So it’s 1997 and I’m on a call with the senior managers of our call centres. It’s a week before the funeral of Princess Diana and we are discussing staffing at the centres on the day of the funeral.
Many of our staff want to take the day off so they can watch the funeral on the TV. Our Director wants to have a skeleton staff to take any inbound calls as we are utility company and people often phone the sales line by mistake when they want service so we are trying to find the balance between what staff want and what the customers need.
Then a senior team leaders from one of the call centres pipes up
Team Leader (TL): I don’t know why we are giving everyone the time off
Director (D): why?
TL: Well, everyone is at home for the funeral so that’s the best time for us to start phoning them to sell our services
The entire conference call goes quiet. You can literally hear that everyone is holding their breath
D: That would be PR suicide. We will not be calling people during the funeral. Can you not see the headlines. *INSENSITIVE COMPANY X CALLS CUSTOMERS DURING PRINCESS DI’S FUNERAL*
The Director quickly ended the call.
Next time I visited the call centre that team leader worked at he wasn’t around. Seems he got moved to doing the night shift to minimise his contact with the normal people whilst they decided what to do with him.