That’s a fairly typical way to start a conversation isn’t it?

Most people seem to agree, but every so often some of my customers feel like throwing convention of the window.

Usually it’s launching straight into a rant about how long they’ve been waiting to get through not realising the irony that in the process they’re holding up the next person in the queue, but this is understandable I’d feel the same if like many of my customers at the moment I’m waiting 20 minutes to place an order.

Then there’s what I call the Jerry Springer opening. So named because it reminds me of the entrance made by ‘guests’ of the aforementioned TV show when they come on all visibly pumped up and physically launch into the person already on stage. The instant my line connects I’m met by a verbal barrage of violent intensity rage spewing out of my headset “I KEEP TELLING YOU STOP SENDING ME THESE LETTERS  I DON’T EVER WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN I DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING”

Today I had a very strange opening to a call. Without pause for breath the caller cut in with “My name is Mary Jones. If you can’t understand me let me know please don’t just cut me off” I was slightly puzzled and a bit annoyed. Puzzled as the callers voice was very clear and annoyed as I felt the caller was making an assumption I would be so unprofessional. Sometimes when someone has been ‘dropped’ it is because they’ve annoyed another operator and it didn’t take this lady long to annoy me. First she gave me her own details then said she was calling on behalf of her Mum and wanted me to take her details… seriously tell me at the start of the call not after I’ve keyed in your info!

Then when I had to take the greeting for her flowers she became ultra-patronising. “mum wants a slightly strange word in the message” she told me. Ok I thought. “Yes it’s monotony… m-o-n-o-t-o-n-y” she slowly spelt out. This is why I hate taking calls for this client. I may work in a call centre, but that doesn’t mean you have to spell out words for me. I can accept if it’s a name which may have a variety of spellings, but If I’m unsure I can ask and I’ve got a spell-check in any case. I mean monotony is one word I’m very familiar with

Again and maybe I’m being oversensitive here, but I feel as if another assumption is made about me i.e that as I work in a call centre I’m stupid and can’t spell or even use a spell-check! I must confess that on another client if people spell out an obvious name to me I deliberately get it wrong. Maybe it doesn’t help the myth that call centre work is for failures who can’t spell, but its a small act of resistance which makes me feel a little better.


3 thoughts on “Monotony

  1. I’m sorry but I do make that assumption too: I think call centre work is for failures that can’t find a proper job. Now, I know you write decent, well-thought out blog posts so you just can’t be a failure and when I think about it, there are probably lots of students or housewives working part time, and other non-failures that find this job the best for them at this moment in their lives.

    But yes, the assumption is still there. I’ll try to better my life, but it’s hard. Especially if you can hear people read from a script, that doesn’t make anyone sound intelligent. 😦

  2. The funny thing about my call-centre is that because the way recruitment is done mainly through networks of friends (how I found my way there) we ended up with a load of physics students and a bio-chemistry student as well as a couple of postgraduate students so there’s probably more intellect on the floor than lots of other places. Ironically the workers are also far more educated than the managers.

    I agree though that the issue is that people aren’t allowed to show any initiative and reading from a script all day, or doing the same repetitive task again and again turns even an astro-physisist into a zombie. I know it turns my brain into mush after a few hours.

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