Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Friday, April 28, 2006
  Strange Relationships

One of the stranger things about working at a call center like mine, where we do both inbound and outbound calls, is the sort of relationships you have with your callers. There are customers that I know well, I have dealt with them for a long time and I can finish their sentences for them and know what they need. That's actually pretty cool. Those people make my job easier, and I consider some of them friends.

The majority of my customers are not my friends. They are in that grey area of almost acquaintances. It's like flying on a long flight where you actually talk to the person sitting next to you. You may be friendly, but you accept that you will never see this person again, so you actually make no real attachment. It's weird to get to the end of your day and you can't remember half of your conversations.

I know that its fairly unrealistic to think I would have the sort of conversations where we share deep feelings, talk about things that matter, and develop meaningful conversations. Yeah, that's some serious B.S. . I guess the thing that bothers me is that spending all day talking to people, having such curt, cold conversations makes me feel kind of cold and lonely. I think the nature of call center work kind of makes you feel a little cheap, like you are paid to be pleasant to people that are only calling because they want things from you. I guess when I say it that way it sounds like I should be wearing something low-cut with fishnet stockings, but its really just not a good look for me, I'd have to shave my legs too, and that's just not the sort of slippery slope I'm interested in going down at this time in my life.

Some of its a personal thing, I've never been very good at keeping friends, or developing best friends. The nature of my job just seems to amplify that. I guess I want to actually talk to people, to talk about things bigger then mutual funds and bonds, and to feel that they hear me. Marