The Liar

You really have to appreciate an honest person these days.

The chances I believe a sob story from some Angry Asshole or any other ESP is about 5%. When I first started at Telescreen, I was young, naive, and ready to solve problems. You just lost your house? Of course I’ll cancel your account. You paid your bill even though we don’t show it was received? No problem, I’ll credit everything myself.

Then what happened was I wised up. Management was on my ass for breaking protocol. The customers were saying things that just didn’t add up. They didn’t want a solution, they just wanted to tell a dumb fucking story to get their way. So I realized I was going to call a bullshitter a bullshitter and wouldn’t believe a damn thing. That whole process happened in about an hour by the way.

Since I know 95% of the ESP customers are lying about something, I really enjoy calling them out on their lies. They claim they made a payment, so we call their bank and confirm they didn’t. They claim they sent back their receiver box, but we track it on the postal service website and see it hasn’t been sent. It’s a nice way of calling “bullshit” without actually saying “bullshit,” which is frowned upon in a call center.

One customer wasn’t just a bullshitter, she was a liar. Like a pathological liar. I don’t think she could’ve told the fucking truth if she tried. So I had no choice but to call “bullshit” every five fucking seconds. I’d say it was great to be right, but when dealing with an ESP, you’re always right. Unfortunately, the more wrong they are, the more pissed off they get.

Customer: “I sent that damn receiver back to you, don’t you tell me I didn’t!”

Winston: “I’m sorry ma’am, but I don’t show that it was received. If you don’t mind holding for a couple of minutes, I’ll check out the tracking info and see what I can find out.”

I looked up the tracking info and saw the return box was delivered to her piece of shit trailer in butt-fuck Arkansas, but never sent back. Lie #1.

Winston: “I see the tracking info and it’s telling me nothing was sent back, but the return box was delivered to your address on the third. If you could please just look around your house, maybe talk to the other members of the household, and please see if you can track the box down. When we receive it, we will automatically refund the charge.”

Customer: “Fine, I’ll look for it. But I’ve got more issues on my damn bill. I paid last month and it shows I didn’t. Now my service is out and that don’t make me too happy.”

Winston: “Well ma’am, I’m looking at your bill and show your service was reinstated, but I don’t see any payment posted. Let me take a look and see what I can find out.”

I looked over her bill and sure enough, she didn’t make a payment. The notes on the account showed that she bitched and screamed until someone reinstated her service. Now it was out again, but no payment was ever received. Lie #2.

Winston: “I’m looking up your payment history, and I’m still not seeing anything ma’am. Would you like to make a payment today?”

Then shit hit the fan. She said she was a good customer. Lie #3. She always paid her bill on time. Lie #4. She paid this month and even paid extra to go toward the next month. Lie #5. Of course I didn’t believe any of this, why the fuck would I? So of course, she lost her shit, yelled, screamed, and slammed the phone down. All of that after she threatened to take my ass to court. Lie #6.

A few days later, when I was working on my “pending issues” as they call it at Telescreen, I brought up the psycho asshole’s account. Since I knew nothing was resolved and that she’d probably call back, I wanted to check on the status. Sure enough, right after she hung up on me, she called back again, and the notes from another agent said she told them she made a payment this month that didn’t post. Lie #7. They reinstated her service, but that was only good for one day. She called back again, and said she paid this month and some extra for the next month. Lie #8. They reinstated her service again (amateur bullshitters). Then she called back later that day and said she sent back her receiver and needed to be credited for the charge, which some poor supervisor did for her. Lie #9.

After all those lies, she had gotten about 300 bucks credited to her account, but didn’t speak one word of truth. So kids, the moral of the story is: If you’re an asshole and lie about everything, you get what you want. It’s a crazy ass world, isn’t it?

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11 thoughts on “The Liar

  1. Yep, and half of the time, it’s management that enables this. That’s the biggest reason why morale in call centers is so low, other than the fact that you have customers calling all day who think you’re dumber than they are. It’s knowing that there’s always some supervisor who will screw you over and back these liars over and over.

    • Exactly. You spend all that time fighting with a customer because of mandates pushed down to you by management, but when the call escalates to a superior they immediately take the customer’s side and give them whatever the Hell they want. Hence why customers always demand to speak to a supervisor. What’s the point of following protocol then? If I gave customers whatever they wanted, life would be a lot easier and Telescreen would have much less revenue. Perfect.

      • I don’t allow that – I trust my staff (at least give them the benefit of the doubt) and then address the client to confirm what my staff told me and what the billing software tells me. Almost 99.9% of the time – the customer is lying or exaggerating.

      • In my experience, more issues arise with staff members the less the management trusts them. And yes, the customer is lying, we weren’t born yesterday.

  2. This is probably incredibly naive of me, but if someone’s a pathological liar and you have incontrovertible proof to that effect, why not just call them a fucking liar. I mean, the customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is a lying douche attempting to scam you for free shit. I think the corporate world really needs to acknowledge this fact a little more frequently. (But yes, I know nothing is ever likely to change and we’re all doomed to an eternity of listening to slack-jawed knuckle-draggers telling unconvincing lies. Now I’m depressed.)

    • The reason why you can’t is because management frowns upon it. And when I say “frowns upon it,” I really mean “will fire your ass in a microsecond for daring to speak on it.” After all, if you start calling customers on being blatant liars, then you’ll start saying the same thing when your boss promises that you’ll get that promotion off the phones “any day now”.

      At my old job, we had the same problem with liars and with the blatantly delusional. We got the assholes who’d tell me “I made a payment! I have a confirmation number!”, and when I’d ask for that confirmation number, they’d say “Well, I didn’t write it down.” Yeah, I’ll bet. 99 percent of the time, they’d hear our prompt of “Please do NOT hang up until you receive your confirmation number” as “hang up now” and do so before the transaction was completed. The ones who claimed that they got their confirmation number would then say “But the system told me to hang up!” We’d go through the whole payment system, and when the system would say “Please do not hang up,” they’d start screaming “But it didn’t say that before! You changed the system!” With one or two, I’d chalk it up to stupidity or mental illness. However, when it happened all the time, it suggested a huge population of customers who’d rather lie than admit that, yes, they couldn’t pay attention to instructions.

      Equally bad were the customers in such denial that we couldn’t come out and say that they were in denial. My old company took electronic payments for MetroPCS (and yes, I can hear the shudder from here), so our lines were filled nonstop with free-range Soylent Green shitting into their phones. We had the ones who claimed that they were close personal friends with MetroPCS’s CEO, and I was amazed at how many Miami crackheads claimed him as a personal friend but didn’t know his name. We got a LOT of “Well, I’m a close personal friend of my state’s Attorney General, and I’ll have you shut down” when they were blocked for paying with a stolen credit card. (My personal favorite in that regard was the woman who called up because she had no idea why her phone was off, and denied that she knew anything about anybody reporting her last phone payment as an unauthorized charge on that card. I then got to hear her telling a friend “Smitty used a stolen card to pay my bill! And I fucked him so he’d pay it!”) There was the guy who apparently illegally used his church’s credit card to pay his electric bill, and tried to tell me that someone else had made the payments to his electric company just to get him in trouble, so I needed to turn his power back on RIGHT NOW. Again, the insult wasn’t just that they were lying, and lying blatantly. It was that they were coming up with stupid, trite, or overused lies, and then thinking I was dumber than they were and that I’d fall for them.

  3. If they (Management) did the math – They would be better off just cancelling this liar customer and “blacklisting” her FOREVER and let the reps deal with good honest paying customers. The amount of time alone (not counting the actual hard cash) that was lost would have been made up by supporting the staff and the good customers.

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