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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)
Pages: Latest, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, ... 1

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Tesco Club Card
I worked for these fuckwits in their Dundee call centre and it was the most depressing 6-weeks of my life.

I amused myself with changing the name and address details with any irate dumbfucks who hacked me off during the day or if they really pissed me off cancel their account and all their accumulated points altogether.

What used to get me is mugs calling and saying they never recieved there shitty vouchers for a free tin of beans or somthing but on the system i could tell where, when and what time the voucher had been used and you needed your clubard to redeem them.

I somtimes wonder how i never had any come-back from the abusive and somtimes racist middle names i used to add to the address lines.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 14:07, 21 replies)
'My mouse doesn't work'
There was a brilliant one with that, with Virgin, when they did PAYG dialup.

An old woman called up, and ALL the possible causes were went through with her, just because she doesn't seem to be knowing much, and we didn't want to fob her off.

In the end, she was moving around one of those 'micro' modems, waving it about. It was USB, and her 'computer genius' son had unplugged the mouse, replaced it with that, and told her to get on with it.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 14:01, Reply)
ARE YOU A GRADUATE?

Every year, middle-class white boys from comfortable homes leave the comfort of their chosen seat of learning, armed with the knowledge that will build them a sturdy and exciting future. But for many, university life is not a springboard for happiness, but merely the last morsel of joy before a long and grueling famine beset with disappointment, alienation and actual work.

Every year, thousands of hugely incisive and intelligent minds go to waste, suffocated by nine to five jobs in filing, IT and project management. That's literally years of life experience and world knowledge gleaned from lecturers, Wikipedia and TV shows, knowledge that could be put towards solving world hunger, establishing a new, workable form of world capitalism, and unveiling the dark conspiracy behind 9/11.

Some of these poor souls manage to adjust, rescuing their sanity by blending in, getting married, talking football and occasionally sounding off about something they read in the Guardian during dinner parties. But many never quite recover, and are doomed to a life of talking over other people about the eternal truths they learned on QI, fighting with other graduates on the internet, and namedropping their degree at every opportunity in the hope of being considered "the foremost knowledge" on something each time it comes up.

Several of these people will die lonely deaths. Some alone at their desks, hearts popped from a particularly violent row on the internet. Others dumped in a ditch, shortly after "educating" a paramilitary group about their own life history using facts they'd found on the internet.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Did your mother tell you that you were her special boy?
Did your lecturers give you high marks for repeating the nonsense they spouted while they were drunk?
Did you mistake a humanities degree for a certificate of unparalleled intelligence, as opposed to a "special award" for being able to perform simple tasks without drooling for three years, handed out to literally tens of thousands of other well-off kids a year? A certificate with about as much real-life worth as this one?
Do you still want people to know that you're intelligent, 24 hours a day, no matter the subject?

You need BORECORP's "U-SO-SMART-LINE".

Like many premium-rate phone lines, we have young, beautiful and single women waiting to hear from YOU. But unlike other premium-rate phone lines, these women don't say anything, allowing you to talk for literally hours about all the stuff you know about life, film, music, politics, social issues and even other people's lives, without anyone telling you that you're a self-important blowhard who really should shut up before you embarrass yourself.

Do you believe that Edward Scissorhands was really a subtle metaphor for the alienation of the American child from the MTV generation? Do you think that some of the continuity in Jaws was actually pretty poor, due to the troubles suffered in animating the shark during filming? Does society really need to realise that all the troubles in the West Bank actually stem from a long association with certain factions which we won't go into here because no one would probably understand?

CALL NOW. Our operators are standing by.

We listen to you, so no other poor bastard has to.

(Calls charged at £30 per minute, plus normal network rate. But it's okay, because Daddy will pay for it)



p.s. I cannot take credit for this, it was written by a friend of mine (who hasn't got an account, in his words "I have no idea how to post on B3ta, but I fear it may involve signing up and registering. I suspect that's where madness lies."), But I know he checks these pages...
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 13:56, 7 replies)
IT Helpdesk
It's me job. Can be very frustrating and very amusing.

I can fix most problems that don;t require physical tech support over the phone. It's just a matter of finding the level of understanding of the customer without crossing the line into becoming a condacending techy.

