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chyna's avatar

Not that I really care, but is this rude?

Asked by chyna (46920points) December 29th, 2017 from iPhone

I’m talking to a person regarding my insurance and she was was talking so fast I thought her butt must be on fire. When she finally took a breath I told her I didn’t understand a word she said because she was talking too fast. I got a big sigh and she stuck me on hold. I’ve been on hold 8 minutes now. I assume it’s my punishment. Do you tell people when you can’t understand them or are you way more polite than I am?

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16 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Well, she is being rude. The tricky part is to not be rude in return. And it can be a tightrope in these instances.

If I were in your situation, I would plead my own slowness (rather than her speed), then ask her questions about the beginning of her screed. And if she starts into it really quickly, just interject, “hold on, let me make sure I understand this…” and ask a question.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I tell them. In this case, I would ask to speak to her supervisor and tell her too. I am sure that one of their goals is to handle as many customer service calls as possible, but talking a mile a minute is no way to do that.

thisismyusername's avatar

These people are working under impossible conditions for little pay. Give her the benefit of the doubt that she is trying her best. Imagine being the voice for an insurance company. You’re getting calls from the most frustrated, sick, and desperate people. You’re spending your day getting yelled at by customers for things that are completely out of your control, and reprimanded by management if you don’t meet some measure of performance.

Maybe you are being “punished” for telling the rep that she spoke too fast. But maybe that’s ok. Maybe she needs that. (Don’t ask to speak to a supervisor.)

funkdaddy's avatar

1 minute to compose yourself is a lot different than 8 minutes to “punish” someone.

That’s a fireable offense everywhere I’ve ever worked. In addition to being a horrible experience for the customer, you’re taking a break while doing it. It’s like saying a waiter who’s smoking by the dumpster is all good because of the stress.

Occasionally I’ll get someone who I can’t understand because of an accent. I tend to throw a lot of “bear with me” and “I’m sorry but” in the conversation at that point. And then just try to get what I can and call back if needed.

I’d hang up and call back. I wouldn’t complain, but you might mention it and ask if there are any notes from your earlier conversation.

ucme's avatar

Not rude, just honest, if this person can’t handle a politely put statement of fact then fuck em & the precious little pony they rode in on.

canidmajor's avatar

I agree with @funkdaddy. One minute is long enough to compose yourself (count it out, it really is!), but 8 minutes without explanation is too much.

After all is said and done, the two parties are trying to conduct necessary business here, @thisismyusername, it’s about a specific account, the person talking to @chyna may not be working “under impossible conditions for little pay”.

I tell people when I can’t understand them, it’s important to me that we get stuff straight when we are discussing business, especially as relates to insurance and such.

CWOTUS's avatar

Given the way call centers are all about “production” and getting through the call as fast as possible (and with the fewest complaints if that can be managed), it’s not rude for either of you on that call to do what you do. That is, not rude for her to speak quickly – as long as it’s still accurate and factual speech – nor is it rude of you to say, “I don’t get what you just said.”

Where you might have let things get too far is in waiting for however long it took for her to catch her breath. If you let her speak uninterrupted for, say, two minutes (because she can do that, let’s say), then you just wasted two minutes of your time and hers. It would be understandable if she were miffed that you waited so long out of a misplaced politeness.

On the other hand, the eight-minute wait for a call transfer or new pickup is probably a glitch in the system. She may have attempted a transfer to another operator whom she assumed to be present and available, but who is not, but no one knows you’re still on hold.

When I’m on hold for any length of time in a business call, then I just hang up and call back. Only government offices seem to feel that indefinite and interminable wait time is acceptable to their callers. You’re not being “punished”; the call was dropped, and they’ll apologize profusely – and sincerely – when you call back to notify them. (The benefit of that might be for operators who are leaving their stations to explicitly change their status to “not available” to help prevent those kinds of things.)

stanleybmanly's avatar

If her job actually requires machine gun rhetoric then you can bet she’s accustomed to your complaint. But regardless of the reasons, the behavior itself is rude to the point of being insulting. Tell her so.

janbb's avatar

Did she ever come back from “on Hold”? She should not have put you on hold without asking if it’s ok. I’ve spoken to folks from Medicare and Social Security who were absolutely lovely; there was no reason for a company employee (she wouldn’t have been at a call center) to treat you like that.

chyna's avatar

She was with my insurance company, not a call center. She said hold please and never came back, but had transferred me to someone else that was nice and helpful.
It’s really hard to make these kind of phone calls after work because they are usually closed too. A lot of people have to use their break or lunch time and don’t have the time to be on hold. Luckily, I don’t punch in and out, but continued working while on hold. Companies should monitor their employees on occasion to ensure they are polite and helpful.

Dutchess_III's avatar

She probably didn’t realize she was being rude. However, after you told her what the problem was, the fact that she stuck you on hold for so long was undeniably rude. I would talk to her manager, or write them a letter. She is in customer service capacity and they need to know when there is a problem. And talking too fast IS a problem.

Sometimes customers talk too fast, too, especially when giving out numbers. Some people just don’t understand how to really communicate. One particular instance sticks in my head. I was in customer service and I asked the customer what their number was. He says, in a rush, “Fourfiveeightdoubleoughtthreeseven.” I’m going, 4 5 8….. Double ought? Oh. Two 0’s. 458–0037. In the end all that speed slows everything down.

Let management know.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have said this more than once “Excuse me, I can’t hear very well, you need to talk louder and slower

Patty_Melt's avatar

I have done that also, except my phone is the problem for me. The speaker is bad. Once I explain the difficulty, they tend to slow down, and politely so.
I have also had people speaking too fast and I tell them, “Excuse me, could you slow down please? I am less familiar with these points than you, and I need to hear it slower to let the facts sink in.” That is usually met with an apology and they slow down for me.
If you give a specific reason you need them to slow down, it sounds less like blame, and they are usually compliant.
I am glad she did find someone else to help you, rather than get huffy about it.
The time you waited was probably waiting for the other person to finish with a call.

seawulf575's avatar

If that happened to me, I would have done something similar to what you did. I don’t know if I would be more or less polite…I guess that would be up to the person I was speaking to for the interpretation. I would probably have stopped her part way through her spiel to get her to slow down. And if I got the heavy sigh and put on hold, when she came back I would just tell her to put her supervisor on the line. Then I would have a conversation with the supervisor about the quality of the customer service I felt I was getting and would ask if this was normal and expected or if I should go find another company to do business with.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think, knowing me, I would have said almost exactly what @chyna said. Very direct and honest..“You said all that so fast that I couldn’t understand what you said.” Of course, then we open ourselves up to deep sighs from the other end, meant to convey that we’re stupid. I don’t care.

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