Author Topic: I want this fixed right away but don't call me  (Read 3109 times)

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Cherry91

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I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« on: September 17, 2013, 11:30:49 AM »
As part of my job, I have to cover the building's reception desk on occasion. This desk acts as the first point of contact to the rest of the building, and half the job is transferring calls to the relevant department, of which there are quite a few.

A client called today about a technical issue with one of the systems we use (it's accessible to both us and clients) and as she stressed the urgency of the call, I tried to transfer her straight to the technicians so it could be fixed, however as they're currently short staffed no one was available to take the call.

I took the client's details and offered to have someone call her back right away (so within 20 minutes at most). She then said that she would be far too busy and would be turning off her phone in a couple of minutes until 5 o'clock. We agreed that I would get someone to call her either after 5 or the next day. I made a note of this and sent an email to the technicians to handle the call.

About half an hour later (and before 5 o'clock) the same woman rang me again, saying that she had received a phone call  and voicemail from a technician and wanted me to transfer her through to them. However, I knew I wouldn't get an answer as I'd not long before watched the same technician walk past me on her way to a meeting. I explained this to the woman, who then became irrate because she needed the system fixed in order to submit a document in according to a deadline, which was tomorrow. I apologised and told her that I would have the technician call her back the minute she was out of her meeting, only for the caller to state that she'd be turning her phone off again! I'm not sure how she thinks we can help her when we can't reach her.

She's threatening to call back again later, and/or tomorrow. Can someone give me a business appropriate and etiquette approved way of saying "You are not helping us to help you!"

BarensMom

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 11:33:42 AM »
"Ma'am, when will you be available for our technician to discuss the situation with you?  Is there a contact number where you can be reached?"

baritone108

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 01:59:06 PM »
I'm on the side of the woman caller.  She said she'd be unavailable that day until 5pm and was told a technician would call her back after 5 or the next day.  She was o.k. with that.  Then the technician called before 5, at a time the woman had already said she wouldn't be available, and left a message. 

I've had this happen to me, the unspoken message is that the company is going to ignore what I've said about availability so I had better try to call the technician back asap.  Woman caller did that and technician was unavailable.  No wonder she was frustrated.  Her saying she still wouldn't be available wasn't really any different than what she had said the first time.

If it were me, I'd want to be assured that a technician would be calling me back after 5pm and (if it were possible to say this) before 5:30.

That Anime Chick

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 02:32:11 PM »
I run into this a lot. It's a darned if you do, darned if you don't situation.

BarensMom answer is probably the best, but I can bet that even that won't be satisfactory for her. In other words, she will want everyone to drop what they're doing and take care of the problem now now now!

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cwm

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 02:40:04 PM »
Cherry, you did the best you could. The woman had said her phone would be turned off, and she's upset that someone left her a message? If I've told someone that my phone will be turned off, unless I tell them not to leave messages for me, I'd be glad that they had tried to call.

I really like BarensMom's response, it's the best option. Also, ask the technician if she would mind if you gave this woman her dedicated phone number (assuming she has one) or transfer the calls so she can leave them a voicemail directly. It might help if they're contacting each other without having someone else run interference for them, so at least the woman knows that her voicemail or messages are getting straight to the person who's going to be fixing them.

I've also had to tell our clients that the times they want us to call them are simply not possible and we need another way to contact them. We have fairly standard office hours and they'll want a phone call at 8:00 PM, for example, and will get extremely mad when we resort to leaving messages for them. I've been instructed by management to explain politely that we operate within certain hours, and if they did not provide us with an alternate method of contact (work phone number, cell phone number, email address) then we would be leaving messages during the day and getting messages the next morning, but there was no way of calling outside of certain hours. Might this be something you could do? Explain to the woman that your technician was scheduled for a meeting after 4:30 and would not be able to return a call after 5:00, so she called earlier to let the woman know that she had received her complaint and was working on it as quickly as she was able.

Zilla

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 03:15:01 PM »
Yes, I am on the woman's side.  You mentioned you noted in the email the 5PM or next day, so why in the world would the technician call AND leave a message?  The woman probably just briefly turned back on her phone to check messages and caught that one and made time to call back.  When she still yet couldn't reach the technician, I be annoyed too.


I would then make a specific appointment for that tech to call her back at 5PM or start of business day next morning if possible.  Your response should be along those lines.

TootsNYC

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 03:20:39 PM »
So the technician called early? The "after 5pm" timeframe hadn't even happened?

So the technician took a chance that she might get through, and also wanted to make sure the woman knew that the company was focused on her problem.

And the woman is mad?

As long as a technician calls at the available time (which you apparently agreed to), she's really not got a lot of logical room to complain.

I think you could actually say, though, "I'm not sure how we can speak to you if your phone is off. I'll tell the technician not to call you until that 5pm appointment that you established when we spoke earlier. Is that OK?"

This woman wants your technicians available right away--they can't be. But she's not willing to go back and forth, so too bad--she gets to wait until after 5, or the next day.

VorFemme

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 04:33:24 PM »
I can remember getting emailed reports from people who were up at 3 am.  I came in to work at 9 am.  I was required to leave them a message or talk to them within two hours of their email being sent (so I was already "late" responding to them when I got to work) - but I would try calling as soon as possible with the correct contact information for the person most likely to be able to handle their situation.

