No, I’m most definitely not referring to the footwear. I only wish I were.
In fact, it might be easier if I were referring to footwear. Today was my first day back after a week off from sickness, and the call center was in full steam, rare form, and full of energy, vibrance, and noise.
Well, maybe only noise.
I was slightly overwhelmed by it all but pushed through and was rewarded with inbounds.
I haven’t broached the subject even though it is the subject of my waking nightmares, and by that I mean the nightmares I live day in and day out in the call center on a regular basis. As today is Monday, it’s the only appropriate day to start talking about them, too.
It might come as a surprise that I have a preference between outbound collection calls and inbound customer calls, but the truth of it is I’ll take the outbound calls any day of the week. Why? Because the vast majority of inbound calls are inane. They’re heaped one on top of the next. And if the outbound crew is pulled to handle them, you know you’re bound to have a number of angry customers to deal with because of the wait to speak to a rep.
Today was no different, really. Mondays are the worst. Our call center, thank heavens, is closed on weekends, so we get a reprieve to get away from the madness. The tradeoff is Manic Monday, where you’ll be assaulted over the least little thing because Sally Customer has waited ten minutes to speak to you and simply will not be quiet now she has you on the phone.
Normally I go through the same routine on outbound calls and can do it in my sleep. Inbound calls are worse because some of the questions you get are so completely idiotic.
And, yes, I am pointing at you, Sally Customer, who called me today to tell me your computer didn’t want you to download a form from our website because “it’s a virus.” Clearly you either have the wrong website or your browser’s security settings are too high, but no, don’t listen to the girl who works there. Demand, quite haughtily, she mail it out to you at once and then ask her when you’ll receive it.
(My crystal ball says: Ask again later.)
For much of the afternoon, I took back to back calls, notating the accounts as I went. Inbound is more or less like a screaming infant. You pick it up, walk it around back and forth for a while and pray it will get sleepy. Then you plop in a rocker and try that to see if the rocking motion pacifies it. You stick a pacifier in its mouth only to have it spat in your face. And just when it seems to nod off, the dog barks or the floor creaks, and it’s screaming again.
That was today. We had over 200 calls holding most of the afternoon, for a steady two and a half hours. Two and a half hours.
Who holds that long?! Oh, wait. Sally Customer. Who then curtly demands I fix her problem as she rushes me on the phone because she’s been holding too long.
I’m ever so sorry. (Not really.) But when you complain about the wait, you’re only taking that much more of my time that could be better spent hustling you off the phone. And when you say you hope the calls are monitored (they are) so my boss will hear that we need more reps (he doesn’t care), I yawn and feel my eyes cross as I remember the new motto of the company.
Pretend I work for “Call Center Xtroadinaire.” Our new motto for the call center? “I am Call Center Xtroadinaire!”
Now add to that a motivational speech about how not hiring enough reps has saved the company loads in salary that they can now use to cater lunches on Mondays and breakfasts on Fridays. And maybe an addendum that everyone can wear jeans for the next six weeks as we focus on lots of pretty goals, and we’re really talking!
And, that, is what I missed by not being at work last week.
Oh how I wish I could stay sick. Just a bit longer, really.
Because, as I long to tell my boss, had I known I was signing on to take flip-flopping outbound collection calls and inbound customer calls, I would never have taken my job. Period.
And now I’m off to bed because it’s late and I’m exhausted. Oh, and, yes, that’s right. I work in a call center and have to get up early in the morning. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to bed I go…