Communication Error

Why are some customers impossible to communicate with?

Mrs X has just sold her caravan, and on the closing statement there are four items she wants to query.

Because Mrs X is “of mature years” and “not in the best of health” she is accompanied by a gentleman. Whilst normally this would be a sensible precaution, it just serves to fan the flames of misunderstanding.

There are two corrections to be made to the closing statement: a change in her surname, notified to us in writing some weeks ago, has not been made legal, so the surname needs changing back. This needs to also be in writing….. no problem.

A queried payment needs amending…. our error, the payment was shown against another account.

£12 for electricity is queried. The accompanying gentleman wants to know the date of the previous bill… unfortunately we don’t have that to hand. This starts accusations on the lines of “if you can’t tell us what you are charging for, we are not paying” from Mr Y, and the beginning of a long story of illnesses from Mrs X.

The simple answer “that’s from electricity used since the last bill” is not good enough for Mr Y.  The story of hardship and illness goes on.

While I am not unsympathetic to people’s personal tragedies, I am not a branch of Social Services and I am trying to answer the more relevant questions. After all, the electricity has been used… that is what the meter is for.

The tale of woe continues to problems with the toilet cistern on the caravan in March 2006, over a year ago. Our local plumber charged her £70 for a repair, and the repair failed in August. Between those dates, we had changed our regular plumber, but we got our new plumber to do a full repair, and we paid the bill for that. However, despite us paying for the second repair, Mrs X wants a refund for the first bill. Why? The tale of woe continues further, while Mr Y accuses us of not being sympathetic.

Sympathetic? If we were not, why did we pay the plumber for the second repair?

And it goes on and on. I need a coffee. Maybe something stronger.

At least this customer is leaving. For the past few years I have had a sinking feeling whenever she entered the office. Finally, it will be no more.

I have another customer, a married couple, who are equally difficult to communicate with. Both talk at the same time, both ask different questions at the same time, neither listen to the answers. All this means is that they are both back in the office, the following week, asking the same questions. If my office walls were not plasterboard, and thus might crack, I would bang my head. Hard. Repeatedly.

“Ding Dong”

Bugger. She’s back at the counter. What now?

Later: I think I need to adopt the following motto.

All our customers bring us pleasure. Some by arriving. Some by leaving.

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