Does It Feel Like Customer Service Doesn’t Care? It Should.

You don’t need to speak louder. I still won’t pay attention

NOW WITH RECORDING! That’s right folks! Feeling lazy? Just push play at the bottom of the post! 

I am sure everyone has dealt with customer service at some point in the last week (or maybe on a daily basis). If you are calling, chances are you are not speaking with someone that resides in the same region as you or even the same country.

That isn’t what my problem is. I don’t have a problem with someone answering my calls located in India. It sucks that on some level when you get someone with an accent unlike yours, your buttcheeks clench because you know how the call is going to go. You’re going to have to repeat yourself, they’re going to have to repeat themselves… It’s a clusterfuck of confusion.

Still not my issue. I actually consider myself to be VERY level headed when speaking to someone on the phone because I have been in that position before. Sadly, here is the truth. I am going to slide back into my former self and give you some unfortunate news in bulleted format.

Here are some reasons why customer service calls NEVER go the way you actually want them to. Some of these are strictly meant to explain cable (as that is my area of expertise).

1. The Previous Call – DUMBFACE McASSHOLESON
Regardless of what you think, you are not the first call this person has taken today, nor will you be the last. You may be a completely kind and generous person calling because you have a VALID reason to call, but that is not the case of every caller. When I worked for Shady Cable, the majority of my calls were incredibly abusive.

The calls that follow are then tainted. The representative begins every call with the assumption that there will be screaming, profanity, and blame placed on their shoulders. I don’t even mean the company’s shoulders. I mean that the person the customer has reached is Damian fucking Thorn (that’s an Omen reference for the kiddos).

I cannot tell you how many times I had been told “YOU ARE HORRIBLE AND ARE RUINING MY LIFE!” It would always flabbergast me that a complete stranger thought that they mattered enough for me to RUIN their lives by preventing them from watching reruns of Pyramid on GSN.

2. Personal Lives – ONLY HUMAN!
As much as every place you work at tells you to leave your personal lives at the door, life can hit you with unexpected twists and turns. If you have no ability to act like nothing is wrong, when you’re upset, your tone changes. Even if you are a good actor, if people call and scream at you it does get to you. I spent many an evening contemplating drawing a hot bath, sliding in, then pulling in my DVR and electrocuting myself.

3. This Is Not The Apocalypse – OUTAGES
If service isn’t working and someone depends on cable services to enrich their daily lives there is an extreme sense of entitlement.

Let me clarify. Cable services are considered entertainment and NOT a utility. Utilities are things like electricity, heat, water, phone. THOSE have priorities. If a telephone pole goes down and the cable and phone are knocked out, electric lines have priority. Following their repairs is telephone. The cable company is not allowed to work on their lines before the telephone company UNLESS the subscribers in the area have VOIP (voice over internet protocol – that is phone through cable lines). Nowadays, most people have at least one cell phone in their homes, so it is still not a priority.

A call center rep cannot say “I’m sorry you can’t watch Dr. Phil to prove to yourself that you’re more of a winner than someone else.”

Oh and for those of you reading this and going “I run my business from my home”, DO NOT mention this if you are calling a cable company. They will then say “You are paying for cable on a personal level. You should not be running a business from that. I can connect you with our Business Sales Department if you would like.” As a customer service rep, I was ELATED when I got these calls because it left the petty bitch in me with a humongous smile on my face. Fuck you. You were mean to me. You’re going to have to pay three times what you’re paying now. Ha… ha ha… ha ha ha.

The amount of money that someone is being paid in these positions is downright fucking pitiful. When I started, they offered me $10.50 an hour (in 2005). Coming from a video store where I was making $8.50/hr as an Assistant Manager, I was all “Fuck YEAH! LET’S DO THIS!”

Little did my naive mind know the amount of screaming my brain would have to endure. This “Psyche Warfare” (I’m gonna go ahead and pat myself on the back for that. I deserve it.) was only assuaged by copious amounts of alcohol. I would even try to feed my sadness at Denny’s, as my shift ended. So not only was I miserable, I was miserable WITH DIARRHEA!

