How to annoy a customer service adviser……

…by beginning a call like this:


Customer service adviser: Hello xxxxx incorporated call-guy speaking. How can I help?


Customer: You can help by speaking up a bit


Would anyone dream of starting a conversation like this if they were face-to-face? To me it seems rude without at least a hello first. If there was a hello first I really don’t have an issue, but more importantly it’s totally misguided. Speaking up on a phone line will mean your voice becomes distorted making it harder for the other person to hear you. Bearing this in mind I don’t fall into this trap and continue in my usual tone of voice without ever encountering any problems.

One former colleague however, always used to raise her voice. She had a strong Welsh accent and being a bio-chemistry student was a very intelligent girl, but one who didn’t suffer fools gladly. You could hear the irritation in her voice rising during one of her typical exchanges with a customer:


and on this would go her shouting louder and louder getting more and more exasperated whist the customer grew more befuddled. It was so farcical it was like a Monty-python sketch to the great amusement of the rest of the call-centre.

The one thing you really don’t want in a call-centre is everyone hearing you.


3 thoughts on “How to annoy a customer service adviser……

  1. I wish the people calling us would also realize that we don’t have each our own space – at least, in my call center, and I guess in most call centers! It’s an open space, so if everybody is talking very loud, it will become very hard for everyone of us to achieve communication…
    I had a few people asking me to speak today today, and it was really depressing for me, especially since I had to handle those calls in English which is not my mother tongue, so I felt even more self-conscious about speaking up!

  2. Ahhh yes, THOSE customers. I swear I get more than my fair share of them.
    I have a theory that they do it not just out of arrogance, but to claim control from the start. That first sentence is a statement to mark their territory. Making you jump through hoops before they even say hello.
    I like to play the game back I don’t change the volume of my voice when they say that, depending on their tone i sometimes will go quieter, i then say sorry is that better how is it I can help. Since usually it’s only the apology they are after, even though you are not actually in the wrong for anything.
    The ones that say it is better are the ones that are taking the mickey. Which generally is most of them.
    Oh the ones that don’t say anything until you’ve said hello 5 or 6 times annoy me. If you genuinely could not hear anybody on the line then how did you hear me that last time mr smarty pants!

    • I think you’re quite right, it is a control thing. In all the times someone told me to ‘speak up a bit’ I never did and they continued the call quite happily without a problem. I must admit too that if the caller was particularly rude, or if I was having a bad day, I did the quieter thing as well!

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