The big problem arises from trying to work out what the problem is. No matter what the user says the problem is probably something else.

Some classic ones are:

"I can't access the internet" (monitor turned off)

"I can't print this document" (user has forgotton password to log on)

"My PC is on but the server is off" (The monitor is on but the PC is off)

"I can't send any emails" (the wireless mouse's battery has run out)

"My mouse doesn't work" (The office has been moved round. The users old PC has been disconencted and put to the side to be collected for disposal. The user is sitting at her old desk, infront of her old CRT monitor with a "To Be Disposed" sticker on it's screen, flailing around with an unconnected mouse and keyboard she'd picked up from the rubbish bin. Behind her, her new PC has been connected, powered on and is sitting on her new desk that has her nameplate on)
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 13:29, 5 replies)
Cold calling in Spain
I have a pay as you go vodafone out here in Spain. I kept getting calls in spanish from Movistar (another operator) trying to flog me contracts.

I always reply with "Lo siento, no hablo espanol" Which means "Im sorry I dont speak Spanish" but does that stop them waffling on at me saying god knows what in gibberish? NO? Does that stop them calling me back? NO! Does that stop them calling me back? NO!

What did stop it is when i said "No quero contracto... Infact no sod this. Look I dont speak fucking spanish, I dont want a fucking shitty contract coz theyre wank out here.. FUCK OFF!"

And they did!! Ahh the international language of fuck off! love it!



*I can actually speak some spanish, but just didnt want to because spanish contract mobiles are absolute crap! No such thing as free minutes or free data. You just pay a line rental and get slightly cheaper calls.. whoopy do.

(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 13:23, Reply)
Newspaper firm
Few things get the bile going like work.

At the moment I'm working for a large local newspaper firm whose webadmin software is laughably poor, even to someone like me with no background in web mangling.

Their IT helpdesk is legendary for its complete lack of common sense, and covers almost every local newspaper in Britain. If the problem is dealt with by our diminishing team of IT staff here in the building then you know you're in good hands, but sadly the great majority of calls goes to head office.

This is where the problem starts. I should have known it'd be bad when I received my first call from our outsourced IT team.

One of my many many problems involved being unable to set news articles live on the website.

So three months later I finally get a call back from one of the dullest people I've ever had the misfortune to talk to.

Her: "Hi, I'm calling about your IT problem"

Me: "Which one? I've reported about five errors per day over the last three months?

Her: "It says here you're having trouble setting articles to . . . 'Liv' . . . ?

Me: " **sigh** I think you'll find it's pronounced 'LIVE', to rhyme with "HIVE, or St Ives"

Her: "No, it's pronounced 'liv'.

By now I'm actually banging my head on the desk.

Next day she calls again, this time it's a different problem, but AGAIN she royally fucks it up.

Her: "Hi, I see you're having problems accessing the . . .'arch-eyev'.

Me: "**sighs again** I know there's a 'ch' in it but it's pronounced arkive (archive)".

Her: "That's not what it says here."

Click.

I'm told she got the sack soon after.

But even after her departure I still get disturbing calls from our distant IT team.

One girl has a neat trick of just denying there's any problem, and asking so many pointless questions that eventually frustration takes over and you just tell them to forget it. They close the case, and their figures for solved cases suddenly looks rosier to the management.

If anyone else out there knows which company I'm talking about, or if you work there and have also had dealings with IT, please drop me a line. I'd love to hear your stories.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 13:03, 5 replies)
Not me but well worth mentioning
The subject of Cold Callers was brought up on another site I frequent (The one I usually link in my sig). The bloke who owns the site (Hi Wilson) came up with an idea of creating a points based system to amuse yourself during the calls. Heres an edited version of the original:

Below are listed a number of challenges for you to have a go at next time you get one of these calls. One word of advice though- make sure it’s a call you don’t want before you follow any of these suggestions. You wouldn’t believe the amount of trouble you’d get into for telling your girlfriends bank she’s dead…

Answer the first two questions normally. Then loudly sing a national anthem. It doesn’t have to be your own, and it’s even better if it’s in another language (the French version of “Oh! Canada” is quite effective).
(1 point for every verse you manage before they hang up.)

