17 of the Craziest Calls Customer Service Has Received
These stories will make you glad you’re not the one manning the phone.
Computer woes at sea
“I got a call from our company owner’s boat captain. He was fishing with the owner and their fishing software program stopped responding. I determined the mouse had died. To make sure we had to reboot the PC. He was up on the top floor, with the screen and mouse. The CPU and keyboard were on the next floor down. I had to walk him through the process of shutting programs down using the keyboard. Since his mouse didn’t work and the keyboard was downstairs, I had to tell him the instructions: ‘OK, hold down the [Alt] key on the keyboard, and while you hold that down press the ‘F’ like ‘Frank’ button on the keyboard.’ Then he would shout downstairs, ‘Honey! Hold down the [Alt] key on the keyboard! OK now press the ‘F’ key! No! ‘F’! Like ‘Frank!”And so it went. I had them shut down all the programs and the computer. We turned everything back on again only to confirm the mouse died. I told him we would get another one out to him the next day via overnight. All of a sudden he got really uncomfortable. He put his boat captain back on, who told me they didn’t want to tell me where they were, as they were at his favorite fishing spot and he didn’t want anyone to know where that was. I explained about having to ship the mouse overnight. He called me back after about an hour after he and the company owner worked out where they could get to where I could ship the mouse that wouldn’t give away their favorite fishing spot. The mouse got there overnight and worked fine once it was plugged in. I got a 10-pound fresh-caught salmon out of that call.” –– Maureen Sharkey via quora.com. That’s as nice as the representatives at these companies with the best customer service.
Do not disturb
“I was a telemarketer on my very first call, which was done sitting beside the top sales person who also was listening to the call. A woman answered and I began my very scripted introduction. I wasn’t really listening to what was going on, but the person beside me was, and he literally had fallen out of his chair and was rolling on the floor with suppressed laughter. The call lasted about a minute and a half and then the woman/potential customer hung up. My mentor, when he regained his composure explained that the woman I had tried to make a sale to was actually in the middle of having sex. To this day I still can’t understand why she bothered to answer the phone and even stranger why she stayed on the line talking with me; some talk and a lot of giggles and other noises from her and her partner.” –– Cindy Ferguson via quora.com
“The weirdest call I ever took was a lady who thought she was calling the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and she was really upset about something to do with her taxes. For some reason, she wouldn’t believe me that she hadn’t called the IRS, I couldn’t help her with her taxation issues, and she ended up hanging up the phone in disgust after yelling at me for quite a while. I had to laugh it off. I was polite for the duration of the call and tried to get her to believe me, but no dice.” –– Jonathan Lane via quora.com
“One of our elderly customers loved our joke of the day so much he would call in to hear them again, even old ones. There came a day when he kept asking for more and I wanted to share fresh puns, so I spent about an hour Googling and sharing punny jokes with him.” –– Zappos Customer Loyalty Team Member Kattie Killian
A bear-y bad problem
“A housemate of mine was working at M&S Customer Service. She met a very silly friend of ours at a party we had. Next day she receives a call at work: ‘Hello? I’d like to make a complaint. I bought a teddy bear at your store and it’s still alive.’ Just his sense of humor. She had to treat callers very seriously, of course, and it was a while before he put her out of her misery and introduced himself.” –– Shlomit Cnaan via quora.com. Want to get better customer service if you’re on the other end of one of these calls? Here’s how.
This is not the company you’re looking for
“An odd one was when a guy called because he lost his phone on a train. As a cleaning and maintenance company, we couldn’t have possibly helped him so the agent quickly advised him to call the police. However, the gentleman couldn’t comprehend that we do not clean trains and cannot help him with locating his phone. Finally, the unlucky guy demanded to be passed to speak to a manager to clarify things.” –– Staff at Fantastic Services
A bittersweet symphony
“I work at a concert venue. I had a customer call the day after the show wanting a refund because the artist did not play his favorite song during the show.” –– Natskincap via reddit.com
Let’s talk about it
“Recently, a client called in to discuss his booking with an agent. However, the gentleman was very upset as his wife had just taken all of her things as well as his car and had left him. After the client shared this, the agent asked if there was anything she could do to help him out and the man asked her to sing him a song. We understand that breakups can be really hard sometimes. While the customer service expert couldn’t sing for him, she stayed on the line and offered him advice on how to understand women better and fix things up with his loved one.” –– Staff at Fantastic Services
Aches and pains
“A customer had ordered shoes that caused blisters the first day she was wearing them. She had tweeted out a message for help, so I hopped into Postmates and placed an order for some band-aids to be delivered to her. I asked the Postmates driver to make sure they were as cute as possible and included princesses, Hello Kitty, etc.” –– Zappos Customer Loyalty Team Member Daniel Oakley
“I worked for an airline. A customer calls in wanting to go to a city we don’t fly to. No problem! I tell him we fly to [city] and then they can take another airline to [final destination]. He starts screaming, ‘Are you new? How can you be so stupid? I am on your website and you DO fly there!’ I explained that I had been employed a mere 25 years with that airline, but I’m always learning! Then I directed the customer to click on the connecting flight number, then read to me what it says. ‘Flight 123 OPERATED BY OTHER AIRLINE…Oh.’” –– Nonjudgecattycritic via reddit.com. In contrast, here’s the airline with the worst customer service.
