Holy Mother of God Long Rant

I work in a call center. I'm not bitching about it. I don't hate it. I'm a student, and it's actually a pretty good gig. Decent wage for a part time job, flexible hours, and a fair bit of down time that can be used for studying, reading, even writing

I work in a call center. I'm not bitching about it. I don't hate it. I'm a student, and it's actually a pretty good gig. Decent wage for a part time job, flexible hours, and a fair bit of down time that can be used for studying, reading, even writing papers. It can be dehumanizing at times. People can be really hateful when they can't get what they want. But people can be awesome too. I'm happy when I can make a customer happy. Unfortunately, that's not my job.

First of all, please believe me when I say that the "customer service department" is a thing of the past. Very few businesses employ an actual customer service staff. And the bigger the business, the less likely they are to have in-house customer support. Everything is outsourced. So when you call any phone service provider, bank, major retailer or manufacturer, or basically anything bigger than a mom-and-pop business, you are dealing with a call center.

Now call centers work as follows: A big or medium sized business pays a call center to handle it's customer support. That business does not want anything to do with you, the customer. So forget about demanding to speak to the owner of the company. Because that is never, ever going to happen. They pay that call center big bucks so that they don't ever have to deal with you. Call centers have many of these "clients". Managers in a call center will be in charge of liason with one or more clients. These managers do not take calls from customers. Ever. That is not their job. Their job is to deal with the clients, and their loyalty is to the clients. They do not give a fiddlers fuck about your problems. If you are told you're being transferred to a "manager", you are having smoke blown up your ass. You MIGHT get to talk to a supervisor. The supervisor did not get to be a supervisor because customers called up and said, "that Alex was sooo helpful! You should give him a promotion!" He is in that position because he has proven himself to be hard assed enough to stand up to the most intractable customers. He is not on your side. Most of time, however, when you think you're talking to a supervisor, you are actually talking to an "escalations agent". Escalations agents do not have more authority than the regular cubicle rats. They're just better at dealing with irate customers than the rest of us. They don't get paid extra for doing it, either. They do it because they enjoy it. They get a kick out of listening to you, the customer, frothing at the mouth in impotent rage. Sometimes they put you on speakerphone so everyone can laugh at you. The escalations agent is not on your side either.

So who is on your side? That would be me, dear customer. I, and my cubicle rat colleagues, are the only ones who empathize with you. We are the only ones in the whole call center food chain who actually want to help you. We know you're getting screwed, and we feel bad about it. We'll help you if we can. Sometimes we'll even do things that could get us written up if we get caught. Things like changing the date on your product registration to buy you a few extra days of warranty. We pretend we didn't hear you say you took your motor apart, because of course that would void your warranty. The other day, I gave a customer some parts in warranty that were damaged when the product fell off the back of his truck. And if my supervisor happens to monitor that call, I am going to catch heat for it. Because my job, as I mentioned, is not to make you happy. My job is to save the client money. But if you treat me like a human being, if you are polite and reasonable, and understand that I am just doing a mostly thankless and frequently unpleasant job, then I am very likely to stick my neck out for you. If you treat me like shit on your shoe, my empathy pretty much evaporates. If you think it's beneath you to deal with me, you're welcome to try your luck with my supervisor. Just remember that the higher up the food chain you go, the less sympathy you will get.

caveat emptor

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