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Badly Accented Attitudes

, , , , , | Right | May 2, 2022

I worked at a call center while going to community college. It was common for any representative to have to deal with people insisting we were located in some random foreign location and then lecture us for outsourcing and lying about where we were located. I got a few more of these than most as I “sounded foreign,” and these calls could really hurt our metrics for time spent on a call and thus our bonuses.

Thus, I ended up deciding I would try a new strategy for handling these sorts of calls the next time I got one.

Customer: “Where are you from, China?”

Me: “No, sir, this call center is located in Maryland.”

Customer: “There is no way you’re from the USA! Don’t lie to me.”

Me: “I assure you, I live in [Town] in Maryland. I may not sound it due to my having a mild speech impediment linked to my ADD. I apologize if my disability inconveniences you at all, but I promise I’ll still be able to assist you.”

Customer: “Oh, umm… sorry, I…”

Me: “Now, as I was saying, I still need to verify your identity to help you. Could I ask you to please verify your social security number?”

The customer, now sounding apologetic, meekly gave me his information and allowed me to quickly finish the call with him. In fact, it worked so well that I started using this as my standard reply to all such calls. At least three-quarters of the time, it would work to end any debate about what country I was from and let me move on with the call. 

Sadly, I still got plenty that just transitioned to asking why they let someone who couldn’t speak do a job on the phone, despite the fact that they didn’t actually have any trouble understanding me. But I suppose some people are going to find a reason to complain no matter what.

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