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    When New Hires Become New Fires

    | Greenville, SC, USA | Bad Behavior, New Hires

    (We have a group of new hires coming into our call center who are a bit overdressed for the positions they have been hired for. I have been at this job for two years, and am at work wearing a shirt and jeans, sneakers, etc. I run into two of the new hires in the break room.)

    New Hire #1: “Man, would you look at that.” *points towards me as I make coffee*

    New Hire #2: “Yeah, what the h***, man? How’d he even get an interview?”

    (I realize that they think I am a new hire like them, and finish making my coffee while they speak about me like I’m not here.)

    Me: *turning to them* “I got my interview three years ago, and I blew them out of the water. Good luck making your 90 days with an attitude like that.”

    (I walked past them, coffee in hand. I didn’t expect either one to last longer than a month.)

    Doesn’t Subscribe To Your Way Of Thinking

    | USA | Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (My company provides trade magazines for a small subscription fee. They have started trying to sell them to people who sign up for the website my division runs. I and all of my employees are of course members of the website ourselves.)

    Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [my division]. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “Hi. I’m [Caller], and I’d like to talk to you about a subscription to [Magazine]! It gives you all the latest news on [industry].”

    Me: “Hi! I actually work for [Corporate Parent] which publishes that magazine. My office gets three complimentary copies each month. Can you do me a favor and pull our number out of your list?”

    Caller: “But the subscription also comes with free access to our website, with up to the minute news!”

    Me: “I know. I already have access to the website.”

    Caller: “You can’t have access without a subscription, and I show you as not having a subscription. If you sign up I can set you up with access today!”

    Me: “I don’t think you’re getting it. I work for the company that publishes the magazine. I have the latest issue in my hand right now.”

    (Confused silence.)

    Me: “I work for the company who is paying you to make this call.”

    Caller: “Oh.”

    Me: “Please take my number off the list?”

    Caller: “Okay, then!”

    (Three of my division’s staff got the same pitch that week. I got the same call again from a different rep the next day. It happened for two months, even after I called the project lead who’d farmed the project out to the call center, and informed her she forgot to remove her own coworkers from the list!)

    You Can’t Hack It

    | Canada | Coworkers, Technology

    (I work in a call centre providing tech support. We sometimes have to ask a customer to find something like a paperclip to straighten and use on a pinhole button to reset a device. I’m in the bathroom on my break when I discover my fly’s zipper’s been slipping and isn’t staying up on its own. Happily, I know to wrap a paper-clip around my pants’ button, and use it as a hook to hold the zipper head up. I figure the secretary will probably have one I can use.)

    Me: “Hey, guys. Hey, [Secretary], do you have a paperclip I can use?”

    Secretary: “Sure, [My Name]. So what are you trying to hack?” *she winks*

    Me: “My pants?”

    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!)

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