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Thread: How stressful it is to work in a call center.

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  1. #1 How stressful it is to work in a call center. 
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    During my 30 year career I have dealt with the general public thousands of times but NEVER have I spoken to anyone as rude as the ones I speak to in my current job who appear to believe their basic human rights have been breached because their shopping has not been delivered on time or with an item missing.

    People - I KNOW this must be frustrating for you but just possibly could you have a cup of tea before calling when you have come down off your little pedestal and calmed down just a bit. At least wait until the steam is no longer emitting from your ears. Please!

    I have vast experience speaking to the public on the phone as both an underwriter and a loss adjuster. I've spoken to people who are often highly emotional. As a call centre worker I take over sixty calls during a five hour shift and mine are 99% complaints - mainly because in my call centre people very rarely call to say how happy they are. Day in day out. Peck, peck, peck, peck. After a very short while it begins to grind you down until you eventually begin to lose the will to live and your inner demons surface. This may be the reason all the windows on the top floor are bolted closed.

    Following redundancy, I currently work in an incoming call centre dealing with irate members of the public regarding their home shopping deliveries. Total shock! Never have I been spoken to the way some of the customers talk to me on the phone. I'm regularly spoken to as if I'm something which has just been scraped off a shoe. Mr and Mrs Public appear to think anyone who answers the phone from a call centre is fair game for as much abuse as they wish to spew forth until they feel relieved of whatever pent up stress they have accumulated over the preceding hour/day/month/year. Some folk treat us as if we are at the bottom of the scale of life itself. Amoebas with the intellectual ability of ant dandruff.

    It is a call handler's job to hear the customer out, let them vent and then provide a solution to the issue in as quick and as appropriate a way as possible, politely and professionally. I know the calls are recorded and should I feel the urge to advise the caller to stick their attitude where the sun doesn't shine, I must resist.

    They say things like 'I don't give an effing TOSS if your driver and his effing van is at the bottom of a cliff ~ that's not MY problem ~ I want my effing shopping and I want it NOW!' Oh joy! We are supposed to treat these individuals with respect and professionalism.

    Call centre staff are there because they need a job, some as a stop gap while studying for a degree at university, some because they need the unsociable hours in order to juggle the needs of a family. Some are there as a second job. Some may even be there because they like it (although this is unlikely!) Nobody ~ NOBODY leaves school with the sole ambition of working in a call centre. We're all real live people and we have the same daily stresses and strains as everyone else. Even so, some members of the public think it's perfectly acceptable to be as nasty and as rude as possible ~ it's almost like a form of therapy in a 'lets call some idiot in a call centre and let them have it' kind of way. If they can't see us we are clearly androids and not himans.

    Whatever it is our company have or haven't done is not personally our fault, even so, we will do our utmost to put it right. We know what can be done and the appropriate action to take. We can, will and actually want to make customers happy. After all if they are happy then this makes us happy as we feel we've done our job well and they will not scream or abuse us. - Good call! If you get the vibe that we may be being a trifle abrupt with you just bear in mind this is probably because you have been abrupt with us.

    A colleague of mine with a child of three, who is studying an advanced maths degree in university was told 'listen love I know you don't quite understand how things work in the real world as you are only a monkey in a call centre'. Another colleague who has two jobs to make ends meet has been told 'I know you unfortunates can only dream of earning what I earn and I really don't have time to be messing about with your type on the phone'. An Asian colleague who's lived in the UK forty or more years since age two who sits at the desk next to me in has been told 'I don't want to talk to you I want to talk to someone in my own country'. I could cite many more examples ~ my point is callers have NO IDEA who they are talking to.

    My current colleagues are all the most wonderful, colourful, down to earth, grounded. wild and exotic people I could ever wish to work with. All of them have their own life stories, their own families and their own very individual personalities. The company deals with online deliveries - a big company, good name, good prospects, nice office and lovely staff. Our customers choose to have their shopping delivered ~ a convenience which they pay very little for so they don't have to go to the store themselves.

    Occasionally something goes wrong! Imagine the busiest time of year for this type of business - let's call it 'Christmas' shall we? Superstores are obviously very busy this time of year and it is not a pleasant experience doing battle with other like minded individuals also involved with this Christmas malarkey. Most people I know will opt to roll up their sleeves and prepare to do battle in the shops. The advantages of this are that you can pick your own items. If there is something sold out - (just imagine that at Christmas - it may just be a passing possibility may it not?) then you can choose your own alternative. You can pack your own items in the order that you like and take your time to do this. You can then pack your own bags into your own car and take them lovingly to your own house and put them ever so carefully away. You can then forget about everything knowing you have done all the work in advance to ensure your lovely family have all they could want and need and lots, lots more beside. Happy days!

    Having their shopping delivered is a necessity for some people ~ the elderly, infirm or disabled. Some people have childcare issues and I know that shopping with three kids in tow is one of those things once done once never to be repeated. For most people though, having their groceries delivered is an option. It is not a basic human right. They pay a little more for somebody else to pick their items so that they can do more important things or just sit on their lardy arses and do nothing. This somebody else is quite often a student or young person just starting out in the job world. This person has a target to hit and has to pick many items for many other people at the same time. Errors will occasionally be made, items may be out of stock and alternatives may not be available. Some food items may have a shorter life than you would have picked yourself. Sometimes items will be damaged and this will not be noticed. This is not deliberate.
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