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Actual call centre conversations!

Customer: 'I've been calling700-1000  for two days and can't get  through;

can you help?'

Operator: 'Where did you get that number, sir?'

Customer: 'It's on the door of your business.'

Operator: 'Sir, those are the hours that we are open.'


Samsung Electronics 

Caller: 'Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?'

Operator: 'I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand who you are talking about.'

Caller: 'On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that

I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and

telephone Jack before  cleaning. Now, can you give me the

number for Jack?'

Operator: 'I think it means the telephone plug on the wall.'


RAC Motoring Services 

Caller: 'Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I am

traveling in Australia ?'

Operator: 'Does the policy name give you a clue?'


Caller (enquiring about legal requirements while traveling in Europe )

'If I register my car in France , and then take it to England ,

do I have to change the steering wheel to the other side of the car?'


Directory Enquiries 

Caller: 'I'd like the number of the Argo Fish Bar, please'

Operator: 'I'm sorry, there's no listing. Are you sure that the spelling is correct?'

Caller: 'Well, it used to be called the Bargo Fish Bar but the 'B' fell off.'


Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven.

Operator: 'Woven? Are you sure?'

Caller: 'Yes.. That's what it says on the label -- Woven in Scotland ...'



 On another occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds from a phone box told a worried operator: 'I haven't got a pen, so I'm steaming up the window to write the number on.'


Tech Support: 'I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.'

Customer: 'OK..'

Tech Support: 'Did you get a pop-up menu?'

Customer: 'No.'

Tech Support: 'OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?'

Customer: 'No.'

Tech Support: 'OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?'

Customer: 'Sure. You told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click'  .'


Tech Support: 'OK. At the bottom left hand side of your screen, can

you see the 'OK' button displayed?'

Customer: 'Wow! How can you see my screen from there?'


Caller: 'I deleted a file from my PC last week and I just realized that I need it.

So, if I turn my system clock back two weeks will I get my file back again?'


This  is a true story from the WordPerfect Helpline, which was transcribed from a recording monitoring the customer care department..............

Needless to  say the Help Desk employee  was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the WordPerfect organization for 'Termination without Cause.' 


Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee.

(Now I know why they record these conversations!):

Operator: 'Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?'

Caller: 'Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect '

Operator: 'What sort of trouble?'

Caller: 'Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.'

Operator: 'Went away?'

Caller: 'They disappeared'

Operator: 'Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?'

Caller: 'Nothing.'

Operator: 'Nothing??'

Caller: 'It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type.'

Operator: 'Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?'

Caller: 'How do I tell?'

Operator: 'Can you see the 'C: prompt' on the screen?'

Caller: 'What's a sea-prompt?'

Operator: 'Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?'

Caller: 'There isn't any cursor; I told you, it won't accept anything I type.'

Operator: 'Does your monitor have a power indicator?'

Caller: 'What's a monitor?'

Operator: 'It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV.

Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?'

Caller: 'I don't know.'

Operator: 'Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where

the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??'

Caller: 'Yes, I think so.'

Opera tor: 'Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's

plugged into the wall..

Caller: 'Yes, it is.'

Operator: 'When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that

there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one? '

Caller: 'No.'

Operator: 'Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and

find the other cable.'

Caller: 'Okay, here it is.'

Operator: 'Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into

the back of your computer..'

Caller: 'I can't reach.'

Operator: 'OK. Well, can yousee if it is?'

Caller: 'No...'

Operator: 'Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?'

Caller: 'Well, it's not because I don't have the right angle -- it's because it's dark.'

Operator: 'Dark?'

Caller: 'Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is

coming in from the window.'

Operator: 'Well, turn on the office light then.'

Caller: 'I can't..'

Operator: 'No? Why not?'

Caller: 'Because there's a power failure.'

Operator: 'A power .... A power failure? Aha. Okay, we've got it

licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and

packing stuff that your computer came in?'

Caller: 'Well, yes, I keep them in the closet..'

Operator: 'Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up Just like it was when you got it.

Then take it back to the store you bought it from.'

Caller: 'Really? Is it that bad?'

Operator: 'Yes, I'm afraid it is.'

Caller: 'Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?'

Operator: 'Tell them you're too damned stupid to own a computer!'

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I knew that my days on the help desk were going to be rough when one of the managers sent me a floppy disk with this note *stapled* to it: "Please check out this program. It won't load on my pc".

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At the risk of saying something really stupid, I’m on the side of the helpless lady depicted above.  I believe technology should be designed to accommodate to the most inept among us, with warnings and prompts galore built in to guide, counsel, and complete our efforts to make it work.  I confess I started out with pen on lined paper, and only later graduated with reluctance to the typewriter, carbon paper, and White-Out.  I never felt that I was obliged to become a typewriter technician but I did learn how to clean the letter-face strikers, and that was all I needed to master in order to use the damn machine.  Now, in this modern era, the computer is both my best friend and my worse enemy.  I am expected to understand processes that are hidden from me and to know stuff that ranks along with clearing a kitchen drain or changing an automobile tire in my level of interest and devotion.  I think every Help Desk should be free or supported out of our tax dollars, should be manned by fluent English speakers, and everyone who are recruited to sit at the end of those telephones to answer my ridiculous questions should be required to take a life-vow to protect and defend their helpless clients.

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Hear, hear, Merkin! In the days when I taught people how to use their computers for common office tasks, I always took care to make sure my students were reassured that in my view, if the function they were trying to learn was less than obvious to them, the fault was not theirs but the designers of the hardware or software. As I've always held, the best tools are intuitive. You don't need much training to learn how to use a hammer, or a knife....

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