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21st October 2004

Phones, teases and call centres @ 09:02

Current Grassiness: stressed stressed

So phones. I dont like using the phone to call people and ask them for things. Even ringing for a pizza takes a great deal of courage for me. As I said yesterday, I get a wave of shyness and will try to put off using the phone till much later or until someone else takes it upon themselves to phone for me. I went into this "phobia" (though I use the word phobia lightly as its not a fear of phones its more a shyness of phones) with Sarah yesterday.



She asked me exactly how I felt when using the phone to ask for something and I could only describe it as an overwhelming shyness.....similar to when as a child one might have felt when an unfamiliar person came into the room...like a loud aunty with pink lipstick or an uncle with a beard and an over bearing presence.....she asked if I could think of any time when as a child I was told off for asking for things...and I mentioned the "ask dont get, dont ask dont want" paradox.

My grandad often used this as a tease. He liked to tease as does my dad. I suppose its genetic because my brothers tease and so do I sometimes but imagine being 5 and having 2 older brothers a father AND a grandfather teasing, serious headfuck! I suppose that is a contributing factor. However I dont think this is the entire cause. Indeed, it IS a contributing factor but as I pointed out its not always been a problem for me.

When I worked as a Legal clerk in 1995 I eagerly phoned people left right and centre. Then, when I began in the Health & Safety Executive I was wary but not entirely bothered. Though since working in the call centre I have been conscious of phoning people. The Call centre was an Inbound one but I did have to make a outbound calls. Typical Nazi style mentality:-

YOU SHALL NOT MOVE FROM YOUR CHAIR
YOU SHALL NOT GO OFF THE PHONES WITHOUT PERMISSION (which you had to go off the phones to ask for!)
YOU SHALL NOT SPEND LONGER THAN 7 MINUTES ON A CALL (dealing with chimps what dont have a clue about computers, duff ISP issued software and people running Windows 95...often requiring reboots and reinstallations....oh yeah like that takes 7 minutes!)
YOU SHALL BE LOGGED ONTO ASPECT TIME (oh you're late? Centre manager for you boy!)
YOU SHALL NOT RAISE THINGS TO SECOND LINE
YOU SHALL RAISE THINGS TO SECOND LINE
YOU SHALL WORSHIP SATAN
YOU SHALL HAVE EVERY CALL MONITORED AND SCORED
YOU SHALL HAVE NO SOUL
YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK TO ANYONE OTHER THAN CALLERS
YOU SHALL TAKE SHIT FROM OBNOXIOUS FUCKWITS JUST HOPING TO GET COMPENSATION BECAUSE THEY CAN'T VISIT THEIR FAVORITE PORN SITE
YOU SHALL NOT DISCONNECT FROM ASPECT UNTIL EXACTLY THE TIME WHEN YOUR SHIFT ENDS (oh you have a call 30 seconds before you log off? tough you have to take it. Oh yeah and you wont get any thanks for it or be allowed to take time in lieu )


Yeah? Great isnt it?! No wonder Im a thoroughly well adjusted individual. (Ok this job at the university is nowhere near as bad as the call centre one but it could quite easily become as bad overnight). Telewest have a lot to answer for.....I do blame them for my change in attitude toward using the telephone. When I call call centres now I am aware of the poor tyke on the other end working to ACHT (average call handling times), having a member of the SS listening into their calls, the stress etc. So I am nice as pie and I always start like this....

CALL CENTRE LACKEY:- Good morning/afternoon/evening Nazi Call centre how can I help you?
GNOMEPANTS:- Ok I know you have a call handling time and you probably have someone listening in so I will be as quick as I can....{insert problem/request here}

That way I am bringing to the attention of the listener that I KNOW THEY ARE THERE! and that they should go easy on the call lackey if they go over their time.