Answer the first question correctly, then make an animal noise when they ask you a second. Do this every alternate question until they give up. If they ask why you are making the noise, claim you don’t understand what they’re on about.
(1 point per animal)

If they’re foreign, answer the questions use the most complicated words with the most syllables you can think of. Alternately, insert random words into the answers. Dinosaur names are good here as there’s very little chance their English course will have covered them.
(1 point per question answered nonsensically)

Following the classic Two Ronnies Mastermind sketch, answer the question before the one they last asked.
(1 point per question before they give up)

Ask them if McDonalds wasn’t hiring when they went job hunting.
(2 points)

Ask them to hang on. Then tell them the number they want is 0845 6060 234.
(1 point)
Explaining when they ask that it’s the number for Job Centre direct.
(Bonus 1 point)
Saying you just thought they might want a job that doesn’t involve pissing people off in their own homes.
(Bonus 2 points)
(Extra 10 points if you make them swear, as they’re probably being recorded and will no doubt be sacked.)

If it’s someone trying to get you to allow them to send a sales rep round to your house (hello Kitchens Direct!), say you’ll agree if the caller can beat you at a game of I Spy.
(3 points. Bonus point for every time they actually guess)

If it’s some charity, and they ask if they can take a few minutes to talk to you about their cause, let them. Then ask them if you can take a few minutes to talk to them about our lord Jesus.
(1 point for every minute you can keep it up. 4 bonus points if you can convince them to make a donation to your church)

Tell them you’ll only answer the questions if they’ll tell you who they think would win in a knife fight between Portland Bill and Fireman Sam. If they answer, demand to know their reasoning.
(2 points. 4 if they give reasons)

If it’s a woman, answer the questions while lightly slapping any piece of exposed skin and grunting occasionally.
(1 point for every minute until she hangs up)

If they ask for you by name, tell them that person is dead. Pretend you don’t know it’s a sales call, then become angry when you “realise”. Accuse them of being disrespectful.
(4 points if you get a full apology. Bonus points for calling them “Jackals”)

If they ask if you’re the homeowner say no. If they ask if they’re available, explain they’re a bit tied up- literally. Explain you’re a burglar and ask if they could please hang up so you can nick the phone.
(3 points)

If they’re trying to get you to switch one of your utility bills, and ask how much you pay for it. Ask them to guess. Tell them it’s a number between 1 and 100.
(1 point for every guess)

If it’s double glazing, and they’re trying to quote you over the phone, go through the whole malarkey, then ask if they really think you’ll need this many windows for a caravan.
(3 points)
Ask their favourite colour. If they tell you, sound disappointed. Then carry on, but about 2 minutes later ask again. Then tell them sorry, but you can’t go on.
(1 point)

Knock on the table, tell them it’s someone at the door and ask tem to hang on. Walk a slight distance away then say ‘Oh it’s you. What do you want?’ Then scream loudly, but don’t hang up.
(2 points. bonus 4 if they call the police)
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 12:46, 4 replies)
I only lasted a day
in a small call centre in Perth, cold calling people to try and sell them charity raffle tickets.

This was the high spot of my very short career:

"Hi! This is... and we're calling to see if you want to buy some charity raffle tickets?"

*tiny voice* "hello? oh my, you're what dear?"

"We're selling raffle tickets for charity"

"Oh my goodness! You took me by surprise, my husband died last week, and I'm waiting to hear from my daughter".

"Oh no I'm sorry..."

"..and the thing is the roof has been leaking and it gets ever so cold, and I don't have a huge amount of money"

"Oh dear, look I'm sorry"

"But I'm sure I can find a bit of money for your cause..."

"Oh God, no, don't be silly I wouldn't dream.."

"NO dear, my husband left me a few dollars, and I know there are lots of people less fortunate than me"

"No honestly, I feel dreadful for calling, I"

"PSYCHE!!! HA HA HA"

*dial tone*
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 12:41, 1 reply)
Customer support
My friend Jim works in customer support and has a pathological hatred of Father Christmas impersonators. Every December he wants to cull Santas.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 12:05, 1 reply)
What's that smell?
I shouldn't really say anything about the company's goings on, lest you guess which company I speak of, but I must get this out.

People are fucking stupid.

