ring ring why don’t you give me a call?

Call Centres. Love them or hate, they are a modern day fact of life. Much has been written about the efficiency or lack there off, and maybe one day I might just contribute to the blogosphere about it.

That said, humble general public person, let me tell you something … you’re all pretty damn thick.

Oh but give me just a few more lines further and no doubt I’ll have you feeling the urge to take out an Kalashnikov to mow down our fellow moron human beings like cattle.

Here’s a few gentle and simple rules when calling a call centre about your problems.

Rule #1. Have a clue what you are talking about.

Joe Public: Hi, yeah, I’d like to cancel my order?
Me: Yes sir, could I have your order number please?
Joe Public: No. I haven’t got it.
Me: Do you have your account number.
Joe Public: Not to hand, no.
Me: That’s okay. Do you have your card number on you that you made your payment with?
Joe Public: No, it’s in my wallet.

Me: Could you get if from your wallet?
Joe Public: No, it’s all the way downstairs.
Me: Okay then, when did you place the order?
Joe Public: Not sure.
Me: Are you calling on a land line telephone sir?
Joe Public: Yes …
Me: See the chord that runs from the phone to the wall socket, could you pick that up and gently wrap it around your neck and pull until you feel faint?
Joe Public: Just hang on a second ….

You’d be surprised how often Joe Public expects you to be able to pull out of your arse detailed information about their personal lives. Now, there has been some miraculous things come out of my arse in the past, but …

2. Respect Privacy laws

Joe Public: I’d like to know the balance on my account.
Me: Of course sir. Can you confirm your full name please?

Joe Public: Yeah, Public.
Me: Sorry, your full name for me please
Joe Public: Joe.
Me: And the PIN you nominated for you account sir?
Joe Public: I can’t remember.
Me: I do need it for security purposes, sir.
Joe Public: God, there are PIN numbers for everything these days. How am I suppose to remember.
Me: I understand, but legally I need you to provide me with the PIN.
Joe Public: Just let me into the account now.
Me: Would you like to try and take a guess at it?
Joe Public: This is ridiculous. I don’t know it.
Me: The alternative is that you will have to go to one of our centres with photo ID.
Joe Public: Let me into the f*#%*( account now!
Me: I’m sorry sir, I can’t do that until you provide us with the PIN.
Joe Public: You’re a cock sucker, aren’t you?
Me: What?
Joe Public: You’re a bloody cock sucker, aren’t you!
Me: Yes sir, and I have been complimented on my skills. But that still won’t get you into your account without a PIN.

Line goes dead.

3. Call Lifeline

Joe Public: Oh, I just wanted to say that I think there has to be a better way than to have to call you to activate my gift card.
Me: I’m sorry Sir, but these are the rules of the gift card. Your agent would have sent you a letter with all the details on it.
Joe Public: Yes, but you don’t understand.
Me: I’m sorry?
Joe Public: You don’t understand. I can’t go out in public.
Me: Umm.
Joe Public: And my wife, she recently had a fall.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that.
Joe Public: And my son didn’t get into the college that he wanted and we spent a lot of money.
e: *sigh*
Joe Public: And the cat had to be put down recently.
Me: I sorry to hear that, Sir. Would you like me to activate your gift card now?
Joe Public: Surely there has to be a better way.

Yeah. I am not a trained counsellor. Not a medical practitioner. But yes, dumping your tragic tale of woe on a faceless stranger on the other end of the telephone who earns seven quid an hour is cheaper than therapy.

4. I am NOT personally invested in you.

Joe Public: You sent me this damn letter.
Me: Well, not me personally Sir. Could you read me the details please.
Joe Public: You send me a letter that says I haven’t paid my bill.
Me: That sounds like our standard computer generated letter.
Joe Public: Well I don’t appreciate YOU sending me a letter saying I haven’t paid my bill when I have.
Me: I’m sorry Sir, that letter was generated by one of our computer systems. At the time the system had not received the fund from your bank. But yes, it has been paid. As the letter states, you can ignore the letter if you paid it in the last couple of days.
Joe Public: Yes, but where do YOU get off send me a letter like this?


I don’t know you from a piece a cat turd on the street. Most call centre agents don’t care about you personally. They are just doing a job. And if a computer sends you a standard form letter, realise that there is nothing but a string of algorithms that your account just happens to comply with at that particular time. Think yourself somewhat lucky that a human being may have even touched your letter by placing it in an envelope.

5. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Joe Public: I’m not angry at you and I know it’s not your fault BUT ….
*cue the twenty minute tirade*

Yeah, scream and shout at me, blame me and insult me,  and you will only get my back up. I will resolve your problem and give you the least you should be afforded within the terms and conditions. Be nice to me, and work with me to resolve your issue … you’d be surprised what can be afforded to you within the interpretation of the terms and conditions. Discretion is a beautiful thing. And it’s the only sword I get to wield in my job.


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