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This is a question Call Centres

Dreadful pits of hellish torture for both customer and the people who work there. Press 1 to leave an amusing story, press 2 for us to send you a lunchbox full of turds.

(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:20)
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This question is now closed.

I flew with Spirit Air.
It was for the trip to Guatemala I did this summer. Tickets were purchased weeks in advance, everything was verified, I was packed... and then the morning of my flight my phone rang.

"We are sorry, but your flight has been canceled," an Indian accented voice informed me.

Great. Fucking great.

"Look, I have to be down there for work related stuff. When is the next flight you can put me on?"

"The next flight leaves in four days sir."

I raised hell and got to a supervisor, where I raised more hell. Unfortunately corporate HQ forbade them from refunding or giving a discount for inconvenience or booking me on another flight with another airline, so sorry sir...

I emailed my friend who I was going with (who was there already) and told her of the situation, then added "If they don't get me on a goddam flight some little Hindu is gonna be seeing Lord Ganesha pretty fucking quick!"

Somehow it worked out and the flight was no longer canceled, so I got my friend to drive me to the airport. Partway there we had a tornado warning, so we holed up in a coffee shop I knew of until it was safe to drive again. I described my ordeal to Richard, including the grousing I had done to my friend, and as I finished I noticed a little statue sitting on a shelf nearby

Lord Ganesha.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:29, 2 replies)
CSA
(that is all)
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:27, 7 replies)
Silenced!
I was about to blow the cover of the B3TA CABAL and just before I hit "post this message" they change the topic. Conspiracy!
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:27, Reply)
I work for a "Market Research Organisation"
One morning, the team got pulled in for a briefing. The supervisor reminded us of how important it is to make sure that one hangs up after completing a call. Yesterday someone had neglected to do this, and the respondant heard themselves being called a "retard". Who "gave retarded answers".
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:25, Reply)
Antique's Roadshow Soup
Answering the customer phoneline for a supermarket gains you some interesting calls, including the regular shouty, sweary ones, the plain bizzare and once and actual bomb threat (a story for later).

One day, I answered the phone to a very worried old lady who had just bought a tin of oxtail soup.

Me: What is the problem with the soup madam?

Lady: I was just putting my shopping away when I noticed that the date said 5/10 1932. That soup is over seventy years out of date! Can I have my money back?

Me: Are you sure it says that?

Lady: Oooh yes my dear, my dinner is antique!

I spent the next ten minutes explaining that the number wasn't the year, it was just the batch code and that the soup wasn't worth any more than what she'd paid for it. I really felt like I had robbed her of her fifteen minutes of fame and the chance to touch Michael Aspel that day.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:24, Reply)
Many a good time!
Contrary to the many anticipated posts, I actually enjoyed my time in a call centre.

There was the time when Nobby Stiles phoned, there was the time that Ted Heath phoned to complain on behalf of one of his constituents. All good fun.

The only down points were the teenage girls that were put in charge of a team of around 140 call centre staff.

Utterly useless (but I'm guessing not that useless in other 'departments' which resulted in their getting the job in the first place - I'll get to that!) and drunk on power, they seemed to see the first line in their newly aquired job description as:

"Make everyone's life as hellish as possible by implementing incredibly unfair working practices..."

...and so they did.

The call centre was setup in a bit of a hurry to be honest, I was working elsewhere in the firm (the postroom), and the firm decided to branch out into the new and exciting world of....insurance. They needed staff, and as such provided a better salary than most call centres and a monthly bonus, literally just for turning up. With that in mind, I applied, and duly got the job.

To start with everything was pretty good - there was a strange looking man in charge who was desperate to make friends - a bit like David Brent mixed with the hobbit. To start with there were around 20 employees, but the firm soon found that they were experiencing serious success in this field that they knew very little about and set about employing loads of very young (and quite often nubile) girls to fill the void. David Brent knew which qualifications girls needed for this job, and chose appropriately.

Now, the wages were not bad, but hardly brilliant either; however, each year the company would fly all 2000 employees off to a foreign country somewhere for around 3-4 days as a Christmas gift. On this pissup, sorry educational trip, they also saw fit to dish out some extremely good gifts in the form of a raffle for every employee that went on the jolly. The gifts ranged from 2 weeks in Sri Lanka to a weekend in the Isle of Wight. Sometimes there were camcorders, video recorders...in short, the sort of things that you would actually WANT to win. Because of this, the staff were generally loyal and the turnover was, in contrast to most call centres, very low.

