Customer Service: How Do they Ever Survive?

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Sad is the life of the poor customer service representative for technology companies today, for they must deal with people who simply haven’t caught up with the world. There are those in this world that we call “Geeks” because, while they may not be able to match their clothing, tie their shoes, or even put gas in their cars, they do understand any that has to do with technology.

Then there those of use who are relatively normal, and who understand enough about computers, phones, garage door openers, etc. to turn them on, make them to work and follow simple instructions from tech support (providing we can speak the same language of Steve from India) when something goes wrong. Then, alas, there are these folks. The following are the transcripts from some actual recorded calls to Customer Support lines for tech companies:

Customer: ‘I’ve been calling 700-1000 for two days and can’t get through;
can you help?’
Operator: ‘Where did you get that number, sir?’
Customer: ‘It’s on the door of your business.’
Operator: ‘Sir, those are the hours that we are open.’

Samsung Electronics
Caller: ‘Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?’
Operator: ‘I’m sorry, sir, I don’t understand who you are talking about.’
Caller: ‘On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that
I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and
telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the
number for Jack?’
Operator: ‘I think it means the telephone plug on the wall.’

Tech Support: ‘I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.’
Customer: ‘OK..’
Tech Support: ‘Did you get a pop-up menu?’
Customer: ‘No.’
Tech Support: ‘OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?’
Customer: ‘No.’
Tech Support: ‘OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?’
Customer: ‘Sure. You told me to write ‘click’ and I wrote ‘click’.’

And naturally I would save the best for last: 

Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee.
(Now I know why they record these conversations!):

Operator: ‘Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?’
Caller: ‘Yes, well, I’m having trouble with WordPerfect .’
Operator: ‘What sort of trouble?’
Caller: ‘Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.’
Operator: ‘Went away?’
Caller: ‘They disappeared’
Operator: ‘Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?’
Caller: ‘Nothing.’
Operator: ‘Nothing??’
Caller: ‘It’s blank; it won’t accept anything when I type.’
Operator: ‘Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?’
Caller: ‘How do I tell?’
Operator: ‘Can you see the ‘C: prompt’ on the screen?’
Caller: ‘What’s a sea-prompt?’
Operator: ‘Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?’
Caller: ‘There isn’t any cursor; I told you, it won’t accept anything I type..’
Operator: ‘Does your monitor have a power indicator?’
Caller: ‘What’s a monitor?’
Operator: ‘It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV.
Does it have a little light that tells you when it’s on?’
Caller: ‘I don’t know.’
Operator: ‘Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where
the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??’
Caller: ‘Yes, I think so.’
Opera tor: ‘Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s
plugged into the wall..
Caller: ‘Yes, it is.’
Operator: ‘When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that
there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one? ‘
Caller: ‘No.’
Operator: ‘Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and
find the other cable.’
Caller: ‘Okay, here it is.’
Operator: ‘Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into
the back of your computer..’
Caller: ‘I can’t reach.’
Operator: ‘OK. Well, can you see if it is?’
Caller: ‘No…’
Operator: ‘Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?’
Caller: ‘Well, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle — it’s because it’s dark.’
Operator: ‘Dark?’
Caller: ‘Yes – the office light is off, and the only light I have is
coming in from the window.’
Operator: ‘Well, turn on the office light then.’
Caller: ‘I can’t..’
Operator: ‘No? Why not?’
Caller: ‘Because there’s a power failure.’
Operator: ‘A power …. A power failure? Aha. Okay, we’ve got it
licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and
packing stuff that your computer came in?’
Caller: ‘Well, yes, I keep them in the closet..’
Operator: ‘Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it
up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to
the store you bought it from.’
Caller: ‘Really? Is it that bad?’
Operator: ‘Yes, I’m afraid it is.’
Caller: ‘Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?’
Operator: ‘Tell them you’re too darned stupid to own a computer!’

How do they Survive?

About Post Author


WAFormby has spent his life trying find out what he wants to be. When he determines that he will let everyone know, including himself. Most of his life he has been an educator and still enjoys bringing the light of knowledge, as he knows it, into the darkness of ignorance, as everyone else knows it. Despite his wealth of experience, education and knowledge he is humble and tries not to take himself too seriously.
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10 years ago

I take offense at this description of the word “Geeks.” It’s like non-geeks think we lack basic life skills. Matching clothing might apply to some, but the other two imply some sort of mental retardation or a serious mistake of upbringing on the parents’ part. We aren’t on the autism spectrum, we just have a different set of skills.

Reply to  Linh
10 years ago

No need to get upset at all and you are the one took away from it the mental retardation, Bill said nothing about that. There are many of us geeks in the world, it’s the new sexy. I take great pride in my nerdorgeek label.

Bill Formby
10 years ago

There are many of them who are simply I,T, challenged.

Reply to  Bill Formby
10 years ago

In my case old bean, purely and simply, technologically inept. I was so much happier with telephone boxes and carrier pigeons….life was so simple back then….

10 years ago

My cousin calls them the ID ten t people. Id io ts of which I am one because he is my go to geek if hubby isn’t around.

Reply to  Jess
10 years ago

Now don’t get the wrong idea hubby! 😉

10 years ago

I would like to ask how MMA have managed to get all these recordings of me??????? Whatever happened to the Data protection Act???

Bloody technology…..

Bill Formby
Reply to  Norman Rampart
10 years ago

I had your phone tapped Norman.

Reply to  Bill Formby
10 years ago

You’re probably not the first old bean 😉

Bell Thompson
10 years ago

I was a customer service rep for Directv and you have to have a thick skin. You get called names, cursed at, and other unmentionables. I quit after 9 months. If I wanted to get treated poorly I’d go back to my first husband.

Bill Formby
Reply to  Bell Thompson
10 years ago

I can understand that Bell. Some people don’t realize that the person on the phone doesn’t run the company.

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