In October, Ron Rogowski provided a couple of excerpts from one of our colleague's online chat with her cable and Internet provider. But this chat session was so bad that I couldn't resist the urge to share it in its entirity. (Read to the end for a fantastic Yoda moment.) By the way, I made no edits to the transcript other than to change the names and obscure identifying information.

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User Elizabeth has entered room.

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:36:45 EDT 2010) > I don't know my [company] ID or my password, so I can't log in to my account. I tried to set up a new account, but the site says my account already has an online account. Can you please reset my information (so I can create a new account) or help me log in?

Analyst Carol has entered room.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:36:50 EDT 2010)> Hello Elizabeth, Thank you for contacting [company] Chat Support. My name is Carol. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:37:05 EDT 2010)> My pleasure to have you on this chat, Elizabeth! Remaining committed and focused on my goal which is to provide quality customer service at my fullest effort will always be at the pinnacle. It is with utmost sincerity that I want to extend apologies for any trouble, inconvenience and frustration the log in issue has brought along your way. I simply hope you are doing fine.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:37:26 EDT 2010)> No worries. As your [company] service representative, I want you to know that issue resolution and your satisfaction are my top priorities for today. Together, we can work this out, Elizabeth.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:37:33 EDT 2010)> As I understand your concern, Elizabeth, you want to retrieve your [company] username and password for you to be able to access your online account, right?

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:37:41 EDT 2010)> Yes.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:37:48 EDT 2010)> Thanks for clarifying that.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:38:12 EDT 2010)> I genuinely know how it feels to be in your shoes right now and how inconvenient it is for you to contact us for this. I admit I sometimes encounter the same problem as yours like whenever I am not aware of my log ins, Elizabeth, which makes me realize on where the feeling of frustration may come from.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:38:31 EDT 2010)> Don't worry, the wait will be worth, together, we will make sure to get this issue done for you. All we need to do is to check your account, look up for your [company] email address, and generate a temporary password for you to use in accessing your account.

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:38:35 EDT 2010)> OMG — please stop empathizing with me and just solve my problem!

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:38:37 EDT 2010)> I totally understand how important it is for you to have easy access to your account whenever and wherever you need to, Elizabeth. I can definitely take care of this for you today. Let me go right ahead and pull up your account first. Protecting your privacy is a priority to [company], may I have the name on the account, account number and the last four digits of your socials?

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:38:54 EDT 2010)> Elizabeth [last name]

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:38:58 EDT 2010)> Sure, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:39:05 EDT 2010)> [Account number]

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:39:11 EDT 2010)> [Social security number]

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:39:22 EDT 2010)> Awesome! The information truly helps for me to pull up your account! Thanks!

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:39:29 EDT 2010)> I appreciate your cooperation and patience. I have the account up now. I am checking on it, Elizabeth.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:39:46 EDT 2010)> Oh by the way, for chatting in today, I am very happy to inform you that I can sign you up to and take advantage of our best [Company] features. This one's for free!

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:39:59 EDT 2010)> [Company] allows [product] subscribers to get 2 GB of space, a personalized portal, and the ability to share files through this site, [URL]. Plus, you can definitely take advantage of this feature if you have Norton installed in your computer since it automatically backs up files when your PC is idle, so backups won't slow you down or get in your way. Norton Backup will back up files to the local computer. For an online backup solution [company] offers [product] — [URL].

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:40:21 EDT 2010)> You should save your upsell offers until after you solve my problem.

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:40:28 EDT 2010)> I don't need backups.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:41:03 EDT 2010)> That is just a heads up for you. But I can understand your hesitation, Elizabeth. If you like to know more about [company] products and features, please feel free to visit this site: [URL]

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:41:05 EDT 2010)> Thanks for waiting.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:41:41 EDT 2010)> I do see here an existing email account with [company] as per checking your account.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:42:12 EDT 2010)> I can surely provide a randomly generated password for you if you happen to forget your own password. I apologize for I am unable to provide the current password you have, as that information is hidden for your account's protection. How is that to you?

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:42:24 EDT 2010)> A random password is fine.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:42:33 EDT 2010)> Thank you.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:42:36 EDT 2010)> Before I can reset your password, I need to ask for the security pin. It is a 4 digit code that is sent to you by mail when you subscribe to our phone services. May I ask for the security pin please?

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:42:54 EDT 2010)> I don't have it.

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:43:00 EDT 2010)> Is there another option?

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:43:35 EDT 2010)> Not to worry.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:44:31 EDT 2010)> We can use your security question.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:44:35 EDT 2010)> What is your best friend's name?

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:44:43 EDT 2010)> [Best friend's name]

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:44:54 EDT 2010)> Great! That worked!

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:45:17 EDT 2010)> Let me go ahead and reset your password now.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:45:35 EDT 2010)> I appreciate you staying patient with me. I have now your password.Temporary/Randomly Generated Password: [password]

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:45:45 EDT 2010)> Thank you.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:45:45 EDT 2010)> To make sure your issue is resolved, can you check for me if the log ins work, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:45:54 EDT 2010)> Yes, hold on . . .

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:46:01 EDT 2010)> You're welcome.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:46:06 EDT 2010)> Take your time, Elizabeth.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:46:12 EDT 2010)> I would greatly suggest that you personalize your password into something you can easily remember through [URL], under [account] tab to ensure the safety and privacy of the account, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth (Sat Oct 2 11:46:15 EDT 2010)> That worked, thank you.

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:47:08 EDT 2010)> Magnificent that is! It feels great on my part knowing you were able to log in now. I really appreciate the time and opportunity you've given me in resolving your issue today, do you have anything else in mind aside from retrieving your logins, Elizabeth?

Carol (Sat Oct 2 11:47:09 EDT 2010)> No need to thank us. We're here to thank you.

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Ron had good advice for frontline reps providing customer service, regardless of the channel: Be human, and answer the question.

I'd love to hear your reactions to this chat and your thoughts on where it went wrong.