Linguistics News

I'm not sure about English, but in German I only knew the verb "eskalieren" (to escalate) as something which happened - not something a single person actively did (e.g., "the protests escalated"). However, based on today's experience (n = 1), if only you push an employee of Deutsche Telekom hard enough, he'll say "Ich eskalier' das mal" (I'll escalate that), by which, if I understood him correctly, he means to say that your case is going towards the top of the pile rather than the bottom.

In other words, I've been promised that my Internet connection will be up again by Friday, 8 a.m. In which case posts will be more regular again. It's not as though I can't think of anything.

The more general lesson here is a very simple one, but one that, in my experience, most people have not internalised: If an employee says that something's not possible, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not possible, it may mean he or she doesn't want to do it. The trick is simply to not go away and give your best pissed-off-customer impression and not go away. If you're on the phone, make sure that you're standing and you're wearing shoes. Seriously. I can't count the number of times when things that had not been possible five minutes ago suddenly became possible. It's like magic.

1 comment:

Political Scientist said...

Yes, this term has appeared in English too: "to escalate a call"="to raise the priority of the call". There's usually some sort of scale from 1-5. Assume it comes from the other side of the Atlantic.

The thing I can't stand? Listening to a periodic message that says "Your call is important to us". Just insufficiently important to actually answer it.