Call centres have the worst reputation because from the get-go the customer is never happy. The wait time is always too long, the person on the phone has an accent, they don't get what they want. Plus, for many people it is the only way they can raise their voice and truly express their disenchantment. So I do have a soft spot for those who earn their living having to answer call after call after call.
Personally I will try to help the operator who is helping me. If they are helpful and nice I will do good by them and get off the phone as quick as I can. So many of these places are run so strictly on statistics that it is quite a stressful job. I've seen it before, people being gestured to tie up the call because they are averaging too slow. It's all about stats. This makes me sad.
But this blog is not about the sadness I feel for stats. It is a battle flag for all those call centres operators who undoubtedly have had that customer who seems to be failing at life for the simplest of reasons. So I address this to the public. The greater public, but not the great public. Dear public, this is a foolproof guide to help you when you are on the phone "with one of our friendly customer service representatives".
1. Please know what you want.
This is incredibly frustrating. Giggling with embarrassment about forgetting the singer's name whom you so desperately need tickets for is not going to make me feel better. And if you can't pronounce it, make sure you can spell it.
2. Chances are that the person you are on the phone to knows what they are talking about.
It is normal, and our right to question some things. Maybe you have a late fee for paying your phone bill two days late. You could try convince them to overturn it.
You will only get lied to if you're a bitch.
3. Learn what the words "SOLD OUT" mean. It means no more. GONE. There is no more seats left on the plane, there are no hidden boxes of chips out in the back storeroom, they are not producing any more of that wine until next season. I have no idea why someone would be calling up for a packet of chips but its the principle. right?
I've seen it before. The person on the other end of the phone starts to look like this:
4. You will most likely be given a receipt number following your query.
This could also be an order number, an account number, a transaction number, a confirmation number. You need this number. Asking "do I need that?" is kind of mute. If you didn't then they probably wouldn't waste their time getting you to write it down.
5. Have a pen with you. Make sure that it works. The amount of terms I have heard of the following is mind boggling.
"If you have a pen i'll just give you your receipt number."
"I have a pen but it doesn't work"
The logic that someone would hold onto a pen that doesn't work is startling. Who holds onto dud pens? Even more worrying is that it is a universal problem. Being on the phone seems to cancel out the writing power of pens, rendering them useless.
6. Following on from the above, make sure you have something to write on.
"I have a pen, I just don't have anything to write on"
"well it's just your receipt number. Write it on the wall. Or your quilt. Or maybe your shower is dirty and you can write it through the layer of mould starting to grow. OR write it on your child's forehead as a reminder as to how dumb you are.
7. Please keep drunk partners and babies away from the phone.
It is annoying and only makes us want to tell you to fuck off. Or our fingers may accidentally hit the mute button while we curse at you. Or the disconnect button. It will be an accident. Telling your partner to shut the fuck up while you're on the phone is also annoying. If he hits you I'm not likely to sympathise with you.
"WAH WAH. Sorry my three month old won't stop crying."
"I know. The piercing screams echoing in my ears are limiting my care factor"