Actually, that’s loved. Yep as in past tense.
No I did not leave the job with arms raised to the heavens thankful that I got out from that hell on earth…not that THAT doesn’t happen (but let’s talk about that in my next post. *hint hint*)
Call centers probably exist since people found out how to make verbal complaints without being seen, and thus you’ve probably been a calling customer once or one hundred times. Unless you’re this lucky human being who has never been dissatisfied with a service you’ve bought or subscribed for, I’d bet you’ve dialed a customer service number before. Whether you’ve been one of those sarcastic assholes or raging bulls or unbelievably racist or those oh so delightful peachy sweet callers I’ve had–THANK YOU. Thank you for helping me discover how far my tolerance could go before losing faith in humanity.
But yes, the list!
In a third world country where Business Process Outsourcing is the fastest growing industry since the late 2000’s, young professionals are flocking to it like flies to excreta. Why? Nurses, engineers, teachers, professional relationship advisers and all other sorts of pros who can’t get jobs that pay decently in their respective fields, or can’t get jobs in firms that do because of the Whom You Know not What You Know environment, get lured by the promise of competent salaries from call center companies (and boy, they really are). Don’t judge please. We need to eat too. As well as our families. We have kids and siblings to send to school. Plus we’re all itching to get that latest iPhone.
Trust me, if you’re the kind who needs to go to the bathroom three times in an hour (which I was before embarking on my quest to become the greatest customer service rep ever), you might be able to curb that in a job where you need to ask permission from your manager every time you need to pee. Unless you’d rather suffer the consequences or fond of filling out those disciplinary forms, which aren’t too bad actually.
…or evasive tactics, whichever you prefer.
Let’s face it, some people are just freaking difficult. And in the company where I worked, there’s zero tolerance for rudeness to customers. No, it doesn’t matter that their sole purpose of existence is to terrorize other people and make them feel like the most worthless shit on the planet. If you ever talk back with an attitude (i.e. give those jerks what they deserve) and you get caught then bye bye job. Which might not be too bad…
But I digress. Yes, being in the position where you can’t react offensively forces you to develop your specialized defense mechanisms. You learn how to build the ultra mega ability of fine-tuning your sense of hearing, also known as KEYWORD EXTRACTION. Yep, you don’t have to listen word for word to all that buildup why they weren’t able to pay their fees on time (because apparently the day they received the notification their imaginary best friend died and they have to attend the funeral. Oh I’m very sorry about Mr. Kangaroo. Let me see how I can waive this fee for you…
Or if you get that caller whose sole intention is to make you their practice target for the lessons they learned from Cussing 101***, then it’s time to put up a stronger wall of defense, the MUTE button. All you need to do is press that, lower down the volume, and laugh at that customer’s attempt of throwing a tantrum because his mother did not give him a tit back when he was a hungry infant.
Or, if you’re speaking to someone who suffered a damage in that area of their brain responsible for logical reasoning, then you further step up and use your last resort, the ACCIDENTAL CALL RELEASE.
(***DISCLAIMER: Sometimes, although you know the problem is not you but the company policies/the economy/your imbecilic caller/all of the above and more, the verbal abuse still gets to you because you’re a human being with a lot of insecurities and your invisible emotional walls crack. You may cry, or self-pity, or stress-eat, or have sex, or run, or think of resigning, or actually resign, or post a blog post, or whatever it is you need to do to feel that you’re a valuable human being who deserves respect, then do so. Do one, do two, do fucking EVERYTHING if you need to. Please. Actually, I insist. You’re not a goddamn retard who needs comprehension lessons, are you? [I actually got an old man insisting before I finished my second sentence that I get SPEECH fucking LESSONS, but that’s for another post…])
How NOT to be Barbaric
A.k.a How to talk like a civilized human being.
I worked at an in-house, inbound call center. And most of the time, people call in because they have a problem. Remember the last time you have a really annoying problem? Were you in your best behavior then? Yes?
Shut up and have a reality check, you self-righteous human.
Some people make their frustration known and still be civilized about it, and boy, you deserve a double round of applause and a tray of warm chocolate chip cookies. If you belong to the other group and resort to foul language and heavy doses of sarcasm, racism, sexism, allotherisms, then–surprise!–you are one of the majority.
We deal with these callers every day (or night in my time actually) and we are required to be nice to each of them. Polite if you can’t achieve nice. Civilized if you can’t achieve polite. But that’s the minimum threshold.
If you were ever that woman who called in and screamed IDIOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTT long and loud enough to make my ears bleed, then perhaps you remembered how I didn’t shout FAT WRINKLY BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHH back even though you sound every bit like it. No, I was dripping with civility and transferred you to the right department (even though I should have released the call) because newsflash, you actually dialed the WRONG number, you retard.
You Become an Adult
…or at least start to become one.
Which means you learn how to take ownership and be responsible for everything you do, and not do, during working hours.
Here’s a secret: call center companies are VERY strict when it comes to time. If you’re used to a job where you come to work late and leave work early and don’t really suffer consequences because of it, then imagine working at the opposite side of that pole. Every freaking second is monitored from the time you logged in. And as what I have mentioned above, even pee time. Log in late and you better make sure you abort all hope that it will go unnoticed to save yourself major disappointment.
Here’s another secret: from kindergarten to college I was notorious for being late. I am not proud of that. Well, actually a little bit because even if I was a chronic late comer I actually avoided major disciplinary actions. Working in a call center changed that. I was never ever late except once, that is when I was forty-five minutes late because I forgot to readjust my alarm. Now looking back…I think that is my greatest achievement in terms of professional development. Yes, I am a professional goddamit!!!
If you do not know this yet, it might be helpful to learn that every call is monitored and recorded in the business. Why do you think those reps were still so polite even after the verbal
abuse courtesies you’ve slung? That’s right, because they’re afraid to lose their jobs if they say what’s really on their mind. Yes, that might not mean they’re ACTUALLY the nicest human beings on the planet. Yes, that might mean they’re only driven by fear and job pressure that’s why they’re still so nice.
But, let’s face it, niceness isn’t always genuine. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice we people make because it’s mandated by the job or any other external factor that we allow to affect us. Sometimes we just choose it because it’s the decent thing to do.
Although really, sometimes I just wish I could tell you how a big fucking idiot you really are… *grins*