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Stupid Human Tricks

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 6:03 pm by flerly.

This job is a runaway freight train on the way to a bad customer service gig. If that makes no sense, it’s because all my brain cells have committed suicide.

My job description: Meet with a customer, face to face, in their office, spend an hour and a half getting to know them and their business, and help customize the website they already pay us for to look and work better for their needs. This usually entails adding a few industry appropriate buttons, updating their photo and contact info, and changing all the +3 sized, blue, flashing text content they’ve already added into something readable by human eyes. These meetings involve me (design) and someone else (from support), and usually it is all we can do to get a site finished for a single customer in that hour and a half. These are scheduled for three appointments a day, which allows for reasonable driving and set up time in the morning, two appointments, half hour lunch, once more appointment (two more in a pinch), break-down and drive time home. The set up involves me lugging a computer, projector and router out to each site.

My actual job: Customer shows up late, customer cancels, customer demands to reschedule even though these are booked weeks in advance and they are told that all slots are already filled, customer decides to bring their entire team to do “all sites at once”, customer is a new agent and needs a site built in the first place, not just customized. Murphy’s law, I guess. Thus, we end up with multiple people showing up for the same time slot, insisting they DID NOT cancel, or there was the fun one today, two agents with the same name. One booked the appointment, but we apparently called the other one with a confirmation about the appointment, so both showed up.

Things I’ve learned so far:

1) Don’t say anything to the agent if they walk in the door looking 30 years older than the soft-focus glamour shot that is currently their agent photo. Why? Well, it could be because it’s rude, or it could be because the photo is only a year old, and the last year has been full of so much hardship that they just LOOK 30 years older, as in the case of one lady who burst into tears telling me about her husband’s heart transplant, subsequent coma, and subsequent paralysis that she was dealing with, which amounted to 1.4 million dollars in medical bills, and she was really needing this improvement to her site because if she didn’t start prioritizing work again they were going to end up homeless. But, no pressure.

2) When an agent says, Take all the time you need, what they mean is, You’ve had all the time I’m going to give you, except now I’ll lead into my questions with something akin to “chit-chat” making you THINK you had time to eat lunch.

3) Even though they may be paying you for a website, they may not know how to view it on the internet, what the internet is or what a website is. If you tell a realtor they need something to be profitable as a realtor “these days”, then they hand you a credit card. I acted surprised today that a woman was willing to shell out an extra $25 a month for a feature she had no clue about, and she said “if everyone else is using it, I must need it, too”. I suggested that she could let me borrow her credit card for a trip to Macy’s if she really wanted to spend that way… but that is another story. I make the mistake of thinking people should understand what they’re doing, so they don’t say things to tech guys akin to increasing the size of their flock of sheep when they ask for more rams.

4) Relating to #3 above, they don’t know what email addresses are either, so explaining the benefits to using an alias so they don’t have to reprint all of their marketing materials every time they switch from Juno to Hotmail to Comcast to charter as their free trial periods run out. But I have to do it anyway.

5) N o o s h i n     F a r d b a s t a n     is in fact a real name of a real agent who is actually very lovely and agreeable to meet with rather than some made up Star Wars character name. She also thinks her name is funny, so we got along fine. She, however, could not be made to understand the difference between her domain name and her email address, but I wrote down what she needs to have put on her business cards so she can just hand it to the printer. She told me, “I just don’t like to have to think.” That’s a good gig if you can get it.

6) Spending the morning talking with your partner about what an ass this or that agent happened to be can lead to making some pretty bad faces when not one but TWO agents you meet with the very next day say they loved that ass’ site and isn’t he just such a nice guy. I was chastised for making faces, but hey, I did agree his site looked nice.

7) It might be rather pleasant to spend the entire hour and half getting to know the agent, taking notes, and planning what a great site you’re going to build for them now that you REALLY got into their head, but you still have to find the time to build that site. This time is usually found between 9pm and 1am.

8) I’ve wasted too much precious time already sitting here making this post, but it was worth it to quiet the voices.


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