Author Topic: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?  (Read 2648 times)

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TexasRanger

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When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« on: April 06, 2013, 10:14:23 AM »
What do you do when it is almost impossible to understand someone on the phone? I had to deal with a woman yesterday who was nice when I met her, but a pain to talk to on the phone. I ended up giving the phone to my mom to see if she could make heads or tails of what the woman was saying. She was as confused as I was. The woman was in a moving vehicle, on speaker phone, and had a GPS unit on and telling her directions.

The first phone call when well, she was still at her house and didn't have the phone on speaker (she did have an out of state accent, but was not high/drunk nor had any impediment). The only weirdness was the first thing I heard by "WhyyoucallhimX?" and I at first thought it was someone accusing me of something.

The second call when she needed directions was a nightmare. She was coming to my house to pick up a goat and that was it . The conversation went something like:
Me: Hello?
Her:Whatareyougonnadofencepanels!?
Me: Ma'am?
Her: Reapeating the same thing.

I passed the phone over to my mom (used to be a secretary and I hate talking to people on the phone) and she spent five minutes deciphering what the woman wanted, turned out to be her saying she was X minutes away and needed directions. She was talking like a NASCAR announcer half the time and with the background noise it was crazy.

What would the best thing to do in this situation? My mom was polite as she could be, but the woman wasn't getting the fact that no one could figure out what she was saying.
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LeveeWoman

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2013, 10:23:01 AM »
I'd tell her to hang up and to call back when she's parked somewhere.

SamiHami

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013, 10:25:25 AM »
I've had that happen before. I've simply said, "I can't understand what you're saying. Please talk slowly and turn off your radio (gps, tv, whatever)." It's not rude to say that; actually, it's rude to have a bunch of background noise when you are calling someone.

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JeanFromBNA

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2013, 12:19:41 PM »
I hate talking on the phone.  Specifically, I hate listening on the phone.  Cell phones are the worst.  Add background noise that comes with mobile phone use, and it's a mess.  Part of it is my fault (hearing difficulties), but part of it usually lies with the speaker.  If they're in a place where it's hard to hear them because of the background noise, I just keep repeating, "I'm sorry, I can't understand you."  Usually, that results in them rolling up the window, turning off the radio, or stepping out of the wind, and asking, "Is that better?"

If the problem is that they speak very softly, I ask them to speak up for me because I can't hear very well.  If the problem is the accent, I usually repeat whatever I thought that they said back to them, "You want to know about fence panels?"

It's frustrating.  I prefer e-mail. 

cicero

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2013, 12:31:50 PM »
I'd tell her to hang up and to call back when she's parked somewhere.
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LeveeWoman

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2013, 12:36:24 PM »
I'd tell her to hang up and to call back when she's parked somewhere.
this

Such a driver not only can't communicate well over the phone, but also probably is a danger to herself and others.

Bijou

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2013, 03:08:02 PM »
I'd tell her to hang up and to call back when she's parked somewhere.
this
This this.

There is a lot of background noise and I can't understand what you are saying.  Please call back when you are parked. 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 03:09:51 PM by Bijou »
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reflection5

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2013, 04:15:29 PM »
I had this happen several weeks ago.  The person (a customer service rep) had a VERY heavy foreign accent.  I had to ask her to repeat everything, slowly.  It was terribly frustrating.

I kept saying "I'm sorry, could you please repeat?  I didn't understand what you said."

OP, as others have said, I would have asked her to pull over, park, and call me back. 

VorFemme

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2013, 04:51:15 PM »
I currently have laryngitis.

We do not have texting on our cell phone plan.

I have mentioned to the teacher that I am married to that we need to think about adding it to the phone plan (or at least pricing it) at the end of this contract because it would be very, very handy the two or three times a year when one (or both) of us are having problems.  He brings home a cold or flu virus (or other contagion) from school at least twice a year.  Sometimes it is over in a few days....sometimes (like this time), it hangs around a lot longer.......

