Tales From The Office – Episode 2

When dealing with customers, grammar and pronunciation can be difficult for our customer service representative Lisa. Let’s see how she deals with a situation of an incoming purchase request.

Lisa: so I took a deep breath and picked up the phone.

“Customer Service Department. This is Lisa speaking. How can I help you?”

“Hi, yes, I’m interested in purchasing 10 cases of your industrial coating material. I’m with Samphor Industries. My name is Steve,” said the man on the line.

Purchase Order Training - Skill House Learning - ESL for Business

“Ok Steve, I can help you with that,” I replied.

I was not entirely confident on the phone. I hope Steve would understand me okay and not get upset. Sometimes customers are pressed for time and get frustrated when I have trouble picking up the details of the order.

“Have you order with us before?” I caught myself already messing up right there. I knew it should have been ordered.

I have trouble getting grammar and pronunciation right in English. Especially under pressure because I get nervous speaking my second language of English in a business setting. That’s probably why a handful of customers ask to deal with Julie or Kristen. They don’t want the hassle of dealing with someone they can’t understand clearly and who sometimes can’t understand them that well either.

“No this is the first time I have ordered from you guys.”

“So first you need to set up an account for Samphor and then we can do the order.” I was self conscious about my accent. I knew it sounded really thick when I said that.

“Okay…My time is kind of tight at the moment, can you help me set up the account right now?”

“Okay, no problem, Steve. Let me get the new account form…”

I pulled out the new account form and started to go over the information with Steve.

“How do you spell your company’s name?” I asked him.

“S-A-M-P-H-O-R.” He said.

“S-A-M-B-H-O-R. Got it.”

“Wait a sec. It’s S-A-M-P-H-O-R. P not B.” Steve corrected me.

“Okay. Got it.”

P’s and B’s sound really similar in my home language. I knew it was P but when I said it, it sounded like a B.

I wish there was some way I could get some help to improve my professional English speaking abilities…

See what happens next in Episode 3 of Tales From the Office…


Tales From The Office – Episode 1

It was Monday and I wasn’t looking forward to going to work. The pressure was on with a number of clients ordering product at the same time. When I left work on Friday, my email inbox was overflowing with client orders to respond to. They were now waiting for me when I got into the office.

Not only were there all the emails to respond to, but with more client demand for our products, the phone lines were always busy and my English was not very good. I would fear talking with the clients and making a mistake on an order. That happened a number of times already. Our manager, Samantha, has had to cover for me on the phones since I wasn’t able to respond effectively to what customers were wanting. Also sometimes they couldn’t understand me because of my accent.

I got out of my car and walked into the office. I sat down at my desk and took a deep breath. Okay, time to get started.

Customer Service Department Training - Skill House Learning

Just as I thought, the phone calls and emails started to roll in. Here in the customer service department, we are a team of four. There are three of us customer service representatives and our manager. My coworkers, Julie and Kristen, were born in the States and have better English than me. I feel like I am holding the department back. But I don’t say anything. I just try my best to do my job.

“Lisa, I need you to handle the phones coming in,” Samantha said, “we are getting a lot of calls coming in from customers requesting orders.”

“Okay, I’ll take care of it,” I said. Deep down, I started to get nervous. Would I be able to handle the orders?

Just then, the phones starting ringing. I picked it up and began to answer the call.

See what will happen to Lisa in the next episode of Tales From The Office….