Working at a Call Center - Cover

Working at a Call Center

by Kim Cancer

Copyright© 2023 by Kim Cancer

True Story: An angry Scotsman calls the call center, demanding Disney...

Tags: Ma/Fa   Fiction   True Story   Crime   Humor   Workplace   Violence  

The gabbling, cacophonic hum of a hundred contiguous conversations ... The constant crackling in my headset made it hard to understand...

Then there was also the customer’s heavy Scottish accent, which kinda reminded me of Groundskeeper Willie.

The customer had said he was calling from a payphone. Even in 2007, that was slightly unusual.

“Look, I’m tryna ***** the Disney Channel for my daughter,” he pled, the Scotsman’s strained voice edged with simmering anger. He was speaking the way people do when they’re mad but trying not to yell.

As I fidgeted with my necktie, scrolled through his account history, I noted he had only a basic package, which didn’t include Disney. And that his account had been frozen. One month ago, due to non-payment.

Since I was a neophyte, just starting out on the job, I was unsure how to proceed. Besides stating the obvious. So I risked upsetting the Scotsman further, clicked him on hold while I consulted my supervisor, Charlotte, who was sitting in the phone box to my right.

“Who even calls a cable company from a payphone?” Charlotte scoffed, sneered while scrolling through the Scot’s account history. Twisting in her chair, craning her neck to view my computer’s screen, I could smell coffee on her breath as she started rubbing her chin.

Whenever Charlotte was concentrating, she’d assume her thinking man pose, and cradle and massage her chin, as if stroking a beard...

“Do you think he actually looks like Groundskeeper Willie?” Charlotte inquired, before turning her thin, red-painted lips in tightly. I chuckled, shrugged my shoulders, but didn’t hazard a guess. Charlotte was about as shy as a snake.

“I think stuff like that sometimes. Like, I try to picture our callers, in their houses, their living rooms or wherever. I try to match the voice to a face ... Just the last customer I spoke with- who was such an idiot- I swear ... he sounded so fat. The way he was breathing was like an emphysema patient. You know, a person with plastic tubes all jammed up their nose.”

“What if he wasn’t fat? What if he just had emphysema?” I interjected.

“Or he was fat and had emphysema,” retorted Charlotte, with a snigger, as she brushed a stray strand of stringy, dirty blond hair behind a heavily pierced ear. I could never quite figure out Charlotte’s age. Every day she wore a heavy mask of make-up that, under the office’s lemony fluorescent lighting, made her appear younger at some angles and older at others. She could be 27 or 47. Neither number would be a surprise.

Charlotte disdainfully shook her head at the customer’s unfortunate account history: the numerous warnings, disconnections, the columns of red font bleeding like festering wounds. Then she rolled her green eyes and went on, “Whenever a customer calls from a payphone, it’s going to be a bad call. By its very nature.”

“Aren’t all our calls bad, though? No one contacts customer service because they’re happy. They call because they have a problem.”

“That’s right. And that’s pretty true. But the ones calling from payphones have bigger problems. Now let’s see if we can sort the groundskeeper’s problems out.”

I admired Charlotte’s stoicism. Customer service, call center work is a high-burnout job. On average, we take about 60-100 phone calls per day. Many of them coming in hot. Customers jumping on the line cursing, screaming about their bill, interrupted service ... Some just call to vent, complain about a TV show or movie they hate ... Reruns of HBO’s Sex and the City, in particular, sure got a lot of goats...

Every week a fourth to a third of the call center changed faces.

Just the other day I witnessed a young girl get off a bad call crying. Serious waterworks, too, her face melting, red as a raspberry. Poor girl just threw down her headset, grabbed her stuff and stormed off the shop floor, never to return.

But Charlotte wouldn’t crack. She was a paragon of patience. She never got upset. Her sugar-sweet tone, high-wattage smile and calm, polite demeanor never wavered. Even on the worst calls, callers so apoplectic I could hear them squawking into her headset, from several feet away, still, never did she lose her cool. Actually, funny enough, the angrier our callers became, the wider she smiled, the more teeth she showed. As if the louder they shouted, the bubblier she got. She’d even wordlessly mock them, make funny faces and do Pac-Man-esque mouthing motions with her hands, in jest, and recount, retell, laughingly, her nastiest callers, trashing the “idiots,” daily, in the lunchroom.

There is more of this story...
The source of this story is Storiesonline

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.



Storiesonline is for adult entertainment only. By accessing this site you declare that you are of legal age and that you agree with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.