During my time working the phones at a call center, I worked in a messaging division that took customer conversations via chat or through the website. I preferred this over phone calls as I like to be able to take a moment to gather my thoughts and formulate a response to where I could be sobbing at my desk (happens even in messaging), want to murder my customers in the worst possible way, but they’d never know it because of how carefully I could craft my responses.
However, for a time, if we were to do certain actions that required the primary user, we would call the primary line to verify the name and account PIN (they stopped using this practice sometime later).
One particular afternoon I was working with a gentleman we’ll call Chris. Chris was very cordial and had me doing some account maintenance, some steps requiring I perform the outbound call verification.
I have over 20 years experience in customer service so calling out was easy enough and I’d use my “radio announcer” voice that my leadership likes to call it. I call the client.
“Hi, this is Siggy from X Company Customer Care, calling you for verification only. This call may be monitored for quality or other training purposes. To verify in, please give me your name.”
Chris’ voice was taken aback.
“Hi Siggy… heh, this is Chris.”
Me: Hey Chris, to finalize verification, please verify the account PIN.
Chris stammered through the PIN, seemingly embarrassed. I could even hear him rustling uncomfortably in the background, this is important later. Some clients don’t like calling in, I sure don’t, so his behavior wasn’t out of the ordinary.
I verified him in.
Me: Thanks Chris, that’s all we need. For the sake of expediency, I’ll disconnect the call and continue back in chat.
Chris seemed to rustle some more.
Chris: Are you sure? You got me on the line and we can finish through here.”
Me: I appreciate that and thank you for verifying. My primary method of communication is in chat and we only call out to verify, it’s also easier to copy/paste the final agreements in chat so you can take your time and read them. Sound good?
Chris seemed disappointed.
Chris: If you insist.
Me: Thanks Chris, I’m disconnecting the call now.
We continued finalizing the changes in chat and I asked Chris if there was anything else I could do for him before I closed the convo. It was here that his previous behavior made sense.
Chris: I just gotta say, that you have the sexiest man’s voice I’ve ever heard!
This took me back a little but it initially seemed like a genuine compliment so I decided to play it off.
Me: Ah, thank you! I used to be a radio DJ in college (somewhat true) and have had a lot of practice in customer service. I’m told I have a PBS voice that tends to put people to sleep so that’s why I moved to messaging (a lie, but trying to move the chat along).
Chris: Well, as a gay man in the Pacific Northwest, your voice would never put me to sleep and you’re welcome to come over and help me finish any time.
I finally figured out why Chris was off over the phone and then the rustling sound made sense. I only knew one response.
Me (out loud): RED LIGHT! RED LIGHT! RED LIGHT!
“Red light” is code in our call center for sexual harassment as it’s common for women to be hit on at our call center. When a manager hears this code word, they either put their headphones on to listen in on a call and interject if needed or, in my case, run up to our station to read the convo.
I’ve never heard any of the male reps call a red light and so, when I called it out, our manager Ashley looked confused as she walked over to my station. She looked at my convo log and burst out laughing.
She pat me on the back, told me now I know how other women reps feel, and told me to “finish the chat but not the way he wants.”
I played off the client’s advances in the chat and closed the convo.
To all my call center sisters in arms, who have had this happen, I feel you and have nothing but a deep respect for the crap you put up with.
TLDR: Had a verification call with a guy who found my voice sexy and played with himself during the call. Manager laughs.