Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • When I was studying in the Dominican Republic, one of my worst fears was talking on the phone.

  • It's so hard to talk on the phone in a foreign language. Things just aren't as clear.

  • In today's video, we're going to study a phone conversation

  • that I had with a customer service representative.

  • We're going to study the phrases you might use in a phone call like this,

  • and we're going to test your listening comprehension.

  • We're also going to talk about how we write and say dates.

  • There's a lot to learn about phone conversations in this American English video.

  • In this phone conversation, I'm calling into my dental insurance company.

  • I talked to a man, Chris, who helps answer my questions.

  • Let's look at the first thing he said when he answered the phone.

  • Good afternoon, Chris speaking, how can I help you today?

  • When you're calling in to a company to get help with something,

  • you're going to hear a similar greeting to this.

  • Good afternoon, Chris speaking, how can I help you today?

  • A greeting, good afternoon, he introduces himself, Chris speaking,

  • then he invites me to share my issue. How can I help you today?

  • Now, I'm gonna say the problem I'm having. Let's see if you can understand what's said.

  • I'm calling because I'm not sure what the status of my account is.

  • I know I was late on payments at one point because I hadn't received the bill.

  • Um, I don't know. Do I give you my Social Security or how can you look me up?

  • Did you understand that? What's the problem I'm having?

  • Am I unsure of the status of my account,

  • having problems with my social security number,

  • cannot pay my bill?

  • Listen again.

  • I'm calling because I'm not sure what the status of my account is.

  • I know I was late on payments at one point because I hadn't received the bill.

  • Um, I don't know. Do I give you my Social Security or how can you look me up?

  • I do mention my social security number but I'm not having problems with it.

  • I wonder if that's what he should use to look at my account, so number two is not right.

  • I do say that I'm late on paying my bill, but I don't ever say I can't pay it.

  • Right at the beginning, I state my problem.

  • I'm calling because I'm not sure what the status of my account is.

  • So he asks for important information.

  • Um, well, do you happen to have your account number or your group ID number? And what’s your name?

  • So this is something that will happen if you're calling in somewhere where you have an account,

  • where they have information stored on you. They're going to want to 'pull up' your information,

  • that's a phrasal verb, on their computer. They might do this by searching on your account number or

  • some other number, some other ID, for example, your name, your address, your phone number, and so on.

  • So, you're calling in for customer support somewhere, after you state your issue, be prepared

  • to answer a question. That's going to allow them to look you up in their system.

  • So I give him my name and he has me confirm with my address.

  • Then he's able to look at that status of my account.

  • Let's take a minute here, friends, if you're not subscribed, to click the subscribe button and

  • make sure that notifications are on. Thank you for doing this, thank you for your support.

  • Three, two, one, click it.

  • Okay, so he's looking at the status of my account.

  • Alright. Let’s take a look Rachel. One moment, please. Looks like your policy is active.

  • Okay.

  • He has good news for me. My account is active. I haven't been cancelled due to that late payment.

  • But there is an issue with my account. I'm going to play the next section of that phone call

  • and see if you can figure out what that problem is.

  • Um, I see weve received the first two months payment. We received the, uh, let’s take a look.

  • We got you, uh, affective 9-1.

  • And it looks like we received the payments for September and October.

  • Uh, so we are past due for November, which was due November first, but, um.

  • Did you catch the problem? I am past due. What does that mean?

  • I have to pay my dental premium on the first of each month in order to have dental insurance

  • to have that coverage. I didn't pay my November invoice which was due November 1.

  • This phone call was mid-November. Luckily, he already said my account was active,

  • so I know it hasn't been cancelled. But if you get too far behind on payments, at some point,

  • your account will get cancelled. I still have time to send in my November payment.

  • I do not want to be past due because I don't want to risk being cancelled.

  • Listen to this part again. I have two questions for you to answer.

  • When was my plan effective? That means what was the start date of my dental insurance?

  • And what payments have already been received?

  • Um, I see weve received the first two months payment. We received the, uh,

  • let’s take a look.

  • We got you, uh, effective 9-1.

  • And it looks like we received the payments for September and October.

  • Uh, so we are past due for November, which was due November first, but, um.

  • Did you catch the date?

  • Uh, effective 9-1.

  • He said 'nine one', not September first.

  • Of course, we can use the month number when talking dates. So if you're hearing numbers, keep this in mind

  • it could be a date. My policy was effective 9-1, September first.

  • Uh, effective 9-1. And it looks like we received the payments for September and October.

  • Did you hear that? He just answered the second question.

  • What payments have they already received? September and October.

  • Effective 9-1. And it looks like we received the payments for September and October.

  • Okay, I know I'm late on my payment for November.

