Humor Can Be a Call Center Agent’s Best Tool in Times of Turmoil
A good laugh can be cathartic and help keep us grounded and focused in tough times. Keeping things lighthearted can also help call center agents deliver a more enjoyable customer experience, turning a stressful situation into a memorable one. Happy employees are also up to 20% more productive at work. For agents, that creates a snowball effect as they can help more customers to resolve issues more quickly. This positivity feedback loop benefits everyone. So, here are a few funny stories from the frontlines to further spread some happiness.
I was helping a patient with scheduling an appointment and I asked where the person was calling me from. The patient answered, “from my phone.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I was referring to the city. Maybe I stated the question wrong, but the patient and I laughed a lot.
Claudia Paola Oyarzun Villanueva
Once, someone called and was very angry. The keyboard was not working on this caller’s new laptop. I reviewed their recent calls and saw that they had already spoken with another agent who had checked the BIOS and the keyboard was working. The customer wanted to replace the laptop. We needed more troubleshooting to understand the issue. I asked, "where is the keyboard not working?" and the answer was, "when I trying to log in, only numbers are working." I realized they were in the PIN code area, but the customer thought they needed to enter a password! I explained the issue and how to reset the PIN code and the problem was solved.
When animals attack
Once, I was asked by a customer: “My internet box is getting attacked by squirrels, what should I do?”
Nuta Mihai Ciprian
Customers of all ages
Before the pandemic, I got a call from a customer who needed to purchase a pair of earrings and wanted help choosing the best type of metal. I explained that the customer had called the wrong support number. They said that they were very old and had nobody to help make a choice. I did not want to mislead the customer or advise something I wasn’t sure about. I suggested to do a search on Google and read people's feedback, but the customer did not know how to use the internet. I explained that I wanted to help, but I did not know much. I did not want to convey something that would not be true and advised them to go to a store and ask someone in the jewelry department. They thanked me for my time and said they would do that.
Every so often we would get an elderly customer who would call and just wanted to chat. All the agents felt so bad that we would talk to the customer about what they were making for dinner; just small stuff. After a minute or two we would end the call. The customer would call back until they talked to every agent and would start the conversation over.
I was working Christmas Eve one year when I received a call from a little kid wanting the phone number to Santa Claus. At first, I thought it was a prank call but after talking to the child for a little while I realized it was genuine. I engaged them in conversation about what they wanted for Christmas while I was locating the number for Santa in Google. After I located the phone number, I asked if they wanted to be transferred to him. I called the number first to make sure it was appropriate before completing the call. The child thanked me, and we wished each other a Merry Christmas.
Diane M. Roper
A client fell off the chair while on the call with me and had to wait an hour for their assistant to come. I decided to keep the person company on the phone while they were lying on the floor. To pass the time I told funny stories from my life to raise the client’s spirits.
I was on a call with an elderly client to whom I sold and installed System Mechanic. I explained that this program will help improve the speed of the computer. While installing the program, at one point I instructed the client on where to click because it would be slower for me to do it virtually. The client calmly replied, "You should install System Mechanic."
I will never forget when I asked a nice, kind, elderly customer for a screenshot or picture of the problem they had encountered. The customer sent me some selfies because they did not know how to change the orientation of the camera.
When technology comes alive
Back when I used to service flatbed scanners, I had a call early in the morning and the customer was almost whispering over the phone that the register was talking to them saying "error" and it was freaking the customer out. They didn’t know that the registers could “talk.” I explained that it was probably the NCR flatbed because it has auditory messages when it has certain problems. It was kind of funny that the customer thought the machines were becoming sentient for a second. We had a good laugh about it and then we got the flatbed replaced.
The mouse cursor on a touchscreen device in a retail location kept moving on its own. I worked with the customer to reset the mouse and I had them log off from the server before we realized that it wasn’t the mouse; there was a small bug running across the screen.