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There’s Always Room For Improvement!

, , , , | Working | December 21, 2021

After college, I take a job at a customer service call centre. Due to a mistake on the job’s part, I get very minimal training. Still, I’m doing well and I’m the first to “move up from the class” into “the line”, with actual live customers. I’m not saying I’m amazing, but I handle more calls and emails than the average worker.

After a year, it’s time for my review.

Teamleader: “I see you process a lot of calls and work, but the calls and emails I reviewed are barely passing score. Please, slow down and take more time. Because of this, I can only give you the legally required raise.”

I’m fine with the review and take the feedback to heart. I slow down, but no matter how slow I try to go, I still get high scores. I triple-check my emails, so they go out almost flawlessly. It’s time for my review again.

Teamleader: “You are a really hard worker, but the calls I listened to and the emails I reviewed are barely passing. Please, consult a senior more often.”

I think it’s odd, but perhaps they are right and I’m just not as great as I think. I am aiming for a senior position, so if I want to get there, I’d better give my best!

In the third year, I feel things are going great! The teamleaders even hook up newer employees to my line so I can help them improve. I give them advice, answer questions, and double-check their emails if they ask me to. Technically, I’m doing a senior’s work! So, this must mean I’ve improved, right? Not only that, but one of “my students” makes it to teamleader and becomes my new teamleader!

One day, the CEOs, big hot-shots (yes, with that attitude; we aren’t even allowed to talk to them or be in the same space!) come by and they get a presentation of how things roll. The walls are thin and I can peek through a small window. Suddenly, I hear a recording and a familiar voice… my voice! They are listening to one of my calls and I see the slide saying something like “Exemplary Customer Service”. This fills me with pride, and just because I want to hear my teamleader’s praise, I ask her about it the next day.

Teamleader: “Of course we listened to your recording; your customer service is top-notch!”

And when the annual review comes by:

Teamleader: “You are really a hard worker and you’ve done so well… but all the calls and emails I reviewed were so-so. I even took one extra, thinking it might have been an unlucky pick, but you get a barely passing grade.”

Me: “Really? And how can I improve?”

Teamleader: “Well, eh… you should check more often with a senior…”

Me: “You mean with [Senior]?”

Teamleader: “Yes, yes!”

Me: “You mean [Senior], the one I was asked to train for the job? The one who comes to me for advice at least twice his shift?”

Teamleader: “Eh, yeah… anyway, your emails…”

Me: “You know I check emails for the new employees, right? Surely, if I could be trusted with that…”

Teamleader: “Yeah, well, all your calls and emails were barely passing. You will get the legal raise and that’s final.”

It was at that moment that I realized that they never intended to give me a raise higher than the legal amount. I was allowed to do senior work but not get the compensation. 

I wanted to consider looking for another job, but a few weeks later, I was asked to help in a different department. This lead to a better-paying job in that department, with more stable hours, so I was fine with that. There was still plenty wrong with that job, but that’s another story.

They Sound As Qualified As The Person Who Cuts Government Checks

, , , , , | Right | December 21, 2021

I work at a call center for a local government. I am taking down an application for services. One of the questions asks if your income is more than a certain amount. I already asked the question and the customer agrees she makes more than the standard amount.

Me: “Okay, so your application has been submitted, and if you qualify for expedited services, you will receive a call within three days.”

Customer: “What makes me eligible for expedited services?”

Me: “Well, the first thing they look at is income less than $150.”

Customer: “Oh! I make that, so I qualify!”

Me: “Well, unfortunately, no. You make above that.”

Customer: “What? No! You’re wrong.”

Me: “You make $800 a month, which is higher than the qualifying amount of $150.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t know the exact amount. I’ll get you the exact amount if you need it.”

Me: “My system shows about $800. Does it go below that?”

Customer: “Well, between $750 and $800.”

Me: “Again, that’s more than $150.”

Customer: “No, it’s not. You’re incorrect.”

This goes on for a bit with her telling me that $150 times twelve is about $12,000 and that’s more than $800 a month and me trying to explain that we are looking at the monthly amount of each.