  • Take a listen to the rest of the conversation. How do I want to pay?

  • Do I want to pay by cheque, credit card, automatic withdrawal, or automatic payment?

  • Can I set up automatic payment over the phone?

  • So, we don’t take payments over the phone.

  • The only other option, other than sending a check is automatic withdrawal.

  • How do I set that up?

  • Yeah. I can email you our form. You just fill out the form and email or fax it back to us.

  • We can automatically withdraw the premium on the first of every month.

  • This was sort of a trick question, I said I want to pay by automatic withdrawal,

  • and then later he called that an automatic payment, it's the same thing.

  • I give them my bank information and every month, they take the money they need

  • for my dental insurance premium, and I don't have to remember to mail a check every month.

  • One other option we talked about is paying over the phone.

  • He said:

  • We don't take payment over this phone.

  • No, I can't take care of this over the phone. Okay, so how do I set up automatic payments? Let's listen.

  • Yeah. I can email you our form. You just fill out the form and email or fax it back to us.

  • We can automatically withdraw the premium on the first of every month.

  • I have to fill out a form and send it back to them. He said I could email it ,or fax it.

  • Now, fax used to be a major mode of communication, it's not so much anymore.

  • I emailed it back.

  • But how do I take care of this November invoice, my past due notice?

  • And would that, would you guys be able to do that for November,

  • or do I have to send in a check for November?

  • No, not for, yeah, for November, well need a check. Uh, for anything past due,

  • well need a check. But um, yeah. At this point, probably, can you get in

  • It might even be too close to get it done for, for December, to be honest with you at this point.

  • Okay. So....

  • We can get you set up for, say, 1-1.

  • Okay.

  • I have to send in a check because, there's that phrase again: it's past due.

  • What's the earliest we can set up the automatic withdrawal for? Listen to this clip again.

  • And would that, would you guys be able to do that for November, or do I have to send in a check for November?

  • No, not for, yeah, for November, well need a check. Uh, for anything past due, well need a check.

  • But um, yeah. At this point, probably, can you get in

  • It might even be too close to get it done for, for December, to be honest with you at this point.

  • Okay. So....

  • We can get you set up for, say, 1-1.

  • Oky.

  • Again, he's giving a date by the numbers. He didn't say January first, he said 1-1.

  • We can get you set up for, say, 1-1.

  • Okay.

  • So I can start automatic payments on January first if I send in the paperwork.

  • I have to send a check for November and December.

  • Listen to the rest of this phone conversation.

  • Okay. What is the amount that I have to send in for November and December?

  • Okay. So, that would beIt’s $119.32.

  • And then youll send me some documents that I can fill out to have it start January 1. Okay.

  • That’s correct. You got it.

  • Did you notice the verb I used for the forms? I used the phrasal verb 'fill out'.

  • This is another way to say 'complete'.

  • And then you'll send me some documents that I can fill out to have it start January 1? Okay.

  • His response to me, when I stated what I though I needed to do, was "That's correct. You got it."

  • These two phrases mean the same thing. "That's correct" is a little more formal, and

  • "you got it" a little more casual.

  • That's correct. You got it.

  • Now, let's talk about dates. We've already heard him say 1-1.

  • Listen to the two other ways we can say this date.

  • And then you'll send me some documents that I can fill out to have it start January 1? Okay.

  • That's correct. You got it.

  • Okay.

  • Okay. Youll receive it before the end of the day, and all’s you have to do is email or fax it back to us, and

  • January first, well get you, um. On the automatic.

  • Okay, thank you.

  • I said "January one". Then he said "January first".

  • One is a cardinal number, and first is an ordinal number.

  • The cardinal numbers are one, two, three and so on.

  • And ordinal numbers are first, second, third, and so on.

  • When you write a date, you write the cardinal number, so that would be this, not this.

  • When you say the date, you are supposed to say the ordinal number. You are supposed to say 'January first'.

  • But i've noticed lots of people say cardinal numbers in dates, just like I did, when I said January one.

  • Now, earlier, we were referring to this date as 1-1.

  • When you're calling the month by its number, never use the ordinal number for the day. That would be one-first,

  • and that would sound totally strange. I've never heard someone do that.

  • So, with dates. When you're writing, use the cardinal number, one.

  • When you're speaking, use the ordinal number, first, October first, or October 15th.

  • But also, it's not uncommon to hear native speakers use the cardinal number, when saying these dates like

  • October 15 or October 1. But if you're using all numbers, then just use cardinal numbers,

  • like 1-1, or 'your coverage ends 9-30', not 9-30th. Let's listen to that last part again.

  • And then you'll send me some documents that I can fill out to have it start January 1? Okay.

  • That's correct. You got it.