family dog.

  143. gbhicks says:

    no, seriously, if we can fix something, we’ll do it. If we can’t fix it, it’s because our managers have told us we can’t fix it.

  144. mkn1972 says:

    I used to HATE calling customer service for anything.. Long waits, indifferent agents, absent management… so much so that I would just not call for anything short of apocalyptic horror.. Then I read this wonderful article here on the Consumerist, and I’ve faithfully followed it ever since..

    “How to Mind Control CS reps..” and it works.

    I had an issue with my-then wireless provider, Sprint. I’d paid the bill, and they kept wanting me to pay it again, even shutting off my phone. Numerous, long, horrible calls to the outsourced Indian call center were useless. No, they cannot help me, so sorry, sir, no, we cannot transfer you to a US call center, and no, we cannot be bothered to follow your by-now very lengthy explanation..

    Then I read the article.

    Called Sprint back, followed the advice. Got a manager in less than 5 minutes. Told said manager that he was going to fix my issue today, and calmly and rationally explained in short detail what the issue was and what he was going to do to fix it.

    He did. I was amazed.

    No longer with sprint, but look up the article.. It’s worth it.

  145. the_wiggle says:

    you all think you’re sick of hearing these mealy-mouthed, nithling phrases?

    try being required to spew’m day in & day out like a demented parrot upon pain of job loss.

  146. chrislm says:

    So ATnT took over Alltel today. Best one evah. Needless to say, there were problems.
    CSR: :”What’s your password?”
    Me: “Try this (a bunch of times).”
    CSR: “It’s not working”.
    Me: “OK, email me a new password.”
    CSR: “OK, what’s your password? I can’t send you a new one without you giving me the password.”
    I had a delightful day with no interruptions. I think I’ve discovered something.

  147. Ducatisti says:

    After standing in line at the grocery store, finally putting my items on the conveyor belt and then finally making it to the cashier who says to me “did you find everything you were looking for?”

    I am always tempted to say, “no, I love the checkout experience so much that I buy in small quantities, going back into the store multiple times until I ‘find everything I’m looking for” DUH.

    Just one more reason I LOVE the self-checkout line.

    • gbhicks says:

      …you know, if you don’t like people saying things like that, complain to the manager. Most of the lines people say are scripted…believe me, we get tired of having to say crap like that.

  148. Paeryl says:

    Being a Customer Service agent I find myself saying these things daily. I do try to switch up the phrases because I know they are tired. What people don’t realize though, is that we *have* to say these things. These phrases are drilled into our heads with such force that we actually say them outside of the workplace with some frequency.

    And, at some places of employment, if we don’t say these phrases we are actually docked (pay, points, etc).

    And as for people getting upset at Tech Support wanting you to do “stupid” things like power-cycling the modem and/or router.. They have to. If they don’t do that they can lose their jobs..

    Bitching about a “career” you haven’t worked in is stupid. You know nothing of what we have to go through a daily basis to help assholes like you.

  149. ThePlaz says:

    Your call will be ordered in the order it was received.

    Well what other order will you use???