I do believe the young chap was having a tiff at a superior over a written warning of some description, for later that afternoon, I recall seeing him not being a very happy chap, storming off into the kitchen, then returning not a minute later, then going straight for the front door. Odd.

On my next break an hour later, I wonder to the kitchen in search of the Vending Machine of Hope (thank you, vending machine lady, for stuffing up and allowing 6c Maggi 2-minute noodles to be mine). However, I notice that the kitchen no longer smells of mold and plastic, but smoke.

Frantically searching around, I find the sandwich press plugged in and left on. Inside was paper towel, that was smoldering.

Guess who wanted revenge?

:(

Turns out that the young chap, earlier that day, emptied the closest fire-extinguisher all over the carpet. Such a nice, well rounded boy.

Never saw him again. I hear he gets out in 6 months.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 12:03, Reply)
I called the National Circumcision Helpline
They were very helpful, but I did get cut off right at the end.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:59, 2 replies)
Vodafone
As a rule, I'm quite happy with Vodafone, I don't normally get cold-calls and when I do, I say I'm not interested, and they leave me in peace. However one woman must have needed a few more sales.

Me: Hello?
Vodafone Lady: Hello, I'm calling today to tell you we can save you some money on Vodafone Family.
(For those of you unfamiliar with this, you have four numbers you can call for free for a few quid a month)
Me: Oh right, well-
VL: I can see from your calling records that you call the number ending 123 the most, then 456, then 789 and then 012. Do you recognise these numbers.
Me: Yes the first is my husband, the third is my brother, and the fourth is my brother-in-law. I'm not sure about the second, but I really don't call my brother or brother in law that much, it's just my husband.
VL: Yes, but the records show you call the number ending 456 frequently.
Me: (suddenly clicks) Does that start 07264 by any chance?
VL: Yes it does.
Me: That's a Manx number, I very much doubt you will give me free calls on that.
VL: Well, as part of Vodafone Family the whole of the UK-
Me: No, I mean it's an Isle of Man number and they're not part of the UK.
VL: Oh, no we can't do it with that number.
Me: So there's not much point then, really.
VL: Well, with Vodafone Family, you can nominate these top four numbers-
Me: But one of them's a Manx number, which you've just said you can't put on that.
VL: But you can use the top four numbers you call...
Me: (Hits head on desk)

This went one for ages. I have cut it to spare you as it's already pretty boring. In the end I had to tell her no three times before I could get her off the phone. The last was a very patience-strained:
'I am not going to take this deal. Please go, before I end up putting the phone down.' before she finally got the message.

Length? 82 Miles from Liverpool.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:55, 2 replies)
hydroelectric lamps
Mr vitamin c and I used to live in west London, and had extortionate rent to pay for the privilege. We also had a ludicrous water bill one year. For a 1 bedroom flat, we got a bill of 600 quid for 6 months. Mr VitC was ready to pay it, but, being Scottish, and a student at the time, I got straight on the phone to Thames Water to query the bill.

The woman at the call centre was very helpful - she agreed that the bill was absurd, but told me that there was nothing they could do about it. As we didn't have a leak, or a dishwasher, I continued to press for a reason for the huge bill, and a reduction if possible.

The reason she gave me?
"Well, do you have any lamp posts outside your flat?"
Me "yes, there's one immediately out the front"
her "Yes, if you have a lampost nearby, that puts your water bill up. I'm sorry, it's company policy"

I had to hang up, so as to avoid giving the poor lady a torrent of abuse. And when I called back a wee while later, I got the bill reduced (they had us down as a 5 person household, rather than 2).

But I'm still not sure about the lamp posts - are they run by water power in west London (specifically Harrow Road area)?
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:48, 7 replies)
Painless end
If you're called or doorstepped by a kitchen/conservatory/windows/roof/drive company, the first question they'll ask is 'Are you the householder?' Say 'No, it's rented'. Sometimes they'll ask who the landlord is (just name a big firm), but often you don't even get the chance to say goodbye.

And nobody's feelings are hurt.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:36, 1 reply)
Not the brightest bulb
I ordered some bulbs for my mother as a birthday present, and made the mistake of getting them from the Telegraph gardening offers.
I was told to allow 28 days for delivery, so was a bit annoyed that they took 6 weeks to arrive, but never mind - just change the label on the box, and post it up to mum so it gets there by tomorrow.

