behavior, call center, common sense, disrespect, etiquette, life lessons, manners, workplace

I Don’t Know What’s Wrong with These Kids!

My sister, who is in her late twenties just had a three day weekend off of work. Now it’s not because it’s something she planned or she had vacation days, it’s not even because she was sick. She just felt like it. She took off Friday, okay, one day is not a big deal. But since her job gives you one paid sick day for every two you take, she decided to make a ‘Buy One Get Two Free’ thing out of it. The bad thing about it is that she’s a member of management and her shift is basically a skeleton crew, so they really depend on her to be there. She hates her job with a passion, but is too lazy to do anything about it, so she just complains. You would think that having your car in the shop with a repair bill of $800 would be incentive to take your butt to work, but it isn’t. She just doesn’t care.

Heaven forbid the try to reprimand her for taking off three days. How dare they! She’d better get the schedule that she wants otherwise she’s calling corporate because they’re not treating her fairly. She fails to think about the people who had to scramble and cover for her when she decided to slack off.  It ain’t her problem.

On the other hand, whenever I take a day off, I feel guilty, like I’ve committed a federal offense. Even when I have to take FMLA time for my mother, I feel like I should really be at work. I can’t help it, it’s just the way I am.

She’s not the only in her age group I’ve noticed with these type of issues. I work with twenty somethings who share the same trifling streak. They take days off  just because the sun is shining or because it’s paycheck Friday. When the company finally decides to fire them they’re dumbfounded. There’s no sense of responsibility  and I don’t understand it. They’re selfish and overly entitled.

My job site bought new furniture for our new break room and it’s a struggle because they want to lounge, put their dusty feet up and lie across the sofa like they’re at home. The break room that our company created for us is slowly becoming a den for nastiness because they’re too lazy to clean up after themselves. They don’t respect themselves, therefore they don’t respect anyone else.

One day I hope my sister comes to her senses and grows up. When you know better, you’re supposed to do better. In the meantime I can rub in my mother’s face that I’m the oldest, therefore the original, perfect copy. : )

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behavior, call center, common sense, cultural awareness, cultural understanding, customer service, customers, diversity, life lessons, manners, race relations, racism, values

Be Nice!

Von and I have made it no secret that we work in a call center. Only the name and location have been changed to protect the not so innocent. The company we work for also has a call center in the Philippines to handle things such as billing and tech issues. It’s not an unusual thing for American companies to outsource some call center operations to other parts of the world.

On several occasions, I’ve had customers erroneously call me with complaints about the advisors overseas.

‘Thank God, I reached someone who speaks English!’

‘Where are you located? I’m tired of talking to foreigners!’

‘I hung up on the last person because I didn’t want to talk to anyone in China.’

‘I want you to get somebody from America on the phone!’

Those are just some of the ugly, nasty things I’ve heard over the years about the call center employees in the Philippines. It’s not that they’re incompetent or can’t do the job, people are offended because they’re not American. They use the excuse of a language barrier, when in truth they speak fluent English, some of them with or without an accent.

Sometimes they try to reel me in to their nastiness chuckling at their own derogatory humor, but I purposely let them hang themselves with awkward silence. If you feel this way about someone who’s different from you, what would you think about me, a black woman? You’re just letting me know what you’re all about.

Call center employees take their share of abuse and I’m pretty sure those from foreign call centers get it worse. That just adds to the widespread belief overseas that Americans are selfish, arrogant, and rude. How many of those call center employees go home with horror stories about the intolerant Americans they’ve talked to all day?

If you’re not happy with outsourcing, that’s fine, but it’s not the call center advisor’s fault. They’re trying to earn a living just like you. Write to the company you get your services through. If they refuse to change, take your business elsewhere. Just don’t make your grievances a personal attack on someone who’s just trying to do their job.

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behavior, call center, common sense, life lessons, technology

Technology In Lieu of Common Sense

“Uh-I don’t know what happened. I left the keys in the car and I shut the door and it locked.  The car’s not supposed to do that.”

In my secret non-author identity as a call center advisor, this is my most common call. Be it a dealer or customer, they’re always shocked that the car would have the sheer audacity to lock them out. After decades of human evolution when it comes to automobiles and locking the keys inside, you would think that we would have learned, but such is not the case. These so-called smart keys that are supposed to prevent such a situation have spoiled us.

Shockingly, most times they never blame themselves for locking the keys in the car or in the trunk. They’re angry and disgruntled, the victim of some form of trickery that the car has played on them. I even had one admit to pulling off on the highway to take a smoke and getting locked out.

Sometimes I just want to ask: What were you doing to get your keys locked in the car? Having a car that doesn’t have a smart key, I’m paranoid about getting locked out. I’m always aware of where my keys are when I get out of the car. And if it ever happens, I have a family member with an extra set, just in case. Maybe I’m crazy, but even with technology, I wouldn’t want to rely on a machine to save my butt in a jam.

