Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Do's and Dont's of Interacting with Your Local (Sort of) Customer Service Representative

Hello all!  Hope you all are having a wonderful week filled with libations, making money, and all that other good stuff.  In true Bianca fashion, I feel you all should know that I just spilled my wine all over my keyboard, which I will surely use as my next excuse as to why I don't blog anymore... But personally, I feel that wine on the keyboard is the very best reason EVER for not blogging, and I don't think any of you would expect anything less.

Anyway, I felt like it was necessary to explain a little bit about this new annoying job that I now have, followed by a snide commentary on people's incredible lack of phone etiquette (and, incidentally, people's plain stupidity).  So here's the skinny:

I now work for an insurance company.  Yes, everyone, I bit the big one and am now working for a huge corporate monster.  I swear, I tried to find something respectable.  This was the best I could do!

Anyway, I am essentially an over-educated customer service representative for this insurance company, all because some asshole decided it was necessary to have the people answering the phones have master's degrees.  But you know, it really does take a lot of brains to listen to people complain, verify their date of birth, and copy and paste information into a computer program.  Oh wait, you also have to continuously repeat the same things over and over again, so it's a good thing that I learned how to repeat useless drivel in two years of graduate school that I paid thousands of dollars for.  Yep, money well spent!

Note: You all might be thinking that the above comment is sarcasm.  That's how I initially intended it, but upon reading it over again, it's actually pretty close to the truth.  Ahem.

OMFG what a weird looking cat!

I have learned several useful things with this job though, the primary of which is an intimate knowledge of all the irritating things people do to make talking on the phone even more unbearable than it usually is.  The following is a guide to "The Do's and Dont's of Phone Etiquette", courtesy of your friendly customer service rep.

1. DO breathe heavily into the phone throughout the duration of the conversation.

Working in mental health, I, for one, am constantly worrying about the person on the other end of the phone.  Are they going to hurt themselves?  Might they go insane and strangle their partners in a fit of rage if I don't help them fast enough?  What if they drop off the line and I never know what happens to them?

That's where breathing comes in.  By panting into the phone like a dog in heat, your phone mate will always know that you are still among the living.  It also gives you the opportunity to miss everything that that person says, so we all gets the pleasure hearing you say, "HUH??!" repeatedly,  and subsequently repeating the same thing over and over again.

Plus, let's face it, nothing screams SEXY like serial killer breathing into the phone.

2. DO eat a meal while talking with your local customer service representative.

Bonus points if your meal includes potato chips, soup that you can slurp, or carrot sticks.  Your customer service representative is very interested in knowing that you are keeping yourself alive and well through proper nourishment.  If you can burp into the phone, all the better, as everyone will be fully aware that not only are you eating, but you are also digesting!

Time to call my insurance company!
Maybe they can help me find my head.  Ahem.

This is also good practice to remind your friendly customer service representative that they haven't eaten in five hours, their break isn't for another 45 minutes, and thoughts of "holy-shit-I-am-working-for-an-insurance-company-and-will-die-and-go-to-Hell-for-all-the-crimes-against-humanity-that-are-committed-at-said-company-every-day. "  THANKS FOR THAT, ASSHOLE!!!

3. DO hold the phone as close to your mouth as possible.

Trying to discern what you're saying through the muffled garble of a receiver that is too close to one's mouth is half the fun!  A job should never be without a little mystery!  Launching an investigation into what one has said keeps your customer service representative on his/her toes, and ensures that you will surely get the help you need with minimal effort.

Bonus points if you act annoyed, as evidenced by name-calling or an escalation in your voice, when your customer service rep asks you to clarify what you said.  In this situation, it is best practice to insert the receiver of your telephone into your mouth and repeat what was said, because this will increase the chances of your phone mate understanding what you said.

4. DO call when you are in the middle of other business.

Bonus points if your call occurs while you are buying cigarettes, ordering fries in the drive-through, or soliciting a prostitute on the street corner.  Your customer service representative understands that you are a busy individual, and can't possibly take ten minutes out of your busy day to discuss matters such as mental health without other distractions.  It is quite probably that your inability to focus on one thing at a time has NOTHING to do with your need for mental health services, so don't worry about that.

5. DON'T allow the person you're speaking with to finish their sentences.

It is far more preferable to continue to interrupt them with inane questions that would be answered if you would just shut your mouth.

6. DO take as long as possible to form complete sentences.

Because no one has anything better to do than listen to you spell your address, one letter at a time, with a full ten seconds in between.  Inserting words such as, "Ummm", "Errrr", "Uhhhh", and "Yeeeaaahhhhhh" make your conversation doubly enjoyable to listen to, and will give your customer service representative ample time to roll his/her eyes and pray to God that you get to the point within the next five minutes.


And thus ends my petty rant about my job.  I keep telling myself that they call it "work" for a reason, and that it isn't necessarily meant to be riveting at all hours of the day.  But, to be honest, it would make me feel a lot better if all my lovely readers could leave a comment about something they hate about THEIR job, just so I know I'm not alone in my annoyance... You know what I mean?!!?

Unless you're unemployed, in which case, leave a comment stating how awesome it is to be unemployed so I can live vicariously through you.  SIGH, oh the good ol' days!!!

Hope you all are having a lovely week, and I am trying EXTREMELY hard to get caught up on everyone's blogs... My apologies for being an ass with comments.  Ahem.



Meri said...

At least one great thing came out of your job- this post, which made me laugh out loud. As usual. If you get some crank heavy breathing calls, you know who it is...

Liddy said...

If it makes you feel better, I'm working really hard to get an ASSOCIATE's degree in GENERAL STUDIES from a COMMUNITY COLLEGE, so not only do I not get paid for my efforts, but I will probably never see more than $15 an hour in my lifetime! YAY!

Sara said...

I love this post so much.

What I hate about my job is having to listen to office jokes ALL THE TIME. These old men tell the same jokes over and over again to every single person in the office, thinking they're hilarious, and we all have to laugh and pretend they're the funniest people we've ever met. Fuck you, old man!

Lorraine said...

I worked at a call center for three years and this was my life. Err'day. All day.

Right now the thing I hate most about my job is the very annoying co-worker who makes me fake laugh more than I ever have in 24 previous years of living. DAMMIT.


HD Cafe said...

Wishes you and your family a Christmas filled with joy and a Happy New Year!

HD Cafe