Due to the low age of the majority of the staff on these 'educational' Christmas trips (they had to make them tax deductable somehow ;-) ) you could witness the most debauched and disgusting behaviour you have most likely ever seen. Free beer was literally thrown in, just to add to the mix.

Fan-bloody-tastic times were had by all.

Now, back at the call centre, the staffing level was as such that the poor chap in charge couldn't really cope any longer, and so he needed to find someone to help him run the place.

Most of the dolly-bird 17-21 year old nymphomanic, nubiles knew it as well.

Now, I'm not sure who took advantage of whom, but when we returned from one particularly messy trip, a fair few of these, ahem, girls were suddenly 'promoted' above their intellect and went about proving between themselves who could be the nastiest, most harriden like creature to ever grace the call centre floor.

Some of them really thought that they'd hit the big time with their new found 10k a year jobs and I had to chuckle to myself when walking past a few of them at the train station in the morning reading The Times, when in reality I seriously doubt they could understand the title, let alone anything that was printed within.
They set about timing every person that went to the toilet, and then pulling them up on disciplinary procedures if they took longer than 30 seconds - I kid you not. They had a particular hatred for men.

One poor sod was dragged from his bed when he called in sick with flu - real flu. He could barely stand and was vomiting inbetween calls. He went home early. I never saw him again as he was sacked by phone call that night.

Thankfully, most of us just took some of their crap on the chin and just got on with it - the social side far outweighed the crap that these over-inflated egos could dish out.
Good times were had by all for the most part - it was more like a teenage youth club than a workplace, and much more fun and with a hell of a lot more sex.

Of course, the girls in charge would invariably fall pregnant and the whole sequence would start again.
Occassionally a chap would get promoted and then having something a bit more impressing than 'phone monkey' on his CV would quickly leave - after all, he wasn't about to do the horizontal bop with the hobbit boss.

To my knowledge this still goes on now - fair play to 'em I say.

Indeed, this business practice seems to work, much to the chagrin of the remaining staff - there's well in excess of 5000 employees now and the logistics of getting that many staff abroad for Christmas has put paid to it.

That's why I left; shallow bastard that I am.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:24, 3 replies)
This very morning
OK I don't work in a call centre but like a lot of people here (I suspect) I am the first resort for all computer-related questions for everyone in my family. This morning it was my mother-in-law's turn.

She couldn't get on the internet on her laptop, she said, Internet Explorer was saying it had connection problems. Then she mentioned that in the bottom corner of the screen was a pop-up from ZoneAlarm firewall, asking her if she wanted to allow IE to connect to the internet. Now she does know what ZA is and what it's for, and the wording of the popup is such that she could probably have guessed that it might be related. But I took her through it slowly again, we opened up access for IE and tried again.

Still no joy: IE just couldn't load a web page. I tried a few things (switch it off and on again!) but nothing worked. So I suggested that perhaps her wireless connection was having a problem.

"But I can get emails." she said.

Oh, I thought. "Well, let's check that and make sure you can still can."

"OK", she replied. "Just let me unplug it."

"Unplug it? Why?"

"Well there's this problem, it's a bit odd, I can't get a wireless connection when the laptop is connected to the mains. If I unplug it, it works OK."

"But...but..."

"Oh, wait a minute, do you think that might be related to the problem with Internet Explorer?"

Yes, her power management was set up to disable wireless when connected to a mains supply. Genius.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:21, 11 replies)
I used to work in a Cornish factory
manufacturing well known audio mixers. There was an old boy that worked the evening shift. He must have been in his late 50's, and spoke in a thick Irish accent and when he did, he spoke out of one corner of his mouth like popeye. This made him pretty hard to understand. However, this guy left the factory because he had a new job. The job? Telemarketing! I'm pretty sure that the only major qualification that is needed is the ability to speak...
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:19, 6 replies)
Abusive customer?
Pointing out that you know where they live in an intimidating manner will most likely get you fired immediately.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:19, 1 reply)
I worked for...
A mobile phone company, which may sound northern due to its name, used to sound like a 3 digit number. It was actually contracted out to the company I worked for. Anyway, some incidents:

