Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Saturday, April 10, 2004

I had almost made it through the day when the call I was dreading came in. It was from the most difficult customer we have with a thorny problem. It came in 5 mins before I was to walk out the door.

Some of our customers are other companies who contract us to provide financial and sometimes logistical support to their customers. What this means is that I can end up having up to three different people telling me what to do at one time.

Customer A is the one that actually pays my company and has the ultimate say. Customer B is the recipient of the services that Customer A pays me for(follow me on this,its tricky). "A" wants his customer to think that the service I provide is a wonderful reason to use their service and buy their products, but "A" also has a lot of hidden limits and costs that they will not reimburse me for. "A" must approve all of my actions if it does not fall within certain pre-approved instructions. When "B" partnered with "A" and bought his product and services, a salesman went out of his way to explain what a great value the service that I provide is. In fact the salesmen do not understand, or do not care, the limitations of the service I am allowed to provide to "B". In fact, according to industry wide expectations I should provide 2 times the level of service I am allowed to provide to "B" .

It's also important to note that when we took "A" on as a customer, I was one of the ignorant bastards* that agreed to be one of the few specially trained "technicians" that was the only one allowed to handle any calls from "A" customers. I said all of that to explain what happened today. The call came in and I handled the call and took care of "B" in a way that he was happy with. I had to take a credit card payment over the phone from him for the services because it was outside of regular parameters. He understood that, but was happy because everything had worked out agreeably.

I had to stay to make sure all of the I's were dotted and all of the T's crossed before I closed out this job. Twenty minutes later, "B" calls back telling me that the work I had previously done fell through, and he wants me to make it right because I already took his money. He wanted me to fix a situation and provide fair customer service after I had taken his money, he was right to ask this. He was hopping mad.

After putting the customer on hold to figure out what to do I threw a fit. I threw things, cussed, just lost my cool for about 30 seconds. I knew that "A" was not going to let me make things right, but was going to continue to be unfair and unyielding.

I called the after hours numbers for the person who is the president of the division of "A" and explained the problem we are in and asked him what to do. He explained that due to the circumstances involved, any further work I would do for his customer, I would have to get more money from "B" even though I had already taken their money and it followed instructions and it still did not work. He was not willing to let me make things right, and every option I was allowed would just piss "B" off more.

I gave "B" the options that the president of "A" gave me. I think he realized that I had been put in my place by "A" and had no room to maneuver. He had settled down after 15 mins on hold while I was on the phone with "A", but he was not happy, and realized that "A" was not providing the services they promised him and hung up, advising he would deal with "A" on Monday.

I finished up the file, documented everything, and called "A" back and explained that "B" would be calling on Monday, so he knew what to expect.

I was numb on the way home and the rest of the night. I had done the best I could and been accurate and still made everybody mad. I just cant deal with the stress of having to be unfair to people as part of my job. God, I need a change.....

*[I say ignorant bastard, because it added responsibility and stress, but included no extra money. Think you dumbass, think! More money good...Extra stress and responsibility for same money-bad...]

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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

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