“You know what, I can’t keep explaining the same thing. What you’re asking me, I’ve explained to the guy who forwarded my call to you. And that was after I had explained it to the previous guy. And each of you keep saying you’re capturing this call on your system. What am I missing here?!? Your sales guys are very efficient when they sell your products but when it comes time to get technical support, we get pushed from pillar to post! I need to speak to someone who knows what the hell’s going on here because….”
There was something different about this particular consultant. She allowed me to speak and kept acknowledging all the points I was raising and apologizing. As soon as I paused speaking, she promised to change my mind about how they work. Her calmness annoyed me – it wasn’t matching my level of frustration. I thought she was giving me a standard/scripted reaction that they always give to irate clients and that made me push her around a little bit more until I realized she was repeatedly saying “Sir, would you please allow me to help you?!” Her tone of voice was getting rather agitated and she sounded more and more unscripted.
“I’m sorry, but I hope you can understand my frustration…” She interjected firmly, “I do Sir, trust me I do. Just, please let me do my work! I’m sorry for raising my voice too but let’s just try this again…”
She started solving my problems – one by one. At one stage, she had put me on hold and I looked at the phone call duration on the cell and it had been 49 minutes and some ticking seconds. Everytime she came back she’d thank me for holding and treated me with respect that I felt I didn’t deserve. She was pleasant and I couldn’t help becoming more and more reasonable and friendly, trying to make up for being a jerk earlier. This lady sounded like she actually cared about solving my problems.
“Sorry, I missed your name…” I said, trying to be civil. “It’s Karabo. Oh, I see the system just got updated now, you should be back online now. I’m going to hold the line and you can restart the cellphone that has a problem and then see if you now have signal.” I did and then told her it seemed that the problem is solved. Then there was an incoming call on that second cellphone that had been faulty. Karabo said I could answer it. When I did, it was her, calling from another line to confirm that the problem had indeed been solved.
Me: “Hah! Karabo, you’re my shero! Thank you ever so much and sorry for being a jerk. You’ve actually changed my mind as you promised!”
Karabo: “It’s a pleasure Mr Gwebu, would you like a reference number for this call?”
Me: “No, thank you.”
Karabo: “If you don’t mind, please take a moment and rate me after I end the call?”
I was obviously going to give her the highest rating. She asked me not to hang up as the rating questionnaire would kick in after she ends the call.
Karabo: “Was that all, Mr Gwebu?”
Me: “Yes, can I have your number please…?”
That had been unplanned, of course, and there was no taking it back. After a brief silence, there was a beep and then the automatic questions came on. That took my mind off from feeling the embarrassment of rejection; at least for a while. After pressing 5, which was the highest rating, there was a continuous beep. I couldn’t hang up until I was sure that my rating had been recorded.
“Sorry, just wanted to switch off the call recording.” It was Karabo! She thanked me for the rating. “Now, why would I want to do that, Mr Gwebu?” Her tone of voice was no longer official. I cringed a bit, and then said ”Excuse me?”
Karabo: “You asked me to give you my number, I’m asking why I’d want to give it to you.” I felt like she was reprimanding me and that I deserved it because I was rude to her earlier. Before I replied, she said “I used to live in your area. I actually know where you live.”
Me: “Oh, you do?!”
Karabo: “Yea, your complex is yellowish, right? At the corner?”
Me: “Oh-kay… Yes you’re spot on, as a matter of fact!”
There was an awkward silence. I was meaning to ask for her number again but I was getting a bit thrown off by what felt like she was playing hard to get. If she wanted to give it to me, she could just do so without making me beg. I found that strange.
Me: “So am I not disturbing you from your work?”
Karabo: “You were my last call for the night. Just gonna wait for our transport now”
Me: “I’ll come pick you up. Where are you based?”
She didn’t say no. I took the keys, got in the car and drove out while we chatted. I told her I’m now driving towards the highway. She told me I’m going in the wrong direction. I made a u-turn and told her I have.
Karabo: “Are you crazy!?!?”