Except that as I picked up the box to take it to the post office, I noticed it was dripping. Now, as most gardeners, in fact, most people, know - hyacinth and crocus bulbs are solid, not liquid. Dripping is not a charateristic I associate with either plant, to be honest. So, I opened the box, and found that 2 of the hyacinth bulbs were rotting to the point where one was actually liquified. I thought I should call the customer services folk, and see what they said.

Customer services woman "All right"
Me (bit taken aback by her greeting) "um, is this the Telegraph gardening customer services?"
CSW "yeah. what is it?"
Me "well, I ordered some bulbs from you, and they are rotten"
CSW "no you didn't"
Me "what do you mean I didn't?"
CSW (deep sigh) "what's your name then"
Me "vitamin C. order number 123456"
CSW "yeah, there's nothing wrong with your bulbs"
Me "yes there is. 2 of the 10 hyacinth bulbs you sent me have rotted"
CSW "no they haven't. You didn't order them from us"
Me "yes they have, and I did order them from you, so what sort of customer support can I expect on this matter?"
CSW "you'll have to call the newspaper direct, we only deal with crocus bulbs"
Me "may I speak with your manager please?"
CSW "OK, why don't you plant the bulbs, then call us if they don't grow?"

She then hung up on me.

Now, I know it's a petty problem, but what the fuck kind of training did she get, if she thought that was how to deal with a customer?!

(Incidentally, I did eventually get through to a manager following a further call, who offered me a refund for 2 bulbs, and suggested I plant them anyway and see what happens. I ended up getting a full refund for all 10 bulbs in the pack. thrilling conclusion, I know.)
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:23, 6 replies)
Scottish to Irish
When I worked in the motor trade my desk used to be located right next to the parts call centre so I got quite used to the constant ringing of phones and the shouting and moaning from the 15 guys that worked in there. Most of the blokes were quite old and came to work to do their job and that was it. There were one or two, however, that were in their twenties and spent a great deal of their time eating burgers, talking shit and pissing off customers on the phone.

They did a lot of things which I didn’t find particularly funny but one guy used to do something that cracked me up. His name was Nick and he was very good at accents. His trick was to pick up the phone and speak with a thick Scottish accent and then gradually move into an Irish accent, he used to do it so skilfully that the customer would rarely notice the change. By the end of the call the transformation would be complete and the customer would sound quite confused but would usually not be able to pinpoint exactly why.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:13, Reply)
Bomb the buggers
In the early 1990s I worked in a directory enquiry centre that was located in the northwest of England, in a town famed for its rail connections and heritage, even though we exclusively handled calls from London.

Aside from dealing with the lowlife scum that exclusively populate the capital, the job was OK, and made even more amusing when some tit tried to make a bomb threat to our building.

Remember, this was before the public was familiar with their calls being answered in faraway places, so the numbnuts who made the threats were invariably convinced that you were in their local exchange and got most miffed when you pointed out that you were 150 fucking miles away from whatever piss-fragranced phone box they were in. Nonetheless, we too had a bomb threat form to fill in and report, but our procedure was to not evacuate the building because you could be walking towards the bomb - never mind that the fucking building could fall down around our ears.

Our other entertainments came from the sheer stupidity of some of the callers and their requests.

Some of my colleagues in other sites collected their favourite enquiries and sent them out in newsletters. Among the ones I remember are:

Punter: “Argoed Fish Bar, Cardiff, please.”
Operator: “I have nothing for the Argoed Fish Bar, could it be under another name?”
Punter: “Well it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar until the B fell off the sign.”

Punter: “I’m flying to Germany, could I have the flight enquiry number for Luftwaffe please?"
Operator: “I think you might mean Lufthansa?”
Punter: (click)

Punter: "I want a number for (company name) in Woven, please."
Operator: "I don't have any record of a place called Woven, where is it near?"
Punter: "All I know is it's in Scotland. The label on my sweater says 'Woven in Scotland'"
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:13, 2 replies)
How to call call centres:
Howaya,

1 - Greeting

I have to greet you - you simply should greet me as this is how adults communicate. Please do

not begin the conversation with account numbers, serial numbers, a tirade of issues, your ire

at the last clown you spoke to or the amount of telephone numbers you have already called to

no avail. All of this can be discussed in due course.


