Hanging on the telephone

This may sound strange, but sometimes I’m secretly pleased when I get a shouty customer. It can be just the thing to break the monotony of order taking allowing me to lean back, give my fingers a rest from the key board and surf the wave of rage.

I was also delighted this week my ‘Hello XXXX inc call-guy speaking how can I help?’ spiel met with a furious response. It was like opening an airlock door the anger pouring into the empty space knocking me slightly off balance….. ‘Oh thank you I’ve been waiting for 20 minutes to get through to you and I’ve been trying to get through for three days now, what is going on there, why don’t you employ more staff if you’re so busy?’

I wish I could tell the truth; that a supposed cash flow crisis has led to us having our hours cut despite us being busy and even though we are being worked mercilessly by management who are piling on the pressure on us to make up for their mistakes we have no chance of keeping up with it. That to top it off we get the flack from customers angry at having difficulty getting through. I have however, developed a strategy. What I do is to agree with the customer, very loudly placing emphasis on certain points “yes, yes I’m so sorry you’ve been WAITING 20 MINUTES and I will happily pass on your comments to my managers that WE NEED MORE STAFF, yes, you can be assured I will” I say as I look towards my manager sat in her position facing us her eyes, as usual, glued to her stats feed.

It’s not just for my managers benefit either. I know some of our clients listen to recordings of the calls so I want to draw out as much as possible “you couldn’t get through on Tuesday you say, so how long were you waiting on the line?” Enough of these and surely they would be demanding my managers get more people on the phones pronto.

And so it appears to have proved. I got a call from my manager on Friday afternoon “just to let you know after next week we’re back to normal” First thought is great, second thought is what about my holiday and all the arrangements I’ve made, we were told this situation would be until the end of August and I’ve planned accordingly. I know a few other colleagues have been enjoying having a day off each week and don’t want to go back to their old hours.

In other separate, or possibly very related developments Big Al and Steve-o were dressed in their finest business garb, all pin-stripes and cuff links, for a meeting on Tuesday with two mystery men who seemed to be taking a good look around after they emerged from the office in the far corner of the centre. Now, a couple of weeks ago the firm was also been giving away stationery with our logo the official story being it was a warehouse clear out and in addition to this I have learnt Big Al has dissolved some company names relating to us which he had held. Looks like our company name is surplus to requirements. My money, as it had been right at the start, is on a take-over.


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