Poor Gunjan! Sharat took the daylights outta her! How good is our telephonic conversation skill? Having worked for over eight years in Railway Enquiry, i can categorize calling customers as these types-
1. Hurrying Harry
He calls you as if running a 100 meters race. The moment you greet him warmly, he bombards you his question. Sorry, no time for pleasantries. Impatient to the core, he cuts his call when you are explaining, but seriously about the vacancy position in all trains. You can realize a few seconds later that Hurrying Harry is gone. Whoooosh!
2. Doubting Thomas
Mr Doubt- fire is certainly on fire, immediately on connecting the call, he asks- " Oh! Madam, is it afternoon?" Then comes a flurry of questions- " What time is the train? Which platform? How many minutes will the train stop? Which side will be S4 coach?" Finally you lose your patience when he asks- " Will there be water in the coach" Only after your sharp retort- " How do i know if there will be water in S4 coach on 29th July, 2011?" , will he budge, saying a lethargic Thank You which you can never hear anyway...You would yourself be disconnecting the call already!
3. Deaf Duffy
This man is probably at home, all alone, in his late 70s. His son or daughter will certainly be in US, you can bet! He needs to travel to Chennai to receive the grand children, so far so good. But when he calls up to ask if there is accommodation in a specific train, starts your nightmare. Here goes the conversation-
You- " Good morning! Railway Enquiry."
DD- " Excuse me madam, is this railway station?"
You- " Yes Sir, RAILWAYS"
DD- " Oh ok...my son is in US"
You- " Good sir, what can i do for you?"
DD- " He is working in an IT company, a green card holder"
You- " Ok sir, how may I help you?"
DD- " Is this Railway station?"
You- Gritting your teeth- " YES SIR. RAILWAYYYYYYS"
DD- " Don't yell, i am not deaf, okay?"
You- Oh no! " Ok sir...what do you want?"
DD- " I want to go to Chennai"
You- " Which train, sir?"
DD- " No, no...it is not raining here..."
You- " No sir, i am asking which TRAIN you want to go?"
DD- " hehehe....train? Rockfort Express"
You- " What date sir?"
DD- " Any rate is ok for me"
You- OMG..." I am asking you what DATE you want to GO?"
DD- " hehehe...i am little old you see? On July 20"
You- " Waiting list 21- second class"
DD- " Oh...are there seats in Second class?"
You- grrrrrrrr..." No Sir, it is waiting list 21"
DD- " No, No, i want to go on 20, not 21"
You- ( almost yell) " I said WAITING LIST 21"
DD- " Be patient with customers madam. Talk softly. Why are you shouting?"
( As if he would understand, you explain again that ticket is not available and by the time you finish the conversation, you seriously need a hearing aid and a mike!)
4. Touch Me Not
This is seriously a different type of customer. You pick up the phone after a few rings, what with attending two other phones, you can't attend all the calls in a single ring. Touch me not starts the second you say Hello. " Why did you not attend the phone for a long time? What were you doing? I am trying this number for the past half an hour. I want to complain about you." And ultimately comes the shocker- " What is your name, huh?" You can react two ways- either duck or chuck. I always prefer chuck, i say- " I am really busy here, if you have no other question to ask, shall i hang up, sir?" There! That does the trick usually, but not Touch Me Not. If he wants to teach us a lesson, or if his Madamji is on full fledged war with him, you are doomed! He barks some expletives over the phone and hangs up while you watch stupefied at the receiver. Well, you have been a receiver here!
If there is the worst of all customers, it is this type. He loves to ring, hear your pleasantry and hangs up dutifully. May be that is his pastime, but it sure unnerves you when all the other three phones ring tring- tring in unison and Romeo on the other phone chuckles at you! How much ever you scold, threaten or reason out, Romeo never gives up. May be if he sees you once, just once, he will run for his dear life, never touch the phone ever, all his life. Period!
PICTURE COURTESY- CARTOONSTOCK.COM, GOOGLE SEARCH.