QAQnA Mail Bag: Crossing the Line Pt. 2

Yesterday I posted about an issue of the line between being personable and being professional that was raised by a regular reader, Matthew, in an e-mail he sent earlier this week. If you missed it, it’s worth a read along with the comments posted. I especially appreciate Anonymous Cog (a Patriarch among call center bloggers) chiming in with this link.

In the e-mail, Matthew raised another issue:

Another thing I struggle with is when do I dare have
fun at the expense of a customer  (provider).  Names prompt the most attention. 
Doctors tend to have some fun names.  I talked to a lady today calling on behalf
of Dr. Eddie Munsterski and I had to choke back the laugh.  A dental
provider once called named Dr Payne  and I couldn’t help but ask how business
was going for him.  I’ll never forget the call I got from Thurston Howell
This reminded me of one of the first call centers I worked around many years ago. This particular call center provided film and video rentals to churches and church camps. The CSRs kept a running list of silly, but true pastors’ names they ran across (Rev. Crook, Rev. Shepherd, etc.). You can’t help but chuckle, but to Matthew’s question: do you address it or let it be?

I think you use experience as a teacher and follow the lead of the customer. I would bet that most of these people are used to the ribbing they receive from their names – but you don’t know if they are sick of it, or if they have a good natured laugh at their own expense. I would typically coach a CSR to fight the temptation to say anything unless the customer brings it up or makes a comment. You’re better off playing it safe rather than finding yourself spending unnecessary time apologizing to an irate caller.

Matthew made a great point at the end of his e-mail:

You’re either professional or personable, experience is what allows you
opportunity for both

Have you had calls from a customer whose name made you do a double-take?  Post a comment and share it with us!

  1 comment for “QAQnA Mail Bag: Crossing the Line Pt. 2

  1. Leena K
    March 11, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    I once recieved a call from a customer named TIN TIN and had a tough time controlling my laughter during the entire call as I could picture the comic character talking to me.

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