2 - The issue/the problem/the matter at hand

Spare me the details of the preceding events leading up to this moment. They can also be

discussed in due course. Please get to the point quickly, have the relevant information to

hand such as account numbers, serial numbers etc and put some thought into exactly why you are

calling me.


3 - Procedure

I am bound by procedure. If I am asking you to send me a fax, email, call another number, wait

24 hours, call me back the details of your account, device, product etc, it is because I have

to. The people who pay me at the end of every month assure me this is for your own

security/protection.

If you wish to escalate, please do. Generally, there are armies of middle-management zealots around all too keen to spin you a line, promise you the world, lie through their teeth, kiss your arse and get a sum total of NOTHING done. Enjoy!


4 - Questions

Listen to the questions I am asking you and answer them only. I know what I am doing and will

ask you for the rest when I need it. I am a desk jockey tied to a phone and a computer which

dictates when it needs to be fed each course. Don't blame me. Blame Bill Gates.


5 - Patience

There are Byzantine levels of bureaucracy put in place to make this as difficult for you as

possible. I didn't put them there. I'm just trying to earn a crust here. If I had any ambition

or desire for autonomy, surely I wouldn't be working here?


However, I do have the tools to solve your problem.

All I require from you is a modicum of courtesy and competence.

thanks
rafter
baz


*awaits tirade of contradiction or total ambivalence*
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 11:05, 3 replies)
Some calls we'd taken plus the patented "Bomb Form"
Asking for a post code from an old biddy ie "May I take your post code please?" resulted in the reply "Why? I've had it for years. You can't have it." We had to convince her for us to borrow it, then tell her that we have given it back at the end of the call. Stupid old twat.

One of the first calls I'd taken in the office was a grumpy old twat who was shouting at everything. I managed to calm him down but he was still not quite following what I was saying, then he suddenly dropped his phone mid-sentence and screamed "FUCK ME, MY SAUSAGES ARE BURNING!!!!!" before legging it out to the kitchen. Don't waste a good packet of Walls on my behalf mate.

One bloke thought it'd be a good laugh to call technical support while taking the cordless phone into the toilet with him, so I could listen to him taking a piss. Nice. I did actually say "No offense mate but I genuinely don't want to listen to you taking a piss, can you put the phone outside the bathroom please?" Fair dos, he must've pinched the end of his cock for a few seconds as he apologized and followed me instructions.

I work for a large company, so when some bloke pretending to have an irish accent called up stating that there was a bomb in the building, I couldn't help but laugh. The guy who took the call shit himself, and it took 50 minutes for the managers to evacuate the building. Just as well it was a hoax; we'd be all blown up to fuck. By the way cheers to the cunt who rung up, it was pissing down that night and about a hundred of us were all huddled into a carpark for an hour late one winter's night suffering from frostbite due to that call.

We've actually got a "Bomb Form" we have to follow for when this happens; can you imagine this?
"You, there's a bomb in the building!!!!"
"Ah ok, I'm just opening the relevant form now. Yes, there it is. Can I take your name please?"
"There's a fucking bomb in your building!!!!"
"...and what does this bomb look like sir?"
"What the fuck???"
"Is it in our Swansea office, or one of the others?"
"....I don't know..."
Who the fuck would want to bomb a callcentre anyway? Except an ex-employee I suppose :p
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 10:53, 2 replies)
Stilts
When I were a young man I got an early call one hungover morning from a sales type flogging conservatories. I led them on for five minutes before letting slip that we lived in a third floor flat.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 10:10, Reply)
I have just called my GP and was put on hold
and spent about 2 mins listening to "Hooked on Classics" but it sounded like being on hold involved them holding the phone near an old record player with a knackered stylus near an open window facing a busy road.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 8:50, Reply)
Fed up with cold callers?
Simply answer every phone call by screaming for at least 30 seconds. Your family and friends will soon get used to this, but unsolicited callers will hang up in terror.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 7:44, 2 replies)
More QA
As i mentioned before, we recorded all our calls. Some funny ones..

