Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Sunday, July 25, 2004
  45 minutes!!


"I've been on hold for 45 minutes! Don't you think that's ridiculous! 45 minutes! How can that be? How could I be on hold for 45 minutes! Why was I on hold for 45 minutes?", barked the livid customer into my ear. If I did not know any better I could have sworn there was a white froth coming out of the earpiece.

But I had had enough. I had been sitting doing nothing for the last 30 minutes, I had a snack, drank some diet coke, and talked with my coworkers about nothing in particular. The phone had rang off and on, but we would have seen a call hanging out there for that long. The phone system has a bug in it where people get lost in a different kind of call center purgatory if they ring in a certain way.

It was the last hour of the day, and I could not deal with this kind of crap anymore. Finally I said to him, "What, do you think we are sitting around here saying, 'Look, that guy has been on hold for 45 minutes. It's funny when people hold. Hey everybody, let's leave him there another 45 minutes'? I'm sorry you were on hold for so long, but we are having some problems with the phone system. Now would like me to help you now or not?" He settled down, and I took care of his request and he hung up.

This same guy had called earlier in the day and had complained to one of our supervisors that one of the people here talked down to him, when they just asked him questions he did not know the answer to.

Some people just seem to be the perfect genetic combination of ignorance, arrogance, and impatience. Then with that foundation firmly in place in their genetic make up, their mother drops them a couple of times on their head, then assures them that everyone else was placed here to serve them, and yes, all of the planets and all of the solar system, and comets and other heavenly bodies revolve around them and them alone. Thus completing the process of creating and nurturing a perfectly formed, razor sharp, craftsman quality, well designed asshole.

OK.....I feel better now....

Some of you are thinking that I have lost my love of people and am unable to care about people like I used to, that I am becoming a snotty jerk. No, I don't think I'm to that point yet. It's not that I don't care he was on hold for 45 minutes. I just don't like being abused for something I can't fix, by someone who is not smart enough to call back later when he can't get through.

What this kind of customer wants to hear is this: "I'm sorry sir, I didn't realize that it was you on hold and not an ordinary schmuck like all the others. We will call out the elite call center operators that we keep stationed just for emergencies with special clients such as yourself. I promise that you will never hold again for more than 30 seconds, and if it does happen I will personally disembowel myself on the call center floor for the dishonor I have brought to my noble profession."

Abuse will never get you what you want with anyone, and if it does, it is at the pain and expense of the person you forced to help you. Besides that, now and then you're going to have someone tell you exactly how they feel about you, and your mom won't be there to disagree with them.

OK...I know I went a little overboard....I'm going to go lie down for a while now....
I know it's been a while since you posted this, but I came across your page while I was looking this subject up on yahoo (call centers and arsehole customers). I have to say that the design of the "perfect asshole" is, by far, the best I have heard in a long while. I've had 7 years call centre experience, 2-1/2 at an outsource centre for AOHell Tech Support, 6 months Time Warner Cable of New York City Billing - the last half of that one taking supervisor calls -, and 4 years at an answering service. I could not have described one better.

Anyhow, have a good day and, if you're still serving time in pergatory, I'll light a candle for us both...

Thanks for the comment Matt.
Seems all the companies have moved their "techless support" to the oddshore tech centers. You get some arsehole who is patronizingly speaking your name every 5 seconds and obviously doesn't have a clue what the problem really is, but reading from an insane script. D-Link, GE, to name this weeks contacts and SBC Yahoo to name the more recent. Maybe we should simply require the manufacturers provide the tech support line ahead of purchase and we call it to find out who the hell is on the other end. If they cn't speak Engklish and understand what we need, then we shouldn't buy the product. Maybe, just maybe, they would get the point?
I would have loved to empathize with u AC however I am not sure if this word would comfort you or sent you reeling. I like the way you try to put things and get it off your chest. My friend I have been there done it and walked away unscathed... this time would also pass and trust me you would be on the other side of the line too. Keep the pecker up.
Thanks for the kind words.
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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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"One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better." -Blaise Pascal

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