5. I Understand Your Frustration – I’M NOT PAID TO CARE!
When you work at a call center, you are taken off of the phones for about fifteen minutes a month for something they call “QA”, but I call “Let me spend fifteen minutes telling you why the company thinks you are useless.” Think back to your last company review. Take that and multiply it by 12 and condense all of the hate. Your yearly review was far easier to endure than the monthly “Quality Assurance” meetings that I was required to suffer through.

“Quality Assurance” doesn’t mean what you think it does. “Quality Assurance” to Shady Cable has nothing to do with the quality of service that the customers receive from the representative. They focus on the amount of time you spend on a call, the amount of time following a call that you are unavailable to take another call, and your ability to upsell.

The amount of time I was supposed to spend on a call was around five minutes. They wanted me to verify customer identity, verify their services, then take care of whatever issues they were calling about, try to sell them something new and get the customer to release the call (because we were NEVER allowed to disconnect a call). Obviously from the length of this post, I like to use words. I typically enjoy talking to people. I really do. If they’re not total assfaces, that is.

The idle time following a call is meant to record in the customer account what it is you discussed, what the issue was, whether or not it was resolved with you, and if it was not what resolution is to follow and what steps you have taken to remedy the issue.

They liked to call the ability to upsell “bonuses” in which if you reached sales quotas that were determined by your shift, you got a little bit of extra in your paycheck that was taxed heavily. However, the sales department were the ones to get the majority of the sales as THAT WAS WHY THE CUSTOMER PUSHED THE BUTTON FOR SALES. When someone is pissed off that there is an outage, I’m pretty sure that they don’t want you to talk about the wonder of the premium channels. “Oh hey, you can’t see anything on your TV right now except for ‘NO SIGNAL FUCKWAD’? Let me tell you about Six Feet Under. A family with a funeral home! … … I can hear you flipping me off right now.”

Then you got the overwhelming joy of listening to a random call you had taken throughout the month – EVEN THOUGH you were the one speaking. They then tear down everything that you had done, have you sign a piece of paper in blood that you were aware of your shortcomings and send you back to take more calls.

Taking calls is boring. When you work 8 hours and field 90+ calls a day, you need something to take your mind off of the hum drum. Or, you had just had the call from hell and wanted to confuse the hell out of someone.

There was this guy in a cubicle near me who would take every call in a different accent. It was endlessly entertaining. His goal was to not break the accent, but if he ever did and the person on the other end of the line called him on it, he would snap at them in a completely different accent. Shortly thereafter, the call would end. I’m pretty sure the customer turned to their significant other and said “We need to find a new company. I’m pretty sure the dude I just spoke with is insane. We can’t have cable from psychopaths.”

I was contemplating sharing stories of fuckery with you in this post, but as it is ridiculously long I will post a few when I have time. The names will be changed so as to not get my ass sued.

Also, I will not tell you what cable company I worked for, as I really don’t want to poke the bear.


Read 18 comments

  1. Thank you for posting. Your post is very important to me. Please hold while I generate the appropriate amount of enthusiasm to express how much I appreciate this post.

    Seriously. I work in a call center, although I am happy to say I am no longer one of the unlucky who actually answer the phones. If everyone could experience “bad” customer service from both ends of the phone at least once in their lives… well, that would be quite enlightening, I think.

    Rock on.

  2. wow…if I ever talked with you and got nasty I apologize…but I only remember getting really pissy with one “satelite company” a few years back and the 16th rep in 3 hours hung up on me…then I got pissed…I can only imagine the “psyche warfare” (love that phrase by the way)…have a great one and look forward to more stories.

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  4. Liebe Petra,wow, da spricht auf jeden Fall eine Menge neue Energie heraus. Schade, dass Du das was abfällt nicht verheizen kannst.;)Ich drücke Dir die Daumen für die laufenden Bewerbung! Dass Amanda nun versinkt, finde ich allerdings schade.Liebe Grüße,NikolaP.S. Du jetzt auch – diese schreckliche Roboter-Prüfung? Bitte nicht!

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