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“Can I speak to Ms.L please?”

“May I know who’s this on the line?”

“Can I speak to Ms.L please?”

“May I know who’s this on the line?” I asked again because I thought she didn’t hear what I said.

“Can you let me talk to Ms.L first or not?” I know she’s going to be a difficult one.

“Okay, hold on.”

*puts on hold*

*dials extension number and starts chanting, praying it to be answered*

*nobody answers*

*release hold and prepare for rollercoaster ride*

“I’m sorry but she’s not at her desk.” At times, I really feel like I’m a receptionist.

“I called just now also not at her desk. Is she working today or not?”

“Yes, she is.”

“Then, why is she not at her desk?”

“Most probably she’s in the washroom.” This is when you need to have some storytelling skills.

“Why so long?” Some questions are best left unanswered.

“May I know what is it regarding?” You need to turn the situation around.

“It’s about my booking.”

“Hmm, okay, so you want to revise your booking?”

“How come you know ah?” She sounded like she was going to swallow me.

“I was just asking.” Trying to save myself from being swallowed.

“Did I speak to you just now?”

“No, you didn’t.” One must tell the truth.

“Can I have the booking number please?”

“Aiiiiii!! 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.”

“May I know what is it that you want to revise?”

“Place of delivery. I spell it out for you.”

“D.U.N.K.E.R.Q.U.E” Ah ha, she didn’t know how to pronounce the word. Dunkerque is in France by the way.

“Can you please revise it for me now?”

“I won’t be able to do it for you now because I would need to pass this on to the booking department. I’ll get them to revise it for you as soon as possible.”

“I need you to tell me a time.”This is tricky. No matter how helpful you are, it’s best not to promise a time because you won’t know what you’ll get by just promising.

“I’m sorry but I can’t promise you a time.”

“Just give me a time.”

“I’m really sorry but I can’t because I’m not the one doing it.” You must learn how to say no politely.

“30 minutes is it enough?”

“I’m sorry but I really can’t promise you a time.What I’ll do is remind Ms.L again about it.”You must learn how to say no politely and persistently.

“I don’t want you to remind her. I want some action to be taken.” Words can mean differently to a customer.

“Okay, I’ll surely pass her the message and she would revise it accordingly for you.”

“I don’t want you to pass her the message. I want it to be looked into.” Sometimes, people just want to hear the magic word and if they don’t, they take it as something else which actually means the same thing anyway.

“No problem. We will get it done for you.” You’ve got to reassure them.

“If I don’t get this today, it will be another day wasted and I don’t want that. The consignee will complain……..” Ear plugs needed to filter grandmother’s stories. They always like to have the last word and we just listen patiently.

I felt so abused after that but I kept reminding myself about tomorrow. It’s a holiday, remember? Then, I continue to answer calls again until a customer popped me a question.

“Grace, are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m good. Why?”

“You sound…unwell.”

“Oh, no, I’m okay.”

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