Me: “You know what? I may be wrong, and you might be right. $800 is probably less than $150. So, after your application is reviewed, they will determine that for you.”

Customer: *Hesitantly* “Okay.” *Hangs up*

Expecting Both Telepathy AND Time Travel

, , , , | Right | December 16, 2021

Caller: *Irate* “I received this letter from [Collection Agency]. Why is that? I paid my bill!”

Me: “Let me see… I see the payment for [previous month] has not been received.”

Caller: “I did pay it! I paid it [twenty days too late]. I always pay at the end of the month!”

Me: “When did you exactly pay?”

Caller: “[Date].”

Me: “I see that payment, but it seems it’s been processed for [current month].”

Caller: “That is wrong; it was supposed to be for [previous month]. How could you mess that up?! I paid in time!”

Me: “I see you used your customer account to pay it.”

Caller: “I did. I used the link you guys generated, so this is not my mistake.”

Me: “Did you perhaps use the link for [current month], instead of [previous month]?”

I can see which month she clicked; I’m just trying to be kind.

Caller: “So? You guys should process the money with the oldest bill anyway.”

Me: “Miss, if you use that link, we clearly state which month the money will be processed with. This is an automatic process.”

Caller: “But you guys can see which month is unpaid. You should use the money for that month!”

Me: “Both months were unpaid at that moment. If you use [link A], we have to assume you want to pay [bill A].”

Caller: “Well, you guys should have checked! I just misclicked; you should know I meant the previous month.”

Me: “I’m sorry, miss, but it’s impossible to check with every client if they intended to pay the bill they clicked the link for. Let me patch you through to the collections agency; maybe they can help you.”

Caller: “But you should have known I meant [previous month]!”

I tried, but I still can’t mind-read.

This Caller Is A Real Tour De Force

, , , | Right | December 15, 2021

A customer is inquiring about information regarding a tour he purchased.

Me: “This is the customer sales hotline. For information regarding your tour, you are going to need to contact the tour operator. The number has been printed on your ticket.”

Customer: “Why can’t you just answer my question?”

Me: “Again, I deal with customer sales issues, such as refunds, cancellations, exchanges, or complaints about a tour you went on.”

Customer: “But I asked you! You’re just lazy and don’t want to help. Fast to take my money but reluctant to help me with my purchase.”

Me: “You are asking the wrong people. I deal with sales. I can’t give you answers I don’t have.”

Customer: “You don’t know anything about what you’re selling? Then why the h*** did they hire you?”

Me: “Sir, we have over 30,000 different events and tours worldwide sold through our portal. No, I don’t know anything about the specifics of the tours; it is the job of the tour operator to answer those sorts of questions — the number of whom we have printed on your ticket! I’m here to help customers who encounter problems with their purchase.”

Customer: “Absolutely useless. Fast to take my money but unwilling to help me at all! I hope they fire your a**!”

Me: “The tour operator isn’t the one supervising my position, but I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to answer your questions. If you have any problems regarding your ticket itself, you are welcome to call the sales department and I will gladly answer each and every one of your questions. Have a great day!” *Click*

It’s almost like yelling at the cleaning crew in a restaurant for not knowing the ingredients to a dish.

It’s “A” Problem

, , , , , | Right | December 15, 2021

I’ve worked in a few call centres, and I’m well used to people outside of Scotland occasionally struggling with my accent — even when I make an effort to slow down and speak clearly — so if I’m giving out address information and postcodes, I always use the phonetic alphabet to avoid confusion. This usually works.

Me: “Okay, the postcode is A for Alpha, B for Bravo…”

Caller: “Wait, wait, wait, the postcode starts with Alpha? How do you spell that?”

Me: “Oh, sorry, I’m using the phonetic alphabet so it’s clear what Ietter I’m saying. I don’t literally want you to write ‘Alpha.'”

Caller: “Well, please stop it; it’s confusing me.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I’ll just say the letters and numbers as they should appear now. That’s AB1, 2CD—”

Caller: “What was that first character?”

Me: “A.”

Caller: “Can you spell that?”

Me: “Umm, no. I don’t think I can.”