My agency agreed to do a website for a new client on the cheap because he was a friend of our MD (always a dubious start). We had the client in a few times, and he was one of the most obnoxious, rude and socially awkward people I have ever met.
He referred to himself as a consultant but was just a middle-man trying to sell as many different services as he could from a wide variety of different tech companies, and he would take a commission for every service he hoped to sell.
It was evident during our meetings that he didn’t have any knowledge of any of the services he was trying to sell other than random pieces of jargon he had picked up along the way. For the website content, he wanted to lift it, verbatim, from his partners marketing collateral.
We started to put the website together, and it grew in size every time we spoke to the client as he found yet another new ‘service’ to add.
One day the client rang our office and asked to speak to me to discuss the website. As I was sat next to my manager and she needed to speak to him also, I put him on loudspeaker. Before I had a chance to warn the client he was on loudspeaker, he made a derogatory remark about my manager, so it was now too socially awkward to tell him my manager was also on the call.
My manager had to listen to the rest of the call in silence. After the call ended I hung up the handset receiver and my manager, myself and another member of staff immediately started discussing how rude and obnoxious he was and how he had no clue about what his business actually did.
After about 5 minutes, we stopped talking about him and carried on with our work. That’s when I heard the clicking sound you hear when you hang up a wired phone handset. Oh shit.
I looked at my phone handset and realized the green ‘loudspeaker’ light was still on. He’d heard our entire post-phone call conversation. While he was a prick, I felt terrible as it was clearly an unprofessional thing to do and I was so embarrassed.
After discussing it with my colleagues, we managed to convince ourselves that there was another explanation. Perhaps he did hang up, and the sound of the handset was clicking was the client picking his phone up to make a call to someone else.
Around 4 hours later I was alone in the office but feeling more relaxed about the situation. Then the phone rang, and it was the client. After some small talk, he told me he did, in fact, hear our entire post-phone call conversation! I was so mortified I felt like climbing out the office window to escape!
Luckily, he was more concerned with whether my manager heard his derogatory remarks and I got away with it and we never heard from the client again