Whose responsibility is it?
“A customer screamed at people over the phone for two and a half hours before finally getting to me (manager in billing) and argued with me for another two and a half because she claimed ‘How is it my responsibility to read my bill?’ because she’d been charged for four years of HBO and something else for like $30 and wanted that money back.” –– Nallette via reddit.com
One way or another…
“I worked at a call center for an online retailer. We shipped everything from a warehouse in Missouri and offered free ground shipping to the lower 48 states. A customer called in from Hawaii and wanted the free ground shipping. Explained to the customer that since we had to ship air, there would be a shipping charge. She argued, ‘What are you talking about? UPS drives up to my house and delivers ground. They don’t drop packages off to me by airplane!’ I apologized and re-explained to the customer that it has to go air because there are no ground routes all the way from Missouri to Hawaii. She continued to argue her point with me. Eventually, she said, “Just ship it ground shipping and it will get to me no problems!” Well, the problem with that idea is that the system literally wouldn’t let you pick any ground options to Hawaii. The call finally ended with her screaming at me and hanging up.”––dan_iksse3 via reddit.com
“I worked at a certain pizza chain in high school and usually I manned the phones. I answered the phone to a very pleasant sounding woman who needed to place an order. After taking her small order and repeating it back to her, she asked for extra garlic sauce. I informed her that it was 50 cents per cup. For some reason, this sent her into an extremely loud tantrum. You could hear her from the phone all the way to the back of the store. My manager promptly took the phone from me and slammed it up. Told me if the customer wants to act like a child then they aren’t worth your time. Sure enough, she called back a few seconds later. My manager answered. All I heard was an even more irate woman scream, ‘DID YOU JUST HANG UP ON ME???’ My manager calmly said, ‘I don’t know ma’am, did it sound like this?’ and then hung up again. That man is still one of my heroes.” –– BigPete2012 via reddit.com
When you just need someone to listen
Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock
“I was working for in an insurance underwriting call center when I pick up a call. It’s a gent who is livid on the other end, shouting and screaming down the line. It quickly becomes apparent he has dialed into the wrong company. On advising him of this, his response was priceless: ‘I don’t care, I’m angry and I’m going to moan at someone. He continued to rant at me for a further ten minutes before I politely dropped the call.” –– Joe Flanagan, operating officer at Suddora
Not exactly a cure-all
“I once worked customer service for a company that sold books on how to use essential oils for different health issues. We had a man call in saying, ‘I don’t see any sections regarding tumors. What oil do you guys suggest?’ The rep on the phone said, ‘Um…we recommend a doctor.’” –– Taylor Edwards, Momni
An unusual favor
“One time we ended up performing a snail babysitting service… One of our regular customers called saying that in addition to the cleaning that week, she would like us to look after their pet snail. The lady’s daughter had autism and had become convinced that this little snail was holding the soul of the pet rabbit they’d just buried—she wouldn’t go without having a professional take care of it while on vacation. So, the mother called us and, low and behold, the Fantastic cleaners who arrive at their house were sure to identify themselves as professional snail sitters. We took care of the snail as our new office pet, which we returned safe and sound after their holidays. ” –– Staff at Fantastic Services.
Sing with me now
“I had a customer who called with a request to help him stay awake as he drove from New Jersey to Brooklyn. After initially advising him to pull to the side of the road to keep everyone safe, he insisted I help him stay awake so he could complete his commute. We talked for some time, but I eventually ran out of ideas to help him stay awake until he asked if I would sing for him. For more than 30 minutes, I sang pop songs (in the office at normal volume) until he arrived at his point of destination and then he disconnected. My favorite song from my performance was by Miley Cyrus.” –– Zappos Customer Loyalty Team Member Max DuBowy. This is almost as whacky as the craziest things Home Depot employees have seen.