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Chronicles of a Call Center Agent

A Day in These Shoes

If you’re a call center employee, you can understand the agony of being in the customer service field. We are the imaginary punching bags that customers take out their anger and frustrations on. So what do I do? I survey people for a telecommunications company based in the middle of nowhere, Canada. Is it my dream job? A far cry from it but it pays the bills and keeps food on the table.

It’s not as bad as I make out to be. I have had some positive experiences from working at my job. I have had the opportunity to talk many different personalities over the past year. For example, I was able to talk to a World War II veteran. He was a Jewish gentleman from Bosnia. He lived in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Other customers that I enjoy talking to are old ladies. They’re always down to chat. I talked to this one elderly woman who had her own Golden Girls trio going on. Her husband had recently passed away and she was now living with a couple of her girlfriends. Another elderly woman enjoyed it when we sent our technicians to her home. She enjoyed having “young good looking men over” which made my day. That wasn’t the first time I talked to potential cougars. All in all, the people that you come across could be the silver lining in a very dark sky.

The job is not all rose and sunshine either. I’ve had the chance to meet some Grade A assholes over the past several months. For example, I accidentally called a customer a second time and proceeded to ask him the same five questions. Then he asked me if my ears were burning. Normally I wouldn’t have been offended by a comment like that. But growing up, my siblings would bully me for my big ears. I’ve had to grow into these ears. They used to call me “gosht pakora” which translates to pakora ears. If you are from the middle east, you would probably understand what they were referring to. This other time, I asked a customer if he was experiencing any problems since his last service call. He responded “not until you called”. At that moment I would have kicked him in the balls if I could. But I maintained my professionalism and moved on. There are some instances where you think ‘hey I really made that customers day.’ Then you look back in their notes and find out they tried to get you fired because they thought they would receive credit and a complementary service call the next day.

The job requires you to give up a part of yourself, your dignity and pride. In fact, you have to put on a whole other persona, almost like a split personality. This new person is going to be everyone’s doormat. They will be the nicest person you know. It will make you wonder, is that guy really that nice? No of course not, not if you are clinically sane. When you talk to customers, make your voice five octaves higher. Because nice people always have high voices that will trigger memories of your dead grandmother. The one who passed away from diabetes because she would always bake cookies and pies.

Anyways, thank you for experiencing what it is like in a day of a call center employee. I welcome you in sharing the pain of being in the customer service industry. 

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Chronicles of a Call Center Agent
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