I suppose thinking about it its a mixture of shyness, embarrassment and a feeling of "oooh I should try and find out myself or work it out myself without bothering someone else because theyre under stress anyway dealing with other people yadayadayada"



I need a ciggy....need to chill out.....this post stressed me out....too many bad memories.....Comments/similar tales highly desirable
 
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From:brusse
Date:21st October 2004 03:44 (UTC)
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I worked at IKEA for over two years. It made an enormous impact on how I treat store employees!

If the person in the store says they can't help, then their bosses have most likely tied their hands so they really cannot help, and they probably wish they could, because store employees are kind individuals.

And if they don't seem friendly, then they probably just dealt with a horrible customer, and just want to sit on the floor and cry.
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From:stegzy
Date:22nd October 2004 01:02 (UTC)
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I've noticed that. Bad moody sales staff are normally bad and moody after dealing with an awkward customer. This rings true with me and probably explains why I'm a ratty bugger as 9/10 of the calls I get are from narky sods full of their own self importance.
From:ex_stephmog743
Date:21st October 2004 03:56 (UTC)
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Oh boy do I know what you mean. My current callcentre job is a bit more laid-back, which is a good thing, but the longer I'm there the more silly rules they are introducing and the more targetted we are, and slowly their attitude of 'it's important to build a rapport with our customers, we want to hear yu being friendly and chatting about other stuff than advertising with them' is giving way to 'do exactly what they want and get rid of them, then take another call, and here's a heap of data entry to do between calls so you don't spend a moment chatting to the person next to you or abusing the intarweb'.

My last one was for Centrica (British Gas Communications/Onetel/Goldfish/AA) and it was shitty, shitty, shitty. We were told in training that it was important for our health to get up and stretch our lesg every so often, get a drink of water or something, and that DND time on the phones was for this so we should make sure to get up and have a wander at least once an hour. When actually doin the job, we got a sharracking if our DND time was more than 2 minutes for the whole day, which isn't even long enough to walk to the loos, have a piss and sit back down at your desk. I argued that I ought to be exempt as I was pregnant at the time and trying to limit my toilet/drinking water time was likely to get them in legal schtuck. I won :D
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From:stegzy
Date:22nd October 2004 01:04 (UTC)
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The university threatend to become like your current job. But we all revolted and so they relented....for now......Hence why I never seem to do any work.....heeeheee
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From:storm1jet2
Date:21st October 2004 05:18 (UTC)
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I have similar issues, I have to make some calls and the more I think about it the more wound up I get and less likely to phone! I also have issues about going to places I have never been before, like a cafe, if I am with someone I will push them infront of me, but once I have been to a place I am ok the next time! Im nowhere near as bad as I used to be, can't be in this job, always have to go new places, but Im still funny about cafes!
From:dakotameow
Date:21st October 2004 10:14 (UTC)
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So after reading your posts and taking the quizlet yesterday about phoning when in need of something, I realized that I was putting off calling a client to remind him that he mentioned he would have his wife stop by my office to pay off the last $550 of his bill to me.

So I called. And the maternal grandmother that answered the phone kindly let me know that they had skipped town and left no forwarding address. Yeah, right. Looks like he skipped out on his jail sentence, too. Nice.

Good thing I had him sign a promissory note, with interest, that is releasable to a third party. I will let the bill collector find him and cut my losses.

THAT is why I hate the phone sometimes.
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From:stegzy
Date:22nd October 2004 01:09 (UTC)
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I hate it when I've put it off so long its often the case that I'm too late or I miss out. Curse my laxness and phone slovenliness!!
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From:stegzy
Date:22nd October 2004 01:04 (UTC)
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I'm the same. I hate going into strange pubs as I feel all the regulars are watching me....but in reality its me watching them.....
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From:think4yrself
Date:22nd October 2004 05:35 (UTC)

Phone Misbehaviour

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I worked as a switchboard operator for a large international company for a few years. So many people are so unfriendly on the phone! Only children asking for their parents always introduced themselves properly and were nice.

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