‘Is There Anything Else I Can Help You With?’ Call Centres, and Christmas on Minimum Wage

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5 Responses

  1. daniel says:

    I am currently working a call centre and did the phrase “We were a living, breathing capitalist machine at the beck and call of the customers as they relentlessly demanded more and more.” struck. Boy, did it really.
    I’m usually very overwhelmed by callers who, no matter how aggravated, frustrated, and deceived they are, manage to really empathize with your situation, acknowledging that on most cases you actually do empathize with theirs, and it really moves me. As you say, we are nonetheless equally powerless to provide actual solutions, but… the human touch really matters on both ends.
    Thanks, I regularly follow and am touched by articles on TSP, but this one really resonated with me during this seasons.

    Have a great time this upcoming holidays.

    • George Byrne says:

      Thank you very much for your comment, it means a lot to me that this resonated with you so profoundly. Good luck at work, I really hope you get through Christmas with no escalations – just lovely customers who recognise that you are human!

  2. M. says:

    I worked at a call center as technical support for an internet company. As far as the company is concerned, it was probably one of the better ones. They let us use the restroom when we needed and we could eat snacks at our desk. The work was horrible. I was either talking to someone who didn’t know anything about the product or to someone who was just angry and wanted us to magically fix everything. Blind troubleshooting is terrible and trying to troubleshoot with someone who wants to be angry and yell at you is way worse. I once had someone flip out on me because she couldn’t meet all the criteria for a new password on her email. I also had a few people break down in tears because, no matter how simply I explained it, they couldn’t figure out what I was asking. 2/3rds of the job was just trying to calm the caller down and trying to explain what a router was. People who call tech support are usually already frustrated. It didn’t matter that my surroundings were like a call center heaven, dealing with angry people all day got to me.

    It’s horrible how abusive call centers and customers can be. It seems like there’s something deeply wrong with society and this is one of the symptoms. I try to avoid call centers. When I do call, I try to make it quick and painless – have all the order numbers and such I need and thank them. It’s hard sometimes when the person on the other end can’t do anything.

    • George Byrne says:

      I can relate to what you are saying so much. Often when the customer gets through to you they are so incensed that it is really hard to calm them down, as much as you try. They are just part of the capitalist machine – as you say it is a symptom of a greater ill in our society. When I have to phone a call centre now I try very hard to be patient and calm but it is very difficult sometimes. It takes a lot of self control and patience! Merry Christmas and thank you very much for reading and commenting. Jo

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