No employee number. no problem.

I didn’t know there was a #tailsfromcallcenter group, should have, cause call centers workers get all kinds of crazy. I had this in another group who directed me here. Another story someone posted reminded me of some of my most entertaining work calls, finally I’m writing this on a smartphone so format may be wonky.

So many moons ago 15+ years, think Motorola Razr was the newest hottest must have phone in the world, I worked in a call center for a now defunk cellphone carrier and we did warranty exchanges and trouble shooting. Each employee had a employee number and their calls were regularly randomly reviewed by management. I also got this job because my voice wasn’t women’s undergarments catalog service worthy, both worked in same call center,shared stories and communal areas.

For some unknown reason the system couldn’t/wouldn’t issue me a valid employee number, at first this wasn’t a problem, team manager noted issue, submitted ticket(s) and had me use his. This worked for months, he monitored my calls a little closer than others because of this, I didn’t mind, actually found it amusing on how far could I go before getting a glare and head shake.

I was moved to another team with another manager, first one was moving to greener pastures, she was told the issue submitted more tickets for this to be fixed, it seemed this employee number issue was a regular problem. This is where I should mention this team manager had narcolepsy and insurance refused to cover her meds due to pre-existing condition. So she asked me to be her unofficial helper and take calls where a manager is being demanded. I also would try to keep her awake when I couldn’t handle caller and she needed to take the call. Irate customers really don’t like hearing snoring on the other side of the phone so we try to avoid this as much as possible.

At this point some bigwig discovered I wasn’t a trained team manager and was preforming their duties. As punishment for my irresponsible behavior I was given a 3-day suspension (vacation) and team manager was reprimanded and told not return to work till her narcolepsy was under control. She also was thrilled because this opened the door for suing the company for medical deformation and getting coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Upon my return from my 3 day vacation, ehm sorry suspension, I’m put in a new team, new manager who is never around, he’s more interested in chasing skirts so he spends most of his time in the common areas or sucking up to higher ups and other managers. This group are also the people who deal with escalated phone calls, this manager is unwilling to have me use their employee number, so I spend the shift twiddling my thumbs, making copies, and spinning in my chair. This goes on for a few weeks until new manager gets ahold of a ’employee in training number’.

Normally these employee numbers are used while new employees are learning, on probation, and every call is monitored by management. I quickly learned my temporary number was not being recorded or monitored be any manager. Our non-existent team manager didn’t have access to plug remotely onto my live calls either. He had to manually tether a headset to my phone, remember he’s rarely around and the team has become quite self-sufficient.

Let me add, I already have a new job lined up and am waiting for final contracts, agreements and background checks completed.

Enter massively pissed off Ken.
Team member gets a Ken who is yelling profanity and racial slurs non stop, the call has been escalated to our group and the representative has taken their headset off and we can hear Ken clearly. Sometimes people like this just need to vent and we would remove headsets so the yelling didn’t damage our hearing while they ran out of steam. This particular Ken took this opening as incentive to escalate his profanities more. When my call ends I press a few keys so the caller hears three tones and transfers it to me. This causes the caller to pause I start talking in a thick southwestern Asia accent I learned from my neighbor who’s learn English. “You have been transferred to DFI(Difficult Fucking Idiots, our teams nicknamed code for have a finger over the volume button) “you are a deplorable human and I have the power to deactivate you plan.” Ken sputtering, “Now are you going to be nice person or shall I cancel your account.” Ken calms down immediately and agrees to be respectful. I tell Ken I’ll be monitoring call and if a single profane or racist word is spoken their account and all linked accounts (there were more then 5 phones on plan) will be immediately deactivated.” Transfer back and the call is completed full of please and thank you’s.

Manager overheard us talking and laughing about the incident during our lunch break, without proof can’t do anything about it. So, for the reminder of the month this is repeated with customers unwilling to be civil, sometimes team members using accents they know or thickening their accent. Team Manager starts searching for ways to monitor my calls and looking for any reason to reprimand me he’s is gets frustrated with the loophole he dropped me into.

One of my favorites Father calls because daughters (freshman year and out of state university) phone isn’t working. Father escalated because he refused to believe we can’t exchange phone without verification it’s not working. I offer to call phone, he tells me others have done this and they say it works but doesn’t believe them. I broke protocol and leave him online, he can listen only to the conversations made between me and daughters phone, says he understands and call daughter. She answers on the 2nd ring. I introduce myself and her first words after I tell her I’m calling because father believes phone is broken. “OMG he’s so domineering I went to college in another state to get away from him.*eye rolls and scoffs a plenty*” I tell her she needs to answer when he calls because he’s paying for her university, housing, food, fun and phone bills and what would she do if he cut her off? More scoffs and a “I’m his angle he’d never.” After getting off call with daughter father transfers her bill to university dormitory address, he’s sad calm asks what I would do in his position.

Another was a parent who couldn’t fathom their elementary/middle school age child having an $800 bill for text messages, a large amount of texts were during school hours, and ‘my baby would never’… Remember this is when you had to pay up to $.10 per text, over the contract stated amount, because this carrier didn’t have unlimited data, and yes your entitled baby surly did.

This continues and my last few days working in the escalation department I lose all pretence of following the scripted recommended procedures, and procedures in general, coworkers are transferring most calls to me for entertainment. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve told people in a sickly sweet southern voice “well sweetness I’m calling hijinx on your malarkey.”, “well bless your little heart.” And “I frankly don’t give a single fat damn”.

This job showed me how petty and mean people can be, especially over the phone/online when they cannot see the other person. I’ve always tried to remember this job when I’m calling customer service for myself.

What do you think?

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