Sometimes I left voicemails for people who were apparently on the evening or night shift - sometimes I woke them up - but MOST of them were glad to know that they had the correct contact information and the work schedule for when that person (or that department) was going to be available.  We were closed midnight to 6 am, nobody worked that shift at our location except the cleaning crew...who did NOT answer the phones!

Just because they want to be contacted at X o' clock doesn't mean that the company's guidelines allowed the worker to put off trying to contact them - if they had similar guidelines about attempting to contact someone within X number of hours, even if the person is not at work, in a meeting, or otherwise not available - there may still be a need to document that an attempt was made "within work guidelines".

And more people were glad to have the information than complained about the call backs after 9 am!
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 04:35:41 PM by VorFemme »
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Eeep!

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 07:45:29 PM »
I think I would have to know what message the technician left.  If he called and said he would try her again after 5:00, then I think she is being silly.  However, if his message made it sound like this was THE call, then I would be a bit miffed too. After all, I expressly said that I wasn't going to be available until after 5:00.  And I would be concerned that if I didn't actually talk to the person when I called back- which is what happened - that this scenario would keep repeating itself.   
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

Virg

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 02:38:30 PM »
TootsNYC wrote:

"So the technician took a chance that she might get through, and also wanted to make sure the woman knew that the company was focused on her problem.

And the woman is mad?"

I've been down this road many times myself, and the problem is that more often than not, the call that came in early will result in a "left message" tag on the call, and she wouldn't get her call at 5:00.  That's not how it's supposed to work, but I've been in technical support for decades and that exact scenario has played out for me thousands of times.  I leave a message to call after 1:00.  The call comes in at 12:10 and I'm not there.  No call comes in after that, and when I call at 5:00 I'm told, "the tech called you and left a message."  So yeah, she's mad, and to be honest she should be.  In a very direct sense, it's Cherry91's company that didn't follow directions.  What would drive the technician to take a chance on getting through when said tech was informed by the caller that she'd have her phone switched off?

"As long as a technician calls at the available time (which you apparently agreed to), she's really not got a lot of logical room to complain."

As I said above, I'd give better than even money that waiting for the call at the appointed time would be a mistake because it won't happen.  I'd do exactly what she did, which is call back right away and reestablish the callback timeline.  I may not become irate about not being able to talk to the tech right then, but I'd certainly be irritated that this company ignored the agreed-upon timeline.

Virg

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 04:01:53 PM »
TootsNYC wrote:

"So the technician took a chance that she might get through, and also wanted to make sure the woman knew that the company was focused on her problem.

And the woman is mad?"

I've been down this road many times myself, and the problem is that more often than not, the call that came in early will result in a "left message" tag on the call, and she wouldn't get her call at 5:00.  That's not how it's supposed to work, but I've been in technical support for decades and that exact scenario has played out for me thousands of times.  I leave a message to call after 1:00.  The call comes in at 12:10 and I'm not there.  No call comes in after that, and when I call at 5:00 I'm told, "the tech called you and left a message."  So yeah, she's mad, and to be honest she should be.  In a very direct sense, it's Cherry91's company that didn't follow directions.  What would drive the technician to take a chance on getting through when said tech was informed by the caller that she'd have her phone switched off?

"As long as a technician calls at the available time (which you apparently agreed to), she's really not got a lot of logical room to complain."

As I said above, I'd give better than even money that waiting for the call at the appointed time would be a mistake because it won't happen.  I'd do exactly what she did, which is call back right away and reestablish the callback timeline.  I may not become irate about not being able to talk to the tech right then, but I'd certainly be irritated that this company ignored the agreed-upon timeline.

Virg

I totlaly agree.  Unless the technician expressly said he/she would be calling me back, my assumption - based on experience - woudl be that the message was my official "call back".  Which would mean that my very clear request that I be called after 5:00 was disregarded.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

Zilla

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Re: I want this fixed right away but don't call me
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 04:36:54 PM »
TootsNYC wrote:

"So the technician took a chance that she might get through, and also wanted to make sure the woman knew that the company was focused on her problem.

And the woman is mad?"

I've been down this road many times myself, and the problem is that more often than not, the call that came in early will result in a "left message" tag on the call, and she wouldn't get her call at 5:00.  That's not how it's supposed to work, but I've been in technical support for decades and that exact scenario has played out for me thousands of times.  I leave a message to call after 1:00.  The call comes in at 12:10 and I'm not there.  No call comes in after that, and when I call at 5:00 I'm told, "the tech called you and left a message."  So yeah, she's mad, and to be honest she should be.  In a very direct sense, it's Cherry91's company that didn't follow directions.  What would drive the technician to take a chance on getting through when said tech was informed by the caller that she'd have her phone switched off?

"As long as a technician calls at the available time (which you apparently agreed to), she's really not got a lot of logical room to complain."

As I said above, I'd give better than even money that waiting for the call at the appointed time would be a mistake because it won't happen.  I'd do exactly what she did, which is call back right away and reestablish the callback timeline.  I may not become irate about not being able to talk to the tech right then, but I'd certainly be irritated that this company ignored the agreed-upon timeline.

Virg


I am confused, which is you and which is Toots?  It's hard to figure it out without the quote feature.