Friday, April 29, 2005

Hell’s Bells

Or Telephone Hell, Part Two

The next day was Monday, and when I awoke I received a revelation from up on high. Angels fluttered and twittered around my bed, and a voice from the heavens spoke and told me that I didn’t want to go to work that day. That happens every day Monday through Friday, so I’m used to it, but that particular Monday I had to agree with the heavenly host. I called in sick and took a mental health day.

Side note – seriously, I didn’t have any revelation other than my usual waking thought which is “I hate my job.” That morning I just hated it more than normal. Recently I had the same feeling, but I also remembered a snatch of the dream I dreamt before facing grim reality. A chorus of bunnies sat before me in rows on the grass, chanting Gregorian style and trying to convince me to start killing. I heard my own voice narrating the dream, remarking on how I found it strange that the bunnies’ role was to prevent murder and I didn’t understand why they reversed their position on me. Fortunately I’ve never taken orders from a bunny before, and don’t plan to start until next week, so on with the story.

My mental health morning was great, filled with sleeping and reading, but the afternoon was interrupted by my ringing doorbell, followed by pounding on the door. I didn’t have to look to see who was there since I heard my new redneck neighbor loudly introduce himself to every passing person who couldn’t care less. I stayed in bed until he took the hint and went away. He came back later and I let him take the hint again.

Tuesday morning came and I reluctantly returned to work. Any inner peace I had attained over the weekend was immediately shattered. The help desk I am forced to cover was flooded with irate calls from the loudest, most profane assholes I have had the displeasure to endure to date. It seems the people who own the web training program I support had done the following: 1) rolled out a new online course that was completely outside of their training system, 2) inadvertently sent an e-mail to EVERYONE in the company ordering them to take said training on pain of unemployment, 3) not including instructions on how to log-in or take the training, 4) not informing anyone that I couldn’t help them because the course belongs to another company, and 5) not telling me either. I spent the next several days having repeat conversations with screaming computer illiterate management morons who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) grasp the fact that I couldn’t help them. I think some of them just called back because mine was the only phone number guaranteed to take them straight to a live person.

True fact – the company that owned the troublesome course quickly switched from a live operator to a menu-driven system that only accepted voice mail. After awhile they added the option to talk to a live operator, which sent their call back to me. I reported this and I think they may have removed it. At least none of the calls I have sent away has been electronically returned in seconds.

Additional note – I need to work for the other company. When things go wrong, they hide. Here I’m expected to stay at my post (phone line) no matter what.

Anyway, it’s now over a week later and I mostly forgot what I was trying to post in the first place. The redneck returned Tuesday night and tried again. I let him take the hint one more time and he has not asked to make dope deals over my phone since. We did pass each other outside once and exchanged limp greetings, but that was all. Just the way I like it.

Work continues to be a pain (which is why it’s taken me so long to post). My days are filled with conversations about the course I don’t support. To add a new wrinkle, earlier this week the other company admitted the mass mailing ordering everyone to take their course was a mistake (they were supposedly downloading personal information for their records and accidentally sent a note to everyone ordering them to enroll as a condition for continued employment). Naturally, I can’t convince anyone that it was an error. They insist they must complete the training or lose their job. Since I’m unwilling to guarantee their continued employment, we move on to phase two where I try to tell them they will have to contact the people who own the course since I can’t help them. The following is an example of the type of conversation I have many, many times per day. Note – I’m substituting SunTrust (ST) and Chemical Bank (CB) for the real companies involved so I don’t get my butt sued off.

Me: Thank you for calling ST support. How may I help you?
Another Support Supplicant: My CB account is all messed up.
Me: Okay. This is ST. I’ll have to forward you to CB.
ASS: Why can’t you help me?!
Me: This is ST. CB owns your account. I handle ST problems.
ASS: This is an ST problem. I can’t access my CB account.
Me: Please understand that no matter how much trouble you have with your CB account, I can’t access their records and help you. You need to call…
ASS: God damn it! This is a waste of my time! I hate banks. I hate money. I hate accounts. I hate login ID’s and passwords. I hate…
Me: Thank you for calling ST support. Transferring your call now.

(thirty seconds later)
Me: Thank you for calling ST support. How may I help you?
ASS: I’ve called here five times already – FIVE TIMES * – and you people haven’t helped me yet! I can’t get into my CB account.
Me: Again, this is ST support. You need to talk to CB support.
ASS: I called them and nobody answered the phone. I left a voice mail message but they haven’t called me back yet. It’s been half an hour and nobody’s called! *
Me: (wondering if they really don’t know why nobody wants to talk to them) Again, I’m sorry if they haven’t responded quickly enough to suit you, but they still own the account. We only solve ST problems.
ASS: This is an ST problem.
Me: Is it an ST account.
ASS: It’s…an account. You fix it. Right now.
Me: Thank you for calling ST support. Transferring your call now.
ASS: God damn it! This is a waste…

(thirty seconds later)
Me: Thank you for calling ST support. (Please don’t let it be the last person again) How may I help you?
ASS: (sounding smug) ASS again. I still can’t access my CB account.
Me: Okay. Please understand that no matter how much time passes, I still can’t help you with another bank’s account. I only handle ST problems.
ASS: This is an ST problem.
Me: Thank you for calling ST support. Transferring your call now.
ASS: God damn it! This is a waste…

(next day)
Me: god, if you’re really up there, you won’t do that to me again.
Phone: Ring ring!
Me: Oh, you evil bastards! (more pleasant voice) Thank you for calling ST support. How may I help you?
ASS: (a little calmer) ASS again.
Me: Still having problems accessing the account?
ASS: No, I finally got in. Now the amount looks wrong.
Me: Okay. Please understand that CB owns your account regardless of the trouble you are having. I only handle ST problems.
ASS: This is an ST problem.
Me: Thank you for calling ST support. Transferring your call now.
ASS: God damn it! This is a waste…

Ugh. Bring on the too-short weekend. I need beer and Baldinos and hours of focused writing to un-screw my brain.

* Note – big, fat lie. I’m the only person on that line, so I know how many times they’ve called and how much time has elapsed.


Weary Hag said...

And now I see exactly why you felt my pain dealing with caller ignorance. Christ! Have a beer on me this weekend, I'll even send you something to read while you bask in the quietness of your quarters.

annush said...

that's probably one of the funniest things i've read all day. painful as I can imagine it was for you, I'm sure that deep down, you agree that it was funny!

Nobius said...

I like the opening about the Angels fluttering around your bed. As you know by now, Angels frequently appear in my writing...I hope you don't mind if I steal that. :)

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