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    Has Some Serious Hang Ups

    | The Netherlands | Bizarre/Silly, Coworkers, Technology

    (I am volunteering at a call center and all the volunteers are very eager. We have headsets, but in order to take a call, you need to physically pick up the phone. As soon as the phone rings, every volunteer grabs the phone. If you’ve got the call, you can start talking, if you don’t, you’ll hear a long beeping tone. I am always too slow, so I’m used to picking up the phone and having to put it down immediately. However, in this instance I did get the phone call.)

    Me: “Hello. This is [Organization]. You’re speaking with [My Name].”

    Caller: “Hello, my name is [Caller].”

    (As the caller is saying this, I put down the phone, like I usually have to do.)

    Me: “What can I help you with?”

    (I hear beeping sounds, as though the caller hung up on me.)

    Me: *to coworker* “Oh, weird. He hung up on me.”

    (I look up to see everybody around me staring at my phone, shocked.)

    Me: “Huh, what? Oh, no! I hung up on him!”

    (My supervisor was not angry and assured me that he would call back. I hope he did!)

    This Employee Might Not Go The (Long) Distance

    | WI, USA | Bad Behavior, Coworkers

    (I’m a quality assurance specialist at a call center. My job is to make sure the agents I work with are following the rules when they speak with their customers. For this department, those customers are all businesses. I have just finished auditing a call, from a brand-new agent, in which the customer ordered several new phone lines. The agent did pretty well, but forgot to ask if they needed long-distance or an international calling plan on those new lines, so I had to mark her down for those. She scored a 92%, which for her first QA is pretty darn good! Less than 10 minutes after sending that, the agent is at my desk.)

    Agent: “I need you to change this score.”

    Me: “That was a pretty good score. Why do you want it changed?”

    Agent: “I offered them tech support!”

    Me: “And I gave you credit for that. But you didn’t ask about long-distance or international. When signing them up for new lines, or when returning old ones, it’s important to ask about those. If they need either one, and you forget to ask, it can be a huge mess.”

    Agent: “But I asked about Internet!”

    Me: “And I gave you credit for that, but you still didn’t ask about long-distance.”

    Agent: “But I even asked about cell phones!”

    Me: “Cell phones and long-distance are not interchangeable.”

    Agent: “But I NEED a higher score! My QA affects my bonus!”

    Me: “Only if you get below 88%. You have a 92%. That is pretty darn good.”

    (The agent makes a disgusted sound and stomps off. A few minutes later, my fellow QA person came back from lunch. Since the agents frequently try to play us off of each other, I decided to warn her.)

    Me: “We may have another compulsive arguer on our hands. [Agent] came by and tried to get me to change her score. But she got a 92, and that’s her first QA ever.”

    Other QA: “That’s pretty good, especially for her first one. What did she miss?”

    Me: “Signed up a customer for 14 new phone lines, but forgot to ask about long-distance and international.”

    Other QA: “That’s such a nit-picky thing.”

    Me: “I know, but I’ve had to QA calls where the customer got $40,000 in long-distance charges in a single month because somebody forgot to ask. Believe me, those are nasty! It’s just so much easier to catch it before the order goes in.”

    Other QA: “Good point. If she pushes, I’ll back you up.”

    (Fast-forward one week. I again have reached that agent’s name in my list of people to audit, so I look through her most recent recordings and pick a call at random.)

    Agent: “Thank you for calling [Business]. This is [Agent]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Oh, thank God! My boss just got the email confirmation for our new phone lines, and there is no long-distance on there! We are setting up a new call-center for our sales department; we CANNOT be without a long-distance plan! How can you have new phone lines and not even ask about long-distance plans?!”

    Agent: “Let me see… Yes, the order is still in processing. We can still make changes. I’ll add that on there right away.”

    Customer: “Whew! Thank God, my boss is having a heart attack over here!”

    Agent: “Will you be needing an international calling plan as well?”

    Customer: “You have those? I think we might, can you send me some information on it?”

    Agent: “Certainly!”

    (I checked. Sure enough, it was the same customer!)

    Warehouse Staff Brains All Stuffed With Fluff

    | Overland Park, KS, USA | Employees, Family & Kids, Religion

    (I work the guest services line at the call center for the [Cartoon Brand] catalog. We have begun selling ‘[Bear]Grams,’ which are ‘[Bear]’ teddy bears dressed up in costumes for holidays and special occasions. The holiday ‘[Bear]Grams’ always sold out and we frequently worry that they won’t be delivered on time. The situation is the worst for Easter, but finally, a few days before Easter, the warehouse receives a large shipment of Easter ‘[Bear]Grams’ and is able to ship all of the orders out in time. A week or two after Easter, I receive a call from a woman who is obviously in emotional turmoil.)

    Customer: “I need help.”

    Me: “How may I help you? Is everything all right?”

