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Author Topic: Need Some Advice  (Read 2705 times)
Mr_Vindictive
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« on: January 01, 2007, 05:11:39 PM »

As some of you on the board know, I work for an small internet provider here in North Carolina.  I had to work the holiday today, and I received a phone call that has gotten to me and I want to know what you all think about how I should proceed.

Here is exactly, word for word how the original call went:

Me: "Thank you for holding for technical support, this is George, how may I help you?"

Cx: (angrily) "George, if I had a f***ing shotgun, I'd come down to your office and personally blow your f***ing head off.  Then, I would burn down your f***ing company."



At this point, I hung up without notice to the customer.

He then called back.

Me: "Thank you for holding....." blah blah blah

Cx: "DID YOU JUST F***ING HANG UP ON ME!?"

Me: "Yes, I did.  You threatened my life and this company with your last phone call.  You called for help, but you should not expect any if you speak to someone like that."

I then hung up again.

He continued to call, and I continued to pick up the phone - not answer it and immediately hang up.  I was the only one working today, so I was the one getting the calls over and over.  I know it was him due to the fact that his # kept showing up on the caller ID.

I ended up calling my boss after sending him emails pretty much dictating the same thing I've written here.  He then called the customer himself.

He told me that the customer was angry that I hung up on him numerous times.  Come to find out, the cx was angry to begin with due to the fact that he was being disconnected from his dial up connection every 4 hours, which is common procedure with most ISPs.  My boss upped his login time and gave in to the guy's demands.

I asked my boss the guy's name, and come to find out the guy is someone who has been doing this to tech support for years now.  I've been with the company for almost 4 years and I've talked to the guy about 10 times and he was always quite angry, calling me a liar, motherf***er, and a**hole.  I'm not the only one though.  He's done this to numerous other people in tech support, just never to the point of threatening their lives.

I don't have any fear that he would actually carry out his threat.  That is in no way the problem.  My problem is that the guy was a complete jerk and gets away with it.  Isn't there something I can do on my side to combat back against this?  I tried calling the sheriff department of the town where he lives to file a complaint.  They say I need to contact the sheriff department where I live...I have done so and they tell me to call the other department.

My boss said he would speak to the owner about the calls and see about shutting off the guy's service and terminating him as a customer.  This will certainly not happen as the owner of the company likes every penny he can get, and losing a 20.00 per month customer will be like a kick to the groin for him.

I've thought about pursuing a restraining order against the guy so that he would not be able to call technical support and therefore would have to cancel his service with us.  The problem there though is the aforementioned problem with the two sheriff departments not doing anything.

So, thoughts?  Ideas?  Anything????
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joe
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2007, 05:39:15 PM »

get some industrial strength weed killer and right "wanker" in huge letters across his lawn.
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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2007, 06:13:53 PM »

get some industrial strength weed killer and right "wanker" in huge letters across his lawn.

LOL

That would certainly be revenge served.

I was quite close to calling the guy after I left work today but I didn't want to sink to his level of petty insults and profanities. 
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ulthar
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2007, 06:15:05 PM »

As a former member of Law Enforcement, I can say first of all that these agencies are giving you the runaround.  Call them back, ask to speak to the shift supervisor and find out which agency has jurisdiction; my guess is it will be the one in which he called from since that is where the crime was committed.  You have technically been assaulted, and making phone threats is against the law.  Or, bypass the police part and go to the magistrate (where he called from) and sign a warrant on the guy, have him arrested and THEN tell your boss you are not playing games with someone threatening your life.

Quote

I don't have any fear that he would actually carry out his threat.  That is in no way the problem.


That's what people ALWAYS say...after the fact.  "I never thought he'd carry it out."  Maybe he won't.  Maybe someday he will, if not toward you then perhaps someone else. 

George, this is NOT about your work anymore or your company losing a customer.  Once he made the threat, he committed a crime.  The ONLY person that can hold his feet to the fire on that is you.  It would help if you can get a police report to 'back up' your claim, but you really don't need it.  When you go to the magistrate, you'll make a sworn statement about the facts and that statement will comprise the affadavit of the warrant.  You could take a copy of the email you sent to your boss, or even ask your boss to sign a statement as well.

That's my two cents.  I know I'll probably be in the minority on this ...
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Andrew
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2007, 06:37:45 PM »

Ulthar, as usual, provides a good reply and much in line with my advice.  Telling someone that you intend to kill them is a crime anywhere in the United States that I can think of.  In fact, using a telecommunications device to threaten someone's life is a federal crime if it crosses state boundaries. 

Over the years, I've had a few people who would not take "cut it out" for an answer.  I would contact the police, file the report, and follow up.  In every case, this has resulted in the person with the issue being identified and issuing an apology.  The reason I do this is to enforce acceptable behavior.  If I identify them and work through it, then maybe I can help head off somebody who will be a violent problem someday.  I can be...upset with people who are acting badly.  I still do not go telling them that I am going to shoot them to death over dial-up service.

In retrospect, your best way of dealing with the situation would have been to calmly inform the idiot that you would press charges if he continued to threaten violence.  On the other hand, if he would please tell you the problem, you could begin to assist him with a solution.  As it stands, since this seems to be his normal behavior, you have two choices:  file the police report or forget about it.  The first option could put you on shaky footing with your employer, meaning you will need to be on your toes.  It is probably what I would do, but my environment as a Marine is different than that of the civilian world. 

I went through living Hell a few years ago as the result of stumbling into a problem situation involving senior Marines.  I did not let it pass and went through the steps to fix it.  Would never go back and change my decision, but I can definitely say sticking to my guns and maintaining the standard is probably the reason I am still a Staff Sergeant and was not promoted to Gunnery Sergeant two years go.

