Eng – Sir, I need to do some research on your case. Would you mind holding a few minutes for me? Please hold!
In customer service, using proper etiquette and “formes de politesse” is essential. Whether I am dealing with a retired executive exercising his stock option, or a refugee calling about his health benefits, I strive to use the same level of professionalism, courtesy, respect, and most often, I need to demonstrate extreme patience…
« Qui sait patienter arrive à ce qu’il désire. »
(Citation russe ; Source : La Russie en proverbes – 1905)
Why patience? Because the calls I interpret are not about me, and although I would really love for everyone to give me one or two sentences at a time, in a calm manner, at a reasonable pace, it does not happen in the real world (and only in my dreams!). I am amazed sometimes at how much more patience I can demonstrate when I think I have run out… I have to completely disassociate myself from the call, breathe deep, shrug it off, and once the next call comes in, it gives me a chance to start anew and give my best, with no impact from the previous call. I cannot hold grudges in this job!
Still, I ended my Monday very frustrated. Mondays are just extremely busy, with back-to-back calls, and I sense that everyone is frustrated to be back at work from the week-end… Sometimes, I feel like I am interpreting arguments. And somehow, although the words are not necessarily more difficult to interpret, it is the emotional weight behind those words that drains me.
Yesterday, I only had one call that did not go well (in my opinion that is, since the client was still happy!): the sound was bad (French-speaking caller on a cell-phone), I had to keep interrupting and ask to only give one or two sentences at a time about her accident so that I could interpret all details accurately. She refused to follow my instructions or the client’s, who told her several times not to go into the details of the accident yet and to answer the questions by YES or NO (Were you injured? Were there damages on your car? Were there damages on the other driver’s car?). She would ignore the question completely and say whatever she wanted to say!
Then we were transferred to an adjuster and we had to start all over again, but this time with what actually happened. She would mumble and change her facts several times (left, no right, no left) and she would neither stop nor listen! Drove me crazy, if she had been insulting me on top of that, I would have quit and advised to get a different interpreter… but she really was unaware of the frustration she created. And eventually, we were able to settle the matter.
Sometimes it is not just the language barrier I help overcome, it is cultural. And in this instance, the caller’s cultural norm was to keep talking and arguing and repeating, until she felt like she was heard. Makes my job quite difficult, since I have to keep interpreting for my client, who wants to know what the heck is being said!? And since there is not telepathic interpreting service available yet… But let’s get back to our mot du bonjour!
Puis-je vous demander de bien vouloir patienter en ligne? // May I ask you to please hold on the line?
J’ai déjà patienté en ligne plus de 30 minutes, je ne veux pas qu’on me mette encore en attente ! // I have already been holding (on the line) for 30 minutes, I do not want to be placed on hold again!
Votre commande est en cours. Pourriez-vous encore patienter quelques minutes ? // Your order is under way. Would you be able to wait a few more minutes?
Thank you for your patience, dear readers, since I am not always able to pursue my hobby of blogging as much as I would like to.
Also, please help me with the following question:
I would like to know if you like the audio portion of my posts or not? Do you listen to the audio recording or not? Is it helpful for learning pronunciation? Please let me know if you want the audio back!