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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audience, Author, customer service, customers, life lessons, money, shopping, Uncategorized, writing

First Impressions

Last week my job ordered lunch for our team from an upscale pizzeria, Buddy’s. Another location of the same chain opened about two weeks on my street and I was wondering how the food would taste. Needless to say I was disappointed. Other than the lasagna, which was delicious, the rest of the pasta was flat and tasteless and the salad looked like someone just opened one of those instant salads you can buy at the grocery store. The restaurant which could have gained me as a customer failed to impress me, so I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.

The same is true for me and my relationship with Sonic restaurants. I tried them at first three years ago when one opened around the corner from me. I ordered a chili dog and got home to discovered a bun with nothing but chili in it which completely turned me off the restaurant chain. I haven’t visited since.

These restaurant’s loss of my business is the reason first impressions are important, no matter what type of business you run.  So go all out. Don’t be shy. Dare to impress your potential clientele. If you don’t wow your customer or your reader from the start, chances are you’ve lost them for good.

 

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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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