Call Centers: So Not What You Think They Are

Maybe you’re that person who picks up the phone without checking to see what number hit the caller ID, and suddenly you hear it: “May I please speak to so-and-so?”

Oh no. Really? Now you see it. The 800-number strikes again, and you’re suddenly reminded of too many other things you need to be doing. In fact, maybe you should just hang up the phone instead of answering.

You know, the representative on the other end might be hoping you’d do that.

In fact, the rep may be wishing you’d just tell her, “Wrong number,” or “He’s not here right now,” instead of answering any of the myriad other ways that you might decide to answer.

And then you decide to answer: “This is.” Maybe a sigh escapes you. Maybe you huff and grumble that you’re busy or tired or sick or anything other than just fine and dandy. Maybe your friendly voice turns incredibly chilly and hostile and you go on the offensive without thought.

Whatever the case, the rep on the other end of the phone is trying not to sigh back at you. And maybe biting back the retort that if she could make money doing something else she wouldn’t be there trying to get you to pay your bill.

Because does anyone really want to work in a call center? I mean, come on, really?

They look so happy to be there, don’t they?

So you got the call from the local 800-number, which, let’s face it, often enough isn’t local to your area. Instead of hearing the rep out when she tries to explain she’s calling about your past due bill, maybe you’re one of those who immediately barges in and spouts: “I’m not interested, thanks!” That’s normally followed by a hang up.

The truth is… that saves those of us making those calls a lot of time and effort. Okay, so the company wouldn’t want you to believe that, but people who make the calls? We get the crap. Have you ever considered that you’re talking to a live person with parents and a dog or a cat or siblings, maybe kids and a spouse? No? Oh, I see. You’re one of those people who thinks it’s cool to take out your anger at whatever insignificant thing in life has upset you on this particular day by screaming at and cussing out the poor rep at the 800-number because she picked this fateful day to call you and harass you when you can’t pay your bills.

I can’t say I have any sympathy for people who do this.

I can’t say I honestly care whether you can pay your bills or not, but I’m not allowed to say that on the phones.

What I can’t say there, I can say here. The truth is that when I talk to a person who thinks it’s a good idea to yell at me about how awful their lives are, I can only think of one thing I’d like to say in response: “Wow, your life sucks. I work in a call center.”

Add in a couple comments about how I hear this kind of thing all the time, I talk to people like this all the time, and before you know it… people might actually feel sorry for me!

So now you know, and  you’ll hear more… about just how different call centers are from your imagination. If you haven’t worked one, you have no idea what they’re like, and if you’re used to screaming and raging at the interruption to your precious time, I hope you’ll consider this: there are, in fact, actual humans who are unfortunate enough to work these jobs, and they’re the ones who end up dealing with your rage fest. (Not to mention some of us tend to jot down your accounts to go back and laugh at your multiple rage fests over time with other representatives because we take a sarcastic bit of pleasure in knowing we aren’t the only ones to incur your wrath and you haven’t figured out that the calls won’t stop the more you scream.)

– RaeNez


One thought on “Call Centers: So Not What You Think They Are

  1. As a veteran of the dreaded call center (internet support) I know all about the particular dread and monotony that kind of job entails. All negativity, all day, from people all over can gradually transform even the nicest, most helpful person into a misanthrope. Do what you have to, (we all have to work!) but try not to stay any longer than you must. Stay strong!

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