Associated thought:  does anyone know if an employment law exists that forces employers to protect employees from abusive conduct by customers?

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Andrew Borntreger
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trekgeezer
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2007, 07:17:26 PM »

I know here in Arkansas, such a call would probably  be considered "terroristic threatening" and if I am not mistaken it is a felony.

I agree with Ulthar, law enforcement there is giving you the run around.

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Neon Noodle
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2007, 01:34:41 AM »

It's moments like this that I realize that a Buddhist mindset and a call center environment go together like peanut butter and jelly.  TeddyR

Ska, I also work in tech support, but it's for internet banking. I usually get to deal with idiots who can't remember their passwords and have ID handles like "DEEZNUTZ" that I have to reset periodically. I usually get at least 5 people a day that want to yell at someone and it's usually me. I find that whenever I get folks that scream incessantly, I tend to get quieter and softer with my voice (note that I don't give in to their demands, I just get quieter so they will quit shouting). Old psychology trick that actually works.

As far as this dolt threatening your life, I would probably say something like this: "Sir, I do need to inform you that any threats of bodily harm against an employee of this company are treated as a premeditated crime, which I am required to report to the local police - since I have your address, phone number and full name, I will give you the opportunity to retract your statement."

If that don't work, note the # of times he does it and file a complaint with la policia.
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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2007, 07:59:23 PM »

Thanks for the help guys.  I really do appreciate it.

I decided to wait it out until today to see if the owner decided to terminate service based on the cx's behavior yesterday and from the tickets from previous encounters with the guy.

I got an email at about 5 from my boss saying that the owner decided not to terminate service, and that the customer should be treated as any other.  I guess that the company doesn't consider me worth the 20.00 per month that they would lose if they terminated the guy's service.

Tomorrow I will be getting back in touch with both police departments and will finally get this figured out and taken care of.  In the email from my boss, he requested that I take no further action, but I don't see how they could stop me from doing so.  It was me that was threatened after all.

Once again, thanks guys.
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"The greatest medicine in the world is human laughter. And the worst medicine is zombie laughter." -- Jack Handey

A bald man named Savalas visited me last night in a dream.  I think it was a Telly vision.
Ed, Ego and Superego
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2007, 05:43:31 PM »

I have been in Tech Support for 7 years now, and I agree with Neon Noodle.  1) Most people just want competent help and oncethey realize thay they have osmeone calm and competent.
  2) You should be able to work without threats.

Does your phone system have a "snooper" function where someone else can listen in without being able to make noise?  Having a witness would help you.  Even better would be a recording for "quality control purposes."

I'd fiollow up on this guy.
-Ed
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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2007, 05:57:43 PM »

I have been in Tech Support for 7 years now, and I agree with Neon Noodle.  1) Most people just want competent help and oncethey realize thay they have osmeone calm and competent.
  2) You should be able to work without threats.

Does your phone system have a "snooper" function where someone else can listen in without being able to make noise?  Having a witness would help you.  Even better would be a recording for "quality control purposes."

I'd fiollow up on this guy.
-Ed


See, I'm normally quite calm when someone is this angry.  I've been quite calm when the customer has called in the past, each time he was confrontational.  I don't know what it was on Monday that made me hang up on the customer...maybe the sheer malice in the guy's voice.  I've never done that to a customer before.

There is a "snooper" feature on the phone system we use here, but no one was in the office that day except for myself.  It was New Year's Day and everyone was home.  We do have a disclaimer on our phone queue saying that all calls are recorded....but for some reason the company never records any.

I did file a complaint with the police department of his hometown.  They were the department I call originally and got the run-around from.  I called back yesterday and got someone who was much nicer and helpful.  I have yet to hear back from them on the situation.
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A bald man named Savalas visited me last night in a dream.  I think it was a Telly vision.
Dennis
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2007, 12:01:17 AM »

Don't let this guy slide on this, you have a right to work in a threat free environment, and should not have your life threatened by some lunatic, I agree that he probably wouldn't carry out his threat but just making the threat is a crime so go after him and don't let him off. I realize that this could make things difficult at work but your boss can't terminate your employment for doing this. Keep checking with the police to keep them on this.
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2007, 04:31:03 PM »

I don't want to go over already trodden ground -- what he's doing is illegal & if the employer knows about it & it continues, the employer could be held liable for allowing harrassment to continue.  Does your company have an HR department?  Maybe they could explain the law to the owner, as a means of protecting the business against a lawsuit.


Something else you may want to consider:  obviously this guy doesn't think his employees' well being is worth $20 /month.  You all should think about looking for other employment.
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CheezeFlixz
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2007, 12:45:16 PM »

As normal I'm a day late and a dollar short to the topic.

I've had many jobs over the years where I have dealt with angry people, from tech support to law enforcement. I admit I haven't read every word of this topic, but I can surmise from being on the planet for awhile what has been advised. With that said here is my advise for what it is worth ...

1. Note the content of the call and report it.
2. NEVER play into their hand by acknowledging their anger.
3. Always remain clam and on topic, being the problem with service and not their attitude.
4. Defuse the anger with the old cliche' killing them with kindness.
5. Never let them take up time in your mind rent free. (If you are not paid to worry about it, then don't.)

That's my advice in a nutshell, I can give better advice if I heard their voice. You can judge a lot of their attitude just in their tone. In the terms they sound angry ... is it clam angry or irate angry? Clam angry concerns me more than irate angry, clam angry tends to be more rational kind of like a Jack Nicholson angry verses a Al Pacino angry ... the irate tend to be impulsive and forget quickly, the calm angry tend to be more calculating and never forget.

Anywho ... that's that for what it's worth.
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