Thank you for calling your ISP hotline

My ISP's customer service guide to dealing with irate customers


About eight years ago, I briefly got to know a guy who came to Thailand to start a web-based import-export business. Within twelve months he called me to say that he'd given up the business and was returning to The States. When I asked him why his venture had failed, he muttered the words I've never ever forgotten and still chuckle at to this day.

"I can't get ahead in a country where the lines of communication are held together with chicken-wire and gecko spit"

Let's call the guy Dave shall we? Well Dave if you're reading this, it may come as some comfort to know that things haven't improved a great deal.

I've been lucky enough to get hold of the step-by-step guide that my ISP call center staff use when a foreigner phones them regarding a poor internet connection. These are the actual steps written on the piece of paper that the staff keep by the phone. It reads something like this,

Dear valued call center staff member,

During your daily shift, you are sure to recieve a number of calls from foreigners concerning poor or slow internet connections. These calls needn't cause you undue stress if you follow the basic steps below.

1) Introduce yourself but make sure to say your name quickly so it's impossible to catch. This prevents the customer calling back later in the day and asking to speak to you again.

2) Always ask the customer's name. It's far more difficult for the client to throw a wobbly when you put 'Khun Micheal' at the end of every sentence. "Sorry to keep you waiting on the phone for half an hour Khun Michael" I mean who could possibly blow a gasket over that? 

3) Ask the caller to go through several connectivity speedtests on-line. Have them do a speedtest for Thailand and then chuck in one from Singapore for good measure.  These speed-tests have absolutely no bearing on the problem, but always look impressive.

4) Ask the caller which version of web browser they are using and also which router. Oh, and ask how many ports the router has. Again, it has nothing to do with the problem but not only does it sound impressive, it makes you sound like you really know what you're doing.

5) The next step is crucial. Ask the caller if they've installed the latest updates for their firewall and anti-virus software. This immediately gets rid of the technophobes, who will probably apologize for bothering you and collapse in a blubbering heap on the other end of the phone.

6) Buy yourself a bit of time by telling the caller you are going to update their signal. The caller will have no idea what that means. Hell, we don't even know what it means either but put the customer on hold, return to your Soduko puzzle and imagine yourself in a large room full of wires, lights and high-pitched bleeps.  

7) If the caller isn't a technophobe, then by now you're probably holding the receiver six inches from your ear and listening to a torrent of abuse. Fear not - it's time to play your trump card. Yes - it's the 'broken cable at the bottom of the sea just off the coast of Taiwan' gambit. Tell the caller that tropical storms and typhoons have lashed (and 'lashed' is a good word) the coast of Taiwan and the undersea internet cable has been damaged. Ignore such comments as "what a load of bollocks" and tell the caller that right now - right at that very minute - teams of underwater divers are down deep in Davy Jones' locker with a large tube of superglue. And of course - normal service will be resumed as soon as possible and we apologize for any inconvenience caused. Wow! what about that? two bullshit throwaway corporate lines for the price of one.

Beware - If the caller has a decent memory, he or she may remember the broken cable story from before. In which case, tell the caller that the expert team of underwater divers managed to fix the problem but the cable was later knocked out of whack by a myopic blue whale. Go on - use your imagination! 

8) If it's beginning to look like you're not going to shake off this customer easily, it's time for the 'package upgrade' line.

"Khun Michael sir, I notice that you have the cheapo internet package. We only really recommend this package for surfing Thailand-based sites".

Wait until the caller calms down and then recommend to Khun Michael sir that he upgrades to something more expensive. Call it 'the professional expat package'. Tell the caller that with this upgraded package, the caller can download torrent files until there's smoke coming out of the CPU. And he'll even be able to get the odd international website from time to time.


Comments

Hilarious! Absolutely Hilarious! You should do this for a living...oops...or maybe you already do?!

I love the "chicken-wire and gecko spit" stuff and the the number 3 option.

I have a TOT broadband connection that's supposed to be 4MB downloads and .5MB uploads but more often than not it's like 3/4 of a shish kebab and three slices of salami. In other words, slower than a dead jink jock's brother come to pay his last respects.

I get the patter over the phone - Hanchai's probably been at TOT for about three hours and is accidentally near a phone one day when "Lippy" from Oz (or someone like me - "Alan from Washington") makes his first complaint about why he can't get the international sites and the Thai ones are only loading really slowly?

One thing's for sure, you always know when they're lying when they tell you there's a problem with the international sites (not this time the underwater cables) and then you turn on your 3G aircard in your phone or laptop and find that all the international sites are working fine and the 700 baht you pay a month for the broadband service at TOT isn't starting to look as good a deal as you thought.

I had a similar phone conversation today with a lady from UBC explaining why there are no sports channels on my Gold package in Sukumvit after the major upgrade of channels on 12th January. Apparently, I won't have any sports channels at all for at least a further week, maybe even two or more. No Premier League, no golf, no tennis, no African's Nations Cup...no...piece of mind. Mai pen rai! Mai tawng kreng jai!

Tom

By Tom Tuohy, Bangkok (8 years ago)

Post your comment

Comments are moderated and will not appear instantly.

Featured Jobs

Early Years Sports Teacher

14 hours ago

฿40,000+ /month

Samut Sakhon


Grade 5-6 School Teacher

19 hours ago

฿40,000+ /month

Bangkok


NES Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher

1 day, 18 hours ago

฿60,000+ /month

Bangkok


Key Stage 1 Teacher for February Start

1 day, 19 hours ago

฿80,000+ /month

Bangkok


English Teachers

3 days, 12 hours ago

฿400+ /hour

Bangkok


Professional Teachers for Next Academic Year

4 days, 14 hours ago

฿40,000+ /month

Chiang Mai


TEFL Courses & Training

Get off to a good start...

Take your course
in Thailand!

Training Directory

Featured Teachers

  • john


    MA

    American, 43 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • John Mark


    BA

    Filipino, 27 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Kyle


    MA

    American, 57 years old. Currently living in United States of America

  • John


    BA

    American, 25 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Lyra


    Diploma

    Filipino, 20 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Patrick


    BA

    American, 33 years old. Currently living in United States of America

  • Kevin


    PGCE

    American, 39 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Kelzang


    Certificate

    Bhutanese, 25 years old. Currently living in Bhutan

  • Hydie


    Diploma

    Filipino, 21 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Zarina


    BA

    Kazakhstan, 24 years old. Currently living in Kazakhstan

Sponsors

Mediakids Academy

Top TEFL job placement provider with competitive benefits and an unforgettable experience.

English Planet

To be internationally recognized as the leader in quality English language training.

Smartys

Vacancies for in-house and corporate teachers at the finest schools in Suphanburi City

Eduplus

We get you a job! Options for school placements all over Thailand

BSI Broker

Brokers for ajarn health insurance and for all your Thailand insurance needs.

Siam Computer & Language

Competitive teacher packages with benefits and bonus incentives

Kajonkietsuksa School

First bilingual school in Phuket. Vacancies for kindergarten, primary and secondary teachers.

Kasintorn St Peter School

Progressive English program school near Bangkok employing NES and Filipino teachers

Inlingua Thailand

Premier language school with many branches and corporate training.

Space available

Become an ajarn dot com sponsor

The Hot Spot


Can you hear me OK?

Can you hear me OK?

In today's modern world, the on-line interview is becoming more and more popular. How do you prepare for it?


Will I find work in Thailand?

Will I find work in Thailand?

It's one of the most common questions we get e-mailed to us. So find out exactly where you stand.


The dreaded demo

The dreaded demo

Many schools ask for demo lessons before they hire. What should you the teacher be aware of?


Air your views

Air your views

Got something to say on the topic of teaching, working or living in Thailand? The Ajarn Postbox is the place. Send us your letters!


Contributions welcome

Contributions welcome

If you like visiting ajarn.com and reading the content, why not get involved yourself and keep us up to date?


Teacher mistakes

Teacher mistakes

What are the most common mistakes that teachers make when they are about to embark on a teaching career in Thailand? We've got them all covered.


Renting an apartment?

Renting an apartment?

Before you go pounding the streets, check out our guide and know what to look out for.