Friday, December 28, 2007

Call Center

So I work in a call center. That means I take calls to an 800#. Yes, I'm one of THOSE people!

I'm a good one, though. I care. I fix the problems I can, find people who can if I can't, and apologize if there is no solution (ie, the caller is just plain stupid. You can't fix stupid).

I work in a little cubby (covered in pretty Japanese fabric) on a row of other cubbies. The people on my row are nice - and sci-fi gamer geeks, like I am. Also about my age. "Remember Bobby's World?" "I do, don'tcha know!" Also my managers are nice. One of them just gave me three chocolate chip cookies.

But in the end, it is a call center.

The problem with taking calls is - okay, actually, there are a few.

I work for a company that sells educational products, including online and classroom courses. So you would think that when customers call they'd be able to tell you what they're studying for.

"And what is this call in regard to?"
"My class."
"And which class is this?"
"The one I'm in."

Yeah. I didn't make that up.

Many people have trouble telling me what they want / why they're calling.

"This online thing isn't working."
"And what kind of difficulty are you having?"
"I told you - the online thing isn't working!"

They also have trouble telling me who they are.

"Can I have your first name please?"
"Oh, my name is Ashoaoiashedflkj Ahmedinejad."
"And can you please spell your first name for me?"
"Um, was that S as in Sam?"

Sometimes we have bad connections. Sometimes I have no idea what they're saying. And they have trouble understanding what I'm saying. But they don't slow down.

"What? I can't hear you."
"Can you hear me now, ma'am?"
"Sort of. Okay, so I need the oblibe *garble* becuzIwanna *garble.*"
"I'm sorry, could you please repeat that?"
"Yeah, I need *garble garble*"

If we don't have a super great connection, and they are aware of this, you would think they'd try to enunciate a little. No. Why would they do that?

People can be very forward over the phone. They don't like to take no for an answer, and since they don't have to look me in the face and be a jackass, they feel free to behave poorly. Sometimes it's not that bad; sometimes it's a simple inability or unwillingness to take no for an answer.

"The managers at your local office are the only ones with the information you need. They will be open tomorrow."
"But can't you help me now?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't have that information."
"But can't you look it up somewhere?"
"No ma'am; there is no way to obtain that information other than calling the local office, which is closed today. They'll be open at 9 am tomorrow morning."
"But why aren't they open today?"

Sometimes it's worse.

"Well this is your problem! YOU caused it so YOU had better fix it right now!"
"Sir, I apologize that our computer system glitched and we will fix it just as soon as is possible. However it will take 72 hours for the data to transfer and we cannot control this because it's due to the systems of the other company-"
"Well I don't think I should have to wait that long."

And what do you want me to do about that?

I've gotten very good at apologizing.