Totally Estúpido! Part 5

, , , , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(I work at a call center for a popular vacation company. I am trained to take calls from guests and travel agents in English. Even though I have an obviously Spanish name — which I have to say in full when answering calls — and can speak Spanish pretty well, I don’t feel confident enough to take Spanish calls. Once I am done training, I request to not have Spanish calls come to me. The company is happy to oblige and removes my phone from that list.)

Me: *in English* “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [Obviously Spanish Name]. How may I help you?”

Travel Agent: *in English with heavy Spanish accent* “Oh, you speak Spanish! Perfect! I was wondering if you could…” *trails off into Spanish*

Me: *still in English* “I’m happy to help you; however, please know that I am not trained in Spanish and may need you to repeat yourself in English if I don’t understand something.”

Travel Agent: *back to English* “Oh, that’s okay. I’ll speak to you in English, then. So, my client needs…” *trails off into Spanish again…*

Me: *English* “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. Would you mind saying it in English? Or I can transfer you to our Spanish desk, and they’ll be happy to help you.”

Travel Agent: *English* “I’m so sorry. Okay, I’ll try in English. The customer needs to know when…” *trails off into Spanish… AGAIN*

Me: *English* “Ma’am, I’m more than happy to transfer you to our Spanish desk if it’s easier for you to communicate that way. It’s really no trouble at all. They’re very quick to pick up, since we don’t get many Spanish calls.”

Travel Agent: *in Spanish* “But you speak Spanish, right? You have a Spanish name. So why don’t you speak in Spanish to me?”

Me: *English* “Because I wasn’t trained to take calls in Spanish. Some terminology used in [Our Industry] are unknown to me, so I wouldn’t know how to explain something if I needed to.”

Travel Agent: *Spanish* “This is ridiculous. You should speak Spanish to me if you have a Spanish name. How can you not speak Spanish?”

Me: *English* “I do speak Spanish, but my [Industry] vocabulary is limited, and I’d hate to say something incorrectly. As I stated before, I’m more than happy to get you someone from our Spanish desk. I’ll even gladly stay on the line with you until someone comes on. Would you like me to do that?”

Travel Agent: *Spanish* “No. I want you to speak to me in Spanish. Why are you not speaking to me in Spanish? Aren’t you required to speak Spanish?”

Me: *English* “It’s not my job here to speak in Spanish. So, no, I am not required to speak to you in Spanish. As you wish to continue speaking in Spanish, I will transfer you now to the Spanish desk. Thank you and have a pleasant day.”

(After I transferred the call, I got my Q&A evaluation with a zero score because I said it was “not my job here to speak in Spanish,” even though they knew I was not on the Spanish desk. Needless to say, I fought to get reevaluated by my direct supervisor and the Q&A management. The score was removed, and I asked to be allowed to use my English, no-trace-of-Spanish-in-sight nickname for the duration of my time with the company. They approved that request without resistance!)

Related:
Totally Estupido, Part 4
Totally Estupido, Part 3
Totally Estupido, Part 2

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