Sales rep calling to speak to a woman, gets her sister. Goes into detail about himself, how he works out all the time etc. Asks her what she does, she is a hair dresser. Becomes a bit scarey now, demanding that she do his hair for him, but it has to look all sexy messy. reminds her that he has her address in front of him. Fired.

Sales rep going into a massive rant about how much he hated the company. he had worked there 3 years, yet continually refered to the company by the wrong name.

Sales rep calling his girlfriend right after a sale but not logging the call, so the call kept recording. Discovered that he had his own personal incentive with his girlfriend, he had just made enough sales for anal. Needed 10 more that day for a threesome. (i considered fudging his numbers for him that day bless him.)

My all time favorite. The gentleman that called us to ask about a credit card. it wasnt a cold call, he called us. he gave a few details then begain blowing a whistle down the line, screaming abuse at the rep on the phone, abusing him, his mother, anything he could think of, and blowing that whistle over and over. the rep let him finish. when he was done, he continued with the sale as if nothing had happened, and signed the gentleman up for a fairly good introductory rate on his new card.

Good times.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 2:21, 1 reply)
Quality Assurance
there were always some gems from people that were desperate for sales. but in the place i worked, i had a stint team leading the quality assurance team. we listened to sales calls all day (big call centre, i had a team of about 20 people) when they found dodgy sales, my job was to alert the offenders TL, and then call the customer back to go over the actual offer, rather than what they had been offered.

we didnt lose that many sales to be honest, most people were happy that someone was looking out for them. It always surprises people when they find out that just sometimes there is a reputable call centre. We recorded every call made.

My favorite was busting someone taking credit card numbers and the validation codes from the back. they had a list of about 8 in a notebook. she was making some borderline sales, so i listened to some of her no sale calls. in the no sales she was gathering these details. she had no need at all. she would get the details, say there was a system fault, and offer to call back. she was then calling the customer back and selling properly, so the sale sounded ok. (seperate recordings). THe TL was a worthless piece of crap who flat out refused to fire her top seller, as the sales were fine. I took this straight to the centre manager, who pretty much straight away called the police, and she was arrested! got the TL fired as well. nice.

I then had to call back the customers whose credit card numbers had been stolen, and tell them to contact the bank etc. That part wasnt fun at all.
(, Wed 9 Sep 2009, 2:12, 2 replies)
Moose. No, really.
So here I am, sometime in the spring of 1994, working at an 'answering service'. Basically what this place was in those cro-Magnon ur-Internet days was the telephonic equivalent of a call girl; we'd do anything, we just had to negotiate the price.

Some highlights of this job from Purgatory:
1) The night some nice lady ordering gospel music CDs from us (on a toll-free number) asked if we were a 'Christian answering service'. Staff that night was three eclectic Wiccans and a virulent athiest. Did manage to keep a straight face on that one.
2) The times we lied to people about their cable coming back on. See, at this time it was illegal for a cable television company to outsource their night dispatch -- but this one did anyway. We had no way to get them service and no one who cared, so for our own self-preservation we'd make stuff up. 'Yes, sir, your Nashville Network is out because terrorists blew up a satellite'.
3) The time a certain cell phone company (rhymes with Smellular Bun) had their main tower go down -- during the weekend of the Indianapolis 500. (Did I mention this was in Indianapolis, in the US? A brief explanation follows*.) We were slammed with calls, and these were people who had an elevated sense of their own importance. I managed to keep my cool until some asshat asked me 'Do you mean that this phone I pay XXXX for is useless?' To which I responded, 'Sir, what you have there is a two-hundred-dollar paperweight'. Then hung up. (Didn't get in trouble for that one.)
4) But the best of all -- picture it if you will. I'm working 10pm-6am with a new baby at home. The then-Mrs Jack is working 8am-5pm. I get MAYBE five hours of sleep a night (day) before the baby wakes up.
So...5:55am. Woman calls in to one of our clients, an animal removal service. (You know, if you have a hedgehog in the kitchen or a skunk under the porch.) She's SCREAMING. Finally I get her calmed down enough for her to tell me, "There's a flying squirrel in my bedroom!"
And without thinking, I respond from the depths of my fatigue, "Is there a moose in there with him?" I did get in trouble for that one.