Six days for me, nine for him, and neither of us is "well", yet.  I'm not starting a betting pool because it would be too depressing.....
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Thipu1

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2013, 09:44:44 AM »
Yesterday, we got a call like this from SIL. The connection was so bad she had to scream her name three times before I realized who it was. 

There was nothing important she had to say.  She was on a sailboat in the BVI and just wanted to see if she could connect.  We decided that she could, but only just. 

BeagleMommy

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2013, 10:58:24 AM »
I've had to deal with this for many years as a secretary.  I usually do one of two things:

1:  "I'm sorry, I'm having trouble understanding you with all the sounds in the background.  Would you try calling me back when you're not moving?"

2:  "Okay, you're asking about fence panels?  Is this correct?  No?  Was it about face painting? Yes?  Okay, here's what you need to do?"

Usually one of those options works.

stargazer

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2013, 11:32:13 PM »
I currently have laryngitis.

We do not have texting on our cell phone plan.

I have mentioned to the teacher that I am married to that we need to think about adding it to the phone plan (or at least pricing it) at the end of this contract because it would be very, very handy the two or three times a year when one (or both) of us are having problems.  He brings home a cold or flu virus (or other contagion) from school at least twice a year.  Sometimes it is over in a few days....sometimes (like this time), it hangs around a lot longer.......

Six days for me, nine for him, and neither of us is "well", yet.  I'm not starting a betting pool because it would be too depressing.....

I'm sorry, I'm not seeing the connection to the thread at hand.

Maggie

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2013, 12:30:18 AM »
I currently have laryngitis.

We do not have texting on our cell phone plan.

I have mentioned to the teacher that I am married to that we need to think about adding it to the phone plan (or at least pricing it) at the end of this contract because it would be very, very handy the two or three times a year when one (or both) of us are having problems.  He brings home a cold or flu virus (or other contagion) from school at least twice a year.  Sometimes it is over in a few days....sometimes (like this time), it hangs around a lot longer.......

Six days for me, nine for him, and neither of us is "well", yet.  I'm not starting a betting pool because it would be too depressing.....

I'm sorry, I'm not seeing the connection to the thread at hand.

Because sometimes if you can't hear someone, they could text you and at least then you would know what they are trying to say.  Hopefully at least you would!

Raintree

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2013, 01:05:57 AM »
I had this problem talking with a receptionist at a business, who had a strong foreign accent. I caught most of what she was saying, but then she asked me a question at the end that I could not decipher even after asking her to repeat several times. I just said, "I'm sorry, I'm having trouble understanding you." But I felt bad, because she was all apologetic, and I didn't want to make her feel bad about her English.

I have a friend who often uses speakerphone, and I can tell because her words sound all muffled and tinny. I say to her, "Am I on speakerphone?" If she says yes, I ask her to call me back when she can do it without the speakerphone.

VorFemme

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Re: When You Can't Understand Someone On The Phone?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2013, 08:49:04 AM »
I currently have laryngitis.

We do not have texting on our cell phone plan.

I have mentioned to the teacher that I am married to that we need to think about adding it to the phone plan (or at least pricing it) at the end of this contract because it would be very, very handy the two or three times a year when one (or both) of us are having problems.  He brings home a cold or flu virus (or other contagion) from school at least twice a year.  Sometimes it is over in a few days....sometimes (like this time), it hangs around a lot longer.......

Six days for me, nine for him, and neither of us is "well", yet.  I'm not starting a betting pool because it would be too depressing.....

I'm sorry, I'm not seeing the connection to the thread at hand.

Because sometimes if you can't hear someone, they could text you and at least then you would know what they are trying to say.  Hopefully at least you would!

Exactly - my voice comes & goes.  Mostly it goes out on me.  But I could text everyone that I need or want to communicate with - if it didn't cost ten cents a text (and I'm married to an accountant - he would notice a change in the bill of five texts - because he's been known to ask me about very small changes in the total of a bill from month to month).

He griped about the cost of a plumber's repair bill - until he realized that the water bill had dropped enough to recoup the money in just over three months.......a toilet was repeatedly "hanging" and running for hours.  We finally replaced the toilet and the water bill dropped a LOT.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?