Are we being dumbed down by technology, leaving common sense and our brains by the wayside? Are we getting too lazy to think, instead relying on Apps and computers to do it for us?

My grandmother used to carry an address book the size of a Yellow Pages in her purse, which she kept with her until the day she had her final stroke. Everyone from distant relative to close neighbor was listed in that book and she even kept a backup at home. Nowadays all our contacts are stored in our handy dandy smartphones. If your smartphone crashed, would you be able to remember your emergency contacts?

The same goes for driving. I’ve seen people pitch a fit because their GPS isn’t working. I know of people who get directions everyday for their commute. What happens when you can’t get directions?

What about something as simple as shopping? Do I really need to whip out my smartphone’s calculator to figure out what my discount at Macy’s will be?

I’m definitely not against technology, obviously it’s there for a reason. But every so often, maybe you might want to warm up those brain cells just to make sure they’re working right. It may save you a long wait for roadside because you locked your keys in your car.

 

 

 

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call center, coworkers, cultural understanding, etiquette, life lessons, manners, Uncategorized, workplace

It’s Secret Santa Time Again!

It happens once a year. You and your coworkers draw names for Secret Santa. Here’s a word of advice, be mindful of the person who’ll be purchasing that gift for you.

For example, last year Von had the sheer luck of drawing one of our coworkers. Now this young lady didn’t ask for a nice fluffy Snuggie or a pair of comfortable slippers. She wanted a copy of 50 Shades of Grey. If you want the book, that’s fine, that’s your business, your personal business. My question is why would you want to put someone you work with in the awkward position of purchasing a book that’s has the stigma of being ‘Mommy Porn’? Now you’re leaving a coworker with the decision of whether to gift wrap it or just throw it in a paper bag.

Being a Secret Santa is all about the spreading the Christmas Spirit. There’s nothing like the joy of picking out the perfect gift for someone you work with and the look of glee as they open their gift. I shouldn’t have to be embarrassed going to the store and purchasing an item on your list.  Gift buying shouldn’t be a life altering decision. So if the thing on your list requires batteries or has three speeds, unless it’s a blender, take it off. Yes, that even includes that paperback copy of Taken by the T-Rex ; ) Please refrain from putting personal items on you wish list. Happy Holiday Season y’all!

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call center, coworkers, finances, life lessons, manners, money, Uncategorized, workplace

The Workplace Cash Grab

For some odd reason, my co-workers always find a way to finagle me out of money. Yesterday was Boss’ Day. The team I’m on works parallel with another team and each team has its own team leader.

“Here they go again.” I mutter under my breath when I get the email, which shows up in the middle of our pay period. The folks on the other team want to collect money to get gifts for the two team leaders. They’ve even made a list of the possible Detroit Tigers ties they want to get for the male team leader, i.e. their team leader. Oh and they’ll get something nice for our female team leader too, treating her almost like a second thought. I know the game they’re playing. The gift they want to get him is expensive, so they think they’ll involve our team to get more money.

Now I don’t have a problem with the team leaders, I like them both and they’re good people. I don’t understand why they feel the need to collect money when passing an appreciation card around will do.  My coworkers ask for money more than PBS.

A month ago, we had finally had our pot luck, which had been delayed probably about five times. Now me, I go to work to work. If I want to bring a snack or something to munch on, I do that. I work a 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. shift, so I don’t like eating anything heavy, otherwise I’ll be sleepy and miserable for the rest of the evening. I’m also funny about pot lucks. Unless you let me come over and inspect and clean your kitchen, I more than likely don’t want to eat your food. I’ve seen too many of my co-workers walk out of the bathroom without washing their hands and how do I know if you don’t have animals at home that walk all over your kitchen counters? Call me a kitchen snob or anti social, but it’s just me. Anyway, I was able to get away with not participating in the pot luck and I thought I’d have a reprieve before I was hassled for money again.

Over the past year several members of my team have lost loved ones, including Von’s father and my grandmother. Our team has the routine of passing the sympathy card around and giving it to the bereaved when they return to work. Now the other team had a member who experienced a death in the family and they wanted to go all out collecting money for flowers and giving the remainder of the funds to their teammate. The members of the other team participated, but most of our team refused. No one collected money for us, so why should we give her money? Not trying to be funny, but the truth is the truth.

Earlier in the week, I got stopped by a couple people on my own team who want to have a Stuff Your Face At Work Day in the next couple weeks. These are the hungriest people I’ve ever met. We just had a pot luck only a few weeks ago. The only difference is that this event will only include our team. Why are we planning yet another meal at work? I don’t come to work to hunt up food and I’m not really interested. I use a stall tactic and say I’ll think about it and I quickly disposed of the emails pertaining to the event. Today I discovered the Stuff Your Face At Work Day falls on my off day, so they can eat all they want and I don’t have to spend a dime. Though I know that the holidays are approaching and they’ll be trying to set up yet another Stuff Your Face Day before the end of the year.

