I was once onsite with an important client dealing with what had been described as “intermittent total failures” of their (very large) telephone system.
Client: This is COMPLETELY unacceptable.
Me: I’m really sorry you’re having these issues, but we need to narrow down what’s going wrong. Can you describe what happens when you have this problem?
Client: It’s ridiculous, and I can’t believe we pay you people for service this shoddy. I’ll be using the phone one minute and then it will COMPLETELY FAIL, and then be fine again a second later.
Me: That’s odd – if the system fails, it takes about 5-6 minutes to reinitialize. Are you sure it’s happening “second to second”?
Client: YES! It’s completely unacceptable.
All this time, we are walking down the hallways to get to the comms room. She is basically screaming at me, and I watch all her employees glancing nervously up at me while I catch hell. If it’s not the MOST embarrassed I’ve ever been, it’s top five.
We eventually made it to the lift. While waiting for it to arrive, she got a call on her mobile phone and answered it, telling the person on the other line that she was “dealing with the incompetent phone people.” I winced and the lift arrived. We got in and started going up.
Client: Well, they’ll have to fix it or they’ll be out of a contract, I mean… Hello? HELLO! CAN YOU HEAR ME?
She turned on me.
Client: You see? It does this all the time, this is outrageous!
Me: So, your mobile cuts off?
Me: When you’re on a lift?
Client: And on the bottom floor! We’re a big business! We need to be able to talk to our clients EVERYWHERE at our own headquarters!
The lift arrived at the comms room. There were 200+ agents there, all talking happily on their desk phones, using the telephone system we managed. No issues whatsoever.
Me: So – the issue is that your mobile phone cuts out?
Client: How many times do I have to tell you, idiot!
Me: But these phones on the floor work fine?
Client: I don’t know! I guess!
Me: You do realize we only maintain your internal telephony system – we have nothing to do with your cellular signal, right?
Client: ENOUGH WITH YOUR EXCUSES!