    Customer: *continuing to cry* “Well, a few weeks ago, my family and I were scheduled to leave for vacation and my best friend got sick and went into the hospital. She assured me she would be fine and that we should not miss our vacation due to her minor illness. I called and ordered her a ‘Get Well [Bear]Gram’ and we headed out for our vacation. By the way, we’re Jewish.”

    (I think: ‘what does THAT have to do with anything?’)

    Customer: “While we were gone, my friend took a turn for the worse and died. My husband and I flew back for the funeral. Afterwards, I was talking to her sister and she said, ‘she really loved the ‘Easter [Bear]Gram’ you sent her.'”

    Me: *noticing that my manager was walking by* “Ma’am, I am so sorry. Can you hold on for one moment?” *I hit the hold button and turn frantically* “[Manager]! WE SENT A DYING JEWISH WOMAN AN ‘EASTER [Bear]GRAM’!”

    Manager: *shock and confusion writ large across her face* “What? Give her back all of her money. Do whatever she needs you to do!”

    (Obviously, in the Easter frenzy, the warehouse employees ‘decided’ that all of the ‘[Bear]Gram’ orders must be for Easter, and instead of sending the requested ‘Get Well [Bear]Gram,’ they did indeed send a dying Jewish woman an ‘Easter [Bear]Gram.’ Sometimes the customer is very, very right.)

    Networking Notworking

    | Manchester, England, UK | Bizarre/Silly, Coworkers, Money

    (I work at a call center giving out coffee and tea to all the staff. I have one main friend who I hang out with every now and then. One day it came up about my job and why I can’t help but be so cheerful and happy all the time.)

    Coworker: “Just wondering, how much do you earn working here?”

    Me: “I’m on salary; I get just over £28K.”

    Coworker: *long pause* “Twenty eight grand?”

    Me: “Yes, mate. With this new pay rise it will be £30K at the end of the month.”

    Coworker: “I just about pull in two thirds that amount including commission. How on earth does a coffee boy make that much money?”

    Me: “I’m a qualified networks engineer and was hired to maintain the networks for the building. On my first day I was greeted by the company owner who immediately got me making the coffees. I have been here three years and he gives such high performance marks that HR gives me pay rises.”

    Coworker: “And you did not even think to tell the owner there was a mistake?”

    Me: “If you were me, would you?”

    Coworker: *long pause, then a wink* “You’re running low on biscuits.”

    This Is Not Your True Calling

    , | Snellville, GA, USA | Bosses & Owners, Lazy/Unhelpful, Theme Of The Month

    (I have recently been assigned to a new job through a temp agency. I am given the address, the name of the company, and the supervisor. It is listed as ‘telephone operator’ and involvs taking orders.)

    Supervisor: “Welcome to [Company]! We specialize in selling school supplies to various schools throughout the U.S. Today we’re selling class sets of dictionaries. When they order a set of 30 dictionaries, they’ll get a set of thesauruses for free.”

    (The supervisor then shows me to my desk. I notice there is no computer; just a telephone and a stapled packet consisting of hundreds of schools and some basic information, including principals’ names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and other info.)

    Supervisor: “Here is your phone. You’ll call each of these numbers, and try to sell the class sets. Here, I’ll put your name on the board. You’ll call these numbers, make a sale, and when you do, we put a star by your name. You get 50 stars, you get a $100 bonus. Also, for us to confirm the sale, you must stand up and hold the receiver like this.”

    (He shows me, with the mouthpiece end towards the mouth, and the earpiece pointed towards the floor. I snicker.)

    Supervisor: “Oh, you think it’s funny, do you? Well, get on to it.”

    (I look through the list. The first number is a high school in Texas. I begin dialing and keep getting an automatic messaging service. I remember I have a sandwich with me.)

    Me: “Um, [Supervisor], where can I put my sandwich? It’s got meatballs and cheese and I don’t want it to spoil.”

    Supervisor: “Oh, just keep it at your desk. You can eat it in between calls.”

    Me: “So you’re saying you don’t have a break room?”

    Supervisor: “Nope.”

    Me: “Not even a fridge to keep food that may spoil from spoiling?”

    Supervisor: “Nope. Just sit and make sales, and eat between sales.”

    (I sit back down, and try again. Each number I call, I keep getting automated services. Finally, I decide I’ve had enough. I get up, grab my sandwich, and begin walking out the door.)

    Supervisor: “Where are you going?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but sales is just not for me. [Temp Agency] never told me this was a sales/telemarketing job. They just had it listed as ‘phone operator.’ I thought I’d be taking calls, not making them.”

    Supervisor: “Please come back. You can eat your sandwich first then make calls. I lied; we do have a fridge in the back.”

    Me: “Sorry.”

    (I walked right out of there after staying for only 30 minutes. I later called the temp agency and quit them, too!)

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