Getting back to Boss’ Day; I ignored the emails concerning the gifts hoping they’ll leave me in peace. Unfortunately they sent one of their bounty hunters out to gather more funds. I know how the game goes; I refused to participate in the pot luck, so she asks me face to face to pour on the pressure. They might as well have sent two mafia wise guys to pay me a visit because it’s the same effect. It’s one of those situations where if you refuse to cooperate, you’ll have that stigma of being antisocial or uppity, not that I care what they think anyway, but I gotta work with these people everyday. Submitting to peer pressure, I say yes, but I won’t have the money til payday.

Now before the money was collected, we got emails with all the details. Today when I come in, there are no mentions of the gifts, or what was even bought for the Team Leaders. Now I’m pissed. You take my money but you can’t send a simple email telling me what I actually paid for? They got what they wanted from me so they don’t need me any more.

Let me set the record straight; in no way am I cheap, I in fact have very expensive tastes. But it’s my money and I like spending it on what I want to spend it on. I don’t like feeling pressured that I have to spend my money on some stupid event at work, just to avoid being ostracized or fitted with the label of ‘doesn’t work well with others’. Yeah, I don’t care what they think about me, but I want to get along with the people I work with. Like everybody else, I’ve got bills and other stuff I’d rather spend my money on. I know one thing: whatever they cook up for the holiday season, if I have to pay for it, they can count me out.

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call center, etiquette, life lessons, manners, Uncategorized, workplace

Conversation Parasites

“Yeah and then he said that he was going down there to make sure everything is okay.”

“Wow! That’s insane! I hope everything turns out okay. You know….”

“When I lived in Florida, we bought this bungalow that had a bad termite infestation. Oh my God there were so many termites in that house.”

Chances are you know one; a conversation parasite. That person  who jumps into the middle of a conversation like you’re playing double dutch. It doesn’t matter what your conversation is about, no matter how serious. They’re going to bang on that door until someone opens it.

They don’t really care that what they’re talking about has absolutely nothing to do with what you were originally talking about in the first place. You and the person you were talking to give each other that look like, ‘Will he please shut up?’

Unfortunately, I’ve recently encountered two such creatures. Both of them are older gentlemen who work with me. Maybe there was a factory recall on old men in their age range and I just don’t know about it. I can imagine that as children their mothers never disciplined them about interrupting a conversation.

Now the first one we’ll call the gate keeper. He sits in the aisle and has a question or comment for everyone that walks past him. Are you going to lunch? You going home? What’s for dinner? Where are you going? He even ear hustles coworkers personal conversations and asks what they’re talking about. He annoyed me so bad I had to put a visual aid on my computer just so I wouldn’t have to see his face.

Now the second one we’ll call Captain Flap a Jib. He rants and complains about how he knows how to do our job better than anyone and he’s the only one who can get it right. We have a coworker with bad work habits and he spends the whole day complaining about her like someone really wants to hear that. No matter how busy you look, he’ll find the most idiotic subjects to talk about. It’s enough to make me want to tear the rest of my hair out.

It’s frustrating and annoying, and I’m complaining, I know.  Maybe one day I’ll join them in their rudeness and tell them both to shut up.

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call center, customer service, customers, etiquette, life lessons, manners, workplace

Call Center Agents Assemble!

In case you didn’t know; call center agents rule the world. Yes, that disembodied voice on the other end of the phone has got it going on.

In a customer service based society, these people hold your entire life in the palm of your hand. They control your heat, electric, water, cable, cell phone, internet, and your bank account. Legend tells of rare agents who can lock, unlock, honk the horn, flash the lights, and stop your vehicle with just the click of a mouse. They control all your necessities and your modern conveniences. If these talented people can do all these amazing feats; why are they the most abused creature in the world?

I’ve worked customer service for years and what I’ve discovered is the most abusive individuals to call center agents, tend not to have any control at home. Or they may be taking their problems out on the first person who gets in their way .

So that hag who just spent an hour cussing out the cable agent, does it because her husband just came in at five a.m. She dare not mention it to him for fear that he may take her ‘allowance’ away. Needing an outlet for her rage, she takes it out on the faceless voice on the phone.

Maybe the idiot giving the Verizon agent a piece of his mind has two teens at home who are driving him crazy. He takes his frustration out on her instead of the source of his problem.

Is it these individuals know there will be no retribution that makes them act this way? They know the agent is held hostage to the verbal assault, otherwise the agent will lose his or her job. Is it the anonymity which causes the to abuse the agent? Surely they wouldn’t talk this way to someone face to face.

How wise are you piss off someone who can wreck havoc on your life at the push of a button? Does your nasty attitude have more to do with your home issues than issues with the company itself?

Maybe its something you need to consider the next time you feel like broadcasting your anger at the poor, underpaid person on the other end of the phone.

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