More on the 4th of July
I had the dubious distinction of being "volunteered" to work on the 4th of July. It kind of sucked because the 4th is my favorite holiday... all the fun without any of the hassles of buying gifts, etc. And any holiday built around things that explode is a friend of mine.
But the money was good, and anyways, I naively thought that with all the fun stuff to do that day, calling the cable company wouldn't be a high priority for even the most lonely. I was wrong. Even when the choices include the beach, picnics and fireworks, calling the cable guy is still compelling entertainment for many people.
As luck would have it, our email server went on the blink for quite a few hours. We put a message on our greeting that said, loosely translated, "Yes, we know. We're working on it. It'll be fixed when it's fixed."
This stopped almost no one. Normally, I just blah, blah, blah my way out of it, but I wasn't in a good mood and decided to do some reality instruction:
Customers (plural because I got quite a few calls along the same line): First let me say, I'm not yelling at you. You're just the person who happened to pick up the phone.
Me: Which means you are yelling at me.
Customers: What I'm really yelling at is the company.
Me: Yelling at me doesn't really accomplish that purpose. But I understand you're upset. I like my email, too.
Customers: It's more than just liking email. I pay outrageous rates for internet service, and I depend on all of it being available to me 24/7. I run a very successful home-based business and I could be losing thousands of dollars during the hours the service is out. If my mailbox fills up before I can get my mail, do you have any idea how many orders I could lose? What are you going to do about it?
Me: Suggest that trusting such a large business to a $40 a month internet account may not be the wisest business decision? I'm not trying to be offensive, but it's called "Residential Service" for a reason.
Customers: You're saying I need an even more expensive service?
Me: I'm saying that taking in "thousands of dollars" in a day vs. spending $40 a month is an indication that you may not have the right level of service for your needs. We offer business accounts that are somewhat more expensive, but they come with service level guarantees...
Customers: So, this is all just a trick to make us buy even higher-priced services. Isn't that what you're really telling me?
Not at all. What I'm really telling you -- even though I can't come right and say it -- is that I'm guessing your "very successful home-based business" consists of paying a spam company $99 to send out a few million emails on a holiday. Since this appears to be the first time you've done it, trust me that your mailbox isn't overflowing with "thousands of dollars" in orders for "C1/\|_1s". But, since you want me to do something about it, I will: I'll refer it to the Abuse Team. Have a good holiday.
I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. -- Raymond Chandler