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Reg reader casts call centre spell with a SECRET WORD

He begged, cajoled, then said L****R and bang, everything was OK

On-Call Is there anything worse than a contact centre operative who just will not help you, even if you've told them there are metaphorical flames licking around your feet, and no matter what their script says they really need to help you out? NOW!?

Reader Alan hit just such an operative when, back in the day, he tended a 4.5Mbps bonded T1 link.

“I was an assistant system administrator at a local ISP,” Alan recalls, explaining that “I had organised a day of volleyball with some co-workers and friends.” And not just any old game of volleyball: Alan and his mates had designed the drainage on the courts to stop its sandy surface from washing away.

Alan was on-call on the day of the big match, so was was checking voice mail after every match. His diligence was a good thing because “about mid-day I found numerous messages indicating that our dial-up number was reporting as not in service".

A quick call to the ISP's carrier of choice – Sprint – confirmed that the number had indeed been taken out-of-service. So Alan's dial-up customers couldn't dial up!

“I learned this during a frantic call to Sprint business customer service. At which point I began asking what our options were to get the line back up. The very nice lady at the other end explained to me that they would have to get hold of four other departments which were all out for the weekend, and they would not be able to address this until Monday at the earliest.

“I explained to the very nice lady that I did not care if three of the four departments were on a Bahamas cruise, this line was our money-maker, our only way for people to access the net, ergo our services,” Alan recalls.

He tried to explain that she needed to get someone on the phone right away to sort things out, but “Once again she stone-walled me with the same explanation.”

“My response was simply, my next call after getting off the phone with her would be to the owner of the company, and his first call would be to an attorney.”

“A brief moment of silence and the very nice lady said to hold on for a minute. Within two minutes we had a local engineer on the phone who within 15 minutes had our dial-up line resurrected and customers were dialling in once more.”

Alan says he thinks Sprint's phone drones must have a special "lawyer" key on their keyboards which open a hidden set of menus which allow them to contact people who can get stuff done.

Whatever it took, there's a happy ending to the story as Alan says the eventual fix “took a little over an hour, but I was still able to get back to our games and throw some hot dogs and burgers on the grill".

He was, however, “a little full from gnawing on Sprint's ass".

What did you have to deal with when the phone rang and you were hauled in to work? Write to me and we'll make you a star of a future On-Call. ®

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