Tag Archives: retail

Customers and the Crazy Things They Say

When the phone rings, we answer. We say something like: “1-World, how may I help you?” But sometimes the things people say back can be pretty confusing.

It’s actually hard to do customer service over the phone. It’s not the same as having a customer in your store where you can quickly get a feel for what they’re looking for by showing them things and gauging their needs by their reactions. Usually, the customer who calls is looking at one of our websites, and our first task is to find the item they’re looking at so that we’re both looking at the same thing. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

The fact is that people call us from any number of strange places. Like the beauty parlor. Probably not the most opportune time to make a large purchase, but why not? A very happy lady who knew exactly what she wanted called the other day while she was having her hair shampooed. All the other ladies in the place jumped right in. They were helping her measure, giving advice about which item to get, making sure she asked all the right questions, all while doing her hair and laughing and carrying on. She ended up choosing a historical bird’s-eye-view map of the California town where she lived. (see here)

That call went really well, but here’s a sample of some of the more confusing calls we’ve received:

“1-World, how may I help you?”
“There are no mountains in the ocean!” Customer had ordered a topographical map by mistake.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“The Globe.” Customer was convinced that we had called him and didn’t want to talk.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I need a map of the GTA.” I’m sorry, where? “The Greater Toronto Area.” Oh.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I’m trying to find my lost friend I spent time with in Micronesia.” We can’t really help with that.
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I’m looking for the devil on my chair.” Ahhh…
“1-World, how may I help you?”
“I’d like to sign up for the lunch series.” I don’t… we sell maps and globes…

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