*The Indianapolis 500: 200,000 drunk people and 50,000 corporate slime monkeys watch forty or so people drive very fast in a circle until someone has driven 500 miles. Or there's a spectacular, fiery crash.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 23:51, Reply)
Probably been raised already...
...but I hate those fucking automated recording ones. Oh yes.

I mean, the point of call centres is to sell something at a profit over the phone with the minimum of effort, more accurately the minimum cost to those profiting in any meaningful sense from the sales. That's galling enough as practices go, but on that score the automated ones just take the piss.

They have one advantage, however. You can say what you like to them without at best offending or at worst expecting a subsequent visit from the Police. The satisfaction almost makes up for the insult.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 23:24, 1 reply)
Post Office home phone
Not wanting to bore anyone with the details, I have had cause to ring the customer service line of the above on several occassions including one time when I was accidentally transferred from the call centre to the security guard at the buildings front desk. Strangely he was one of the more helpful people there.

Length? It's what you do with it that counts.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 23:21, Reply)
I am a customer service personage for a well-known company.
In reality, I work in a glass fish-tank office that is separated from a call centre, two floors thereof. The call centre types come to us with questions, things they can't respond to themselves and bring us escalated calls. We don't have headsets, because we don't take calls constantly, and we're not monitored the way the call centre types are. However, as much as I love my job and the way it allows me to have money for shiny things, I deal with customers enough to know what I don't like:

- Do not assume that because I'm struggling for a word in French (probably because I'm reading what I want to say off the screen in English and am trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to translate it ad hoc) that I would prefer to continue the conversation in English. In reality, this irritates me more than you can possibly imagine, since the point of my job is to be able to communicate with you in French. It simply means I am having a Bad French Day and normal service will be resumed shortly and perhaps with smaller words than it would otherwise be conducted.

- Please do not tell me that the suitcase that you have mislaid mostly consists of your dirty underwear. I didn't need to know that, least of all after I've had to escalate you to my boss.

- Please do not email me after I've resolved your claim for you wanting to 'put a face to the voice on the phone' and request to add me on Facebook. Mostly because I will not know how to respond, and so not do it.

- It is not my fault if the system that I currently need to access has a planned outage on the day that you call and there is no workaround in place for it. You do not need to shout at me for this and ask to be escalated to my manager, because he will tell you the exact same thing.

- Do not tell me "I pay your salary, young lady!". Because you don't.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 22:56, 4 replies)
I hate my bank.
Car insurance quote with HSBC (I can hear you laughing already). Firstly, I'm cold called by a guy who tried to get me to upgrade my account (IE: Pay them to earn interest on my money. Ha!) and then offered car insurance. After being transferred through numerous people, the following conversation ensues:


HSBC: Hello there ElectricMonk, I understand you're looking for a car insurance quote.
Me: Certainly am.
HSBC: Why don't you do it online? You'll get a discount.

This seems a little odd, as I always thought the extra amount of money taken away by the discount paid for call centre staff.

Me: Some dude cold called me then put me through to you.
HSBC: OK, so, when does your current insurance expire?
Me: End of December.
HSBC: I'm sorry, but I can only put in a date from today to 30 days' time into the computer.

Again, strangeness. Online quotes allow you to enter a start date of more than 30 months into the future.

Me: Oh, well, let's just say tomorrow then. It's only a quote, after all.
HSBC: Why would you want to your policy to start tomorrow when you already have insurance?
Me: I don't, this us just a quote, and if it's really good I'll go with you instead.
HSBC: But that could incur cancellation fees from your other insurance company.
Me: Let's just pretend I'm a rich eccentric, then.
HSBC: But why would you want to pay cancellation fees?
Me: I might not have to.
HSBC: Yes you are.
Me: Err, thanks. Can I have a quote now?
HSBC: No.


The moral of this story: Screeching harridans that live within my telephone are employed by HSBC to sell me stuff and then refuse to.
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 22:46, 4 replies)
In the call centre I work in...
We've just got cordless headsets.

I feel like fucking Madonna.

Signed.

Guy Ritchie
(, Tue 8 Sep 2009, 22:13, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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