1. Everyone would do drugs then chat shit on the phones to customers.
2. A few people worked out conferencing, then when people called in, they pretended to be Australian radio presenters. Customers loved it.
3. We were all called to a meeting one day as man juice was found on a cubicle wall in the toilets!
4. People worked out that if you mute on the system, team leaders can tell, but if you do it on your headset, they cannot. This meant that you have it on mute as a call comes in, then wait until they get proper pissed off and then do your greeting, they suddenly change to nice people.
5. On her first day of training, one person got asked what she was wearing and was told that she sounds sexy. Bloody perv.
6. On the system, you could reset your pc and when it comes back up, it would let you in without typing a password, which meant that lots of people ordered phones on non exsistant account, posted to some address. Some dumbass created her own account in some name, to her own address, then had people ringing her for phone orders on it. She had voicemail, which we reset the pin to. It had lots of messages of orders. The police soon got hold of that fraud!
6.1 You could also cancel peoples account using 6 if they pissed you off and there would be no trace as notes were not written until you sign out of the account.

Fuckin place. I walked out in the end as a team leader wanted to fight me. That is how unprofessional it was.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:19, 2 replies)
Interview at a call centre
After graduating I was doing the rounds of applying to call centres as they at least guaranteed 12k, and I didnt fancy ruining my weekends by working in a bar. After sailing through the interview I was given the luxury of sitting in on a live call, at this point I knew that I wasn't up for spending 5 days a week here, and especially working late night shifts which they were very keen on... So I sat down next to some chancer with bumfluff and a generous portion of BO and was given a headset along with mic... the call went on with some woman wishing to setup a standing order or something and my bad conscience was getting the better of me. It was telling my to say something, telling me to amuse myself and in one proud moment pulled the mic down from my ear and said "eggy beans"... "eggy beans", there was a silence, then the customer hung up. The kid with bumfluff looked at me saying I was mental and that I would never get the job now... Damn
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:06, Reply)
I once was a call centre of one...
.... when I did my turn answering the phone when I used to work for a bingo hall. I had to sit in a room all by myself and wait for the phone to ring. That's it, no other tasks. Yawn. None of the following is very funny, but it just goes to show that it takes all sorts to make a world.

I got such questions as;
"Will it be busy tonight ?" (I would have liked to say, "No, I'll only let a few in if you like, I'm on reception later")
"I think I dropped a fifty pound note at the bar, has anyone handed it in ?" (My faith in human nature would have been restored if I could have truthfully said, "Yes, I have it right here, someone handed it in just now," but monkeys might fly out of my arse before that would have ever happened)
"Can you tell the girl that works on the payout cash desk on a thursday night that I'd like to see her naked ?" (This was a woman caller. This is totally true, and I was said girl. I bat for the other team so I was flattered, but didn't tell her she was talking to the object of her ... er ... affections.)
"How do you play bingo ?" (You're shittin me right ?")
Followed by the ultimate, "If I don't win, do I get my money back ?"

I also got to look up people's membership details, and thus came across such fantastic surnames as Weijerratnum (prolly spelled it wrong but it's close, Polish apparently) and Ratnavel (I like that one especially.)

I have a friend who works for a very large energy company - now off the phones but once a phone grunt - who could tell some fine stories. I know he floats about on here so - how about it Mr Bass Player ?
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 13:04, 2 replies)
Nothing to do with call centres
I was leaving work yesterday evening and there was a man standing at the front door of the building what I thought was trying to push the door open.

When I asked if I could help him, he explained that a someone who worked there had left something at his house and he just trying to return it. I said ok give it me and I will make sure they get it. Then the man said there was a problem as it was now stuck in the letter box and could I help him get it out.

I said yes, of course. I asked the man what was it he was trying to deliver. The man said a sausage. That is right, yesterday I had to wrestle a very large German sausage from the letter box!
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:55, 2 replies)
First!
What?
What do mean?
It's a conspiracy I tell you
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:53, 1 reply)
TV Licensing....
Automated Phone Woman: Please say the full postcode of your old address

Me: blah blah blah

Automated Phone Woman: Thank you. Please say the name or number of the building.

Me: 5

Automated Phone Woman: Sorry, I didn't get that. Please say the name or number of the building.

Me: 5

Automated Phone Woman: Sorry, I didn't get that either. Please blah blah blah....

Me: FIVE!

Automated Phone Woman: Sorry....

Me: (getting annoyed by this point) FUCK YOU!

Automated Phone Woman: Thank you. I am now transferring you to an operator

Operator: Hello TV Licensing...

Me: *Uncontrollable Laughter*


Apparently (so people in the know have told me) some of these systems are programmed to recognise swear-words in order to detect pissed-off callers and send them to a real person. This knowledge has dramatically changed how I use a telephone...
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:53, 5 replies)
CCMonkey
I worked in a debt collection call centre when I was a student.

Didn't suck too much, if I'm honest.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:50, 2 replies)
Oh my...
Like probably a good portion of the posters on here, I have, for my sins, worked in a call centre. If it wasn't the silly names, such as the incredibly-named Mrs Shitta (name not changed at all), then it would be the mouth-breathing fucktards who seemed to think that by shouting and screaming they would get what they want. But these are all so far, so usual.

I once worked on a product support line- the type that no sane person would ever call. It was regarding a buggy that M&S sold at the time. An all-terrain buggy, that looked like it was built like a tank and could have quite happily survived an altercation with a roadside IED.

The caller in question, a woman from Liverpool, asked me a question which to this day still astounds me in the ability to combine mind-numbing stupidity with astonishing brevity: "Does it go uphill?"
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:48, Reply)
Short 'n' Sweet
I used to work as a call centre monkey for a large mobile telecomms company. The best call I ever had was some random strange phoned up and said

"Can you hear me?",
"Yeah" I replied,
to which he ended with "Nice one, just checking my hands free kit works" *click*

Made my day (^_^)
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:46, Reply)
Looks like i had to select
option 1
then option 2


Is this the right place to cancel an Abbey credit card?

Rats cocks
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:43, Reply)
Not a call centre as such
But working technical support for a small company one day, I fell asleep in the middle of a call.

I was wearing a headset, and leaning back in my huge comfy office chair, when *zzzzzz*.

I woke up what must have been just a few minutes later, confused as to why a voice was rabbiting on and on in my ear. Remembering I was on a phone call, but not who to, or what about, I kindly asked the customer to repeat everything they'd said for the past 5 minutes as the line had been cutting out.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:41, Reply)
Oh god
I worked in far, far too many whilst a student.

A little coping mechanism I developed for difficult customers was to remain as calm and professional as possible during the call, yet as soon as I'd replaced the handset in the cradle, to loudly proclaim "Cunt!".

This then became a kind of nervous twitch and I'd shout "Cunt!" even after hanging up on the nice ones.

"Cunt! Cunt! Cunt!"

Sometimes, just sometimes, the handset wouldn't quite make it into the cradle and being a small sales team, I'd get the same customer call back two seconds later

"God afternoon FooBar Sales, mrgibbles spea..."
"What the FUCK did you call me!?"

I got away with it every time by saying I had tourettes.

*sigh*
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:37, 1 reply)
I got a job at directory enquiries one summer
Two weeks of putting up with calls from people asking the time, kids on prank calls, and a hellish time management system that timed how long you took to go for a piss when you were on duty.

Management pitted colour coded teams against each other, trying to achieve record numbers of calls week in, week out.

We were supposed to be each taking an average of 120 calls per hour; one enquiry every 30 seconds. I got reprimanded during my training because, instead of pressing the button that diverts a customer through to a machine to have their chosen number read out automatically (thus allowing me to take another call), I had the gall to read out the number on my screen to this (elderly, partially deaf chap).

Luckily I got fired after my 2 week probabation. Whilst my morning call averages were ok, my 2 pints at the pub next door every day didn't do wonders for my afternoon times.

I also blatantly abused my power, by helping an adopted friend to find out contact details of his birth parents, using the vast DQ database of UK peoples (This was before the internet made it virtually redundant)
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:34, 1 reply)
i had literally
i had just got something to say on conspiracy theories, and the raving ridiculousness of this site: www.conspiracyplanet.com. and now the qotw has changed. so maybe i will report that to conspiracy planet. it's more plausible than "the CIA beheaded nick berg" anyway.

so moving on and getting over it. call centre monkeys. my friend sam was once working at one of those freephone mortgage call centres. she was really excited one day to get a guy who actually owned his own freehold property (much more commission for a secured loan). until she reached this point in the conversation:

sam: and now i'd like to talk about the length of the repayment term.

caller: i'd rather talk about the colour of your knickers.

sam: (thinking she must have misheard) er, i'm sorry. bad line. so i said, the length of the repayment term...

pervert: and i said, what colour knickers are you wearing?

what i couldn't get over, when she told me this, was the cheapskatedness of anyone who would make a dirty phonecall to a freephone number!

she also had another woman who rang her up to scream abuse at her because the company used a chimpanzee in its tv adverts, and apparently this is massively cruel. apparently the nature and content of the tv advertising is also the sole decision of the gimp answering the phone in the call centre.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:29, 5 replies)
I have a conspiracy theory:
Only the select few favoured high-ranking b3ta elite members, who are actually highly-intelligent fire-breathing dragons living in secret government bunkers beneath abandoned Woolworths branches (which they engineered to go bankrupt), are allowed to be "first" on "QOTW". It's all to do with their evil reptilian schemes, probably to create a subconcious association of their usernames with intimidating traits like superior relexes; so we'll automatically defer to them when 2012 comes.

I was going to include links to some 'independent' (yet curiously, similarly-named) websites that prove me right, but I haven't finished writing them yet. So instead, I will now insist you all watch a number of rambling, irrelevant, badly filmed and edited youtube videos; which I will (against all logic or reason) claim to provide proof of my insane ranting:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0
www.youtube.com/watch?v=60og9gwKh1o
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfwqvUPIRkg

Any failure to be bored by each and every clip, in its tedious entirety, before then swearing your allegiance to my cause; will result in my branding you as, at best, an unbeliever; or more likely as "one of them". And won't *that* teach you!

(play me out, keyboard cat)
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:28, 1 reply)
I once worked in the Sky call centre in Dunfermline
the stories you hear are phenomenal.

Two of my favourites:

Call Centre Phone Jockey: Can I ask you what the weather is like where you are?
Customer: It's very cold and icy.
CCPJ: Ah, that's what your problem is - the dish is iced over. You need to warm it up. Can you get a bucket of hot water?

This guy had the customer leaning out of the window with a bucket of water, and throwing it over the dish.

And the other:

CCPJ: Right, that should be your account updated to include the Movie channels. I'm sending the information to your decoder now.
Cust: Okay. What do I need to do?
CCPJ: GET OUT OF THE ROOM RIGHT NOW! BEFORE THE RAYS GET YOU!
Cust: *sounds of a phone being dropped, footsteps and a door slamming*

To be honest, I actually doubt these are both true, but I would love to think they were....
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:28, 13 replies)
5th
My ex-sister in law was so obnoxious, she's the only person I know to get someone in a call centre swear at her and hang up.

True story
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:28, Reply)
4th?
Story to follow
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:25, Reply)
tarbin's top ten tips for pissing off cold callers
10. Answer the phone with "Blue bear, blue bear, this is red bull", and before agreeing on having a conversation, get them to say the 'secret phrase'

9. Agree with something they never said: "Yeah, shoot em all. It's the only language they understand"

8. Answer the phone with "Chello, Mexican embassy? *sneeze* Chow can I chelp joo?"

7. Answer the phone with "Jim's taxidermy? You snuff 'em, we stuff 'em!"

6. Shout every third word of your sentence. Or do it in some sort of Fibonachi sequence.

5. Mimic the accent of the other guy on the phone. Works particularly well with Northerners.

4. Pretend they have called the local Chinese restaurant, and keep confirming with them that they want "Number Fifree free wiv rice".

3. Cry down the phone and keep asking them why nobody understands your 'crippling emotional dysfunction'.

2. Keep asking 'why?' at everything they say.

1. Pretend to be interested in what they are saying, then slowly make the conversation more and more surreal. Some suggestions include:
a. pretending you are interested in taking a loan because you are an international criminal who spent too much money trying to kill James Bond, before realising that he doesn't exist.
b. pretending you are interested in double glazing in order to 'stop the bees getting me'
c. pretending you need that new car loan in order to drive to your new giraffe farm. Those giraffes won't be able to teach themselves the harmonicca, eh!
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:23, 27 replies)
Damn
Second. Bum.

I've a mate who manages a call centre. Rather like someone who's been a soldier in a war zone he refuses to talk about it. After a few drinks though he opens up just enough to say "I really hate Liverpudlians".

No further details are forthcoming.
(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:21, Reply)
Can i interest you in second sir

(, Thu 3 Sep 2009, 12:21, 3 replies)

This question is now closed.

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