Nuance Wants Your Stupidest Story

A customer service representative received a call from a man who was trying to defrost frozen peas. When the microwave didn’t work, he decided to try the dryer. He was calling this particular representative because he wanted to know if she had any advice on how to remove peas from the lint catcher.
With calls like that, customer service representatives deserve a little recognition. This is precisely why Julia Ochinero, executive communications director at Nuance Communications, started the "Can’t Stop Stupid Calls" contest.
The contest allows service representatives to submit their most amusing customer interactions and stories about kooky calls they’ve received. Entries can be submitted online at www.cantstopstupidcalls.com. The deadline for entries is October 6, when the stories will go live. People will then be able to post comments and vote on which stories they think are the funniest.
"There are a lot of Web sites out there where you hear about how bad customer care is," Ochinero says. "We are more committed than ever to help organizations improve customer satisfaction. But there’s two sides to every story."
Some calls just can’t be resolved, such as one in which a caller was booking a flight online and called to ask a representative about her seat selection. She wanted to know if a window seat was in the outside edge of the plane or in the middle.
Yet another caller was on the phone with a customer care center for a software maker. "Hi, I’m wondering how I can get another floppy drive in my machine," the caller said. The representative explained that she would have to contact the PC repair store and have them load a new drive into the computer for her. "No, I’m afraid you don’t understand," she said. "I just bought some new software and got the first two disks in, but I can’t fit the third one into the slot."
The first 20 entries to the contest will receive $100 automatically, and $1,000 will go to the winners of three categories: You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me, Sounds Like Fiction, and Vacation Day Earned! The person who submitted the entry that receives the most votes online will also receive $1,000. Winners will be announced the week of October 27.
"We really just wanted to provide a forum for customer care reps so they can have their own voice," Ochinero says. "And we really just wanted to have some lighthearted fun. It’s really that simple."
Ochinero is screening the entries and will take out any references that could hurt specific companies or people.
"Our intention isn’t to make any person look stupid," she says. "It’s really about giving a voice to the agents because they’re really the ones on the front line doing the best they can."

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