Marvellous Mistakes

Speaking to some of the customers who phone us, I often wonder how they manage to get by from day to day. I know we all make mistakes it’s what us humans are known for. But some mistakes made by us mortals are worthy of being mentioned. Take a lady who phoned in a few days ago. She told me she’d received a letter from us stating that we had received her cheque but didn’t know what it was for.

‘Yes,’ I told her, ‘we’ve received your cheque, but you didn’t attach an application or reply slip or renewal, so we don’t know what you’ve sent it in for.’

‘I can’t remember,’ she told me.

‘Well we haven’t got a clue, so we’ll send it back to you. You can send it back when you’ve remembered what it’s for, and don’t forget to mention it when you send the cheque back.’

Or how about the woman who phoned in asking about a particular policy that is on special offer on the internet. I informed her there was an offer on but she could only set it up online.

‘I don’t want to set up a policy online. How much is it over the phone?’

‘It’s £17 a month over the phone and £13 on the net at the moment.’ I told her.

‘I’ll do it over the phone,’ she announced.

So be it. It’s the customer’s choice!

Or, how about the guy who was trying to find the details of his boiler. He told me the model of it, a model I knew quite well. I asked if there was anything else on the boiler as I needed the make.

‘No. There’s nothing else on the boiler. Where will I find the make?’

‘Does it say…on the boiler?’ I asked, even though he’d said there was nothing else on there.

‘Oh, yes. It does say that. Now where will I find the make?’

And, of course, I also make mistakes. I think one of the most common mistakes made by myself and my colleagues is getting the gender of a customer wrong. Because we deal with people on the phone and not face-to-face it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether the person is male or female. Customers often give just initial and surname. Most people would probably think that it’s quite simple to just ask, ‘what’s your title?’ Trust me, it’s not simple. Most of our customers don’t know what ‘title’ means. And when you ask, ‘is it mr, mrs, dr, professor…’ and are answered again with initial and surname you just give it up as a complete waste of time.

Sometimes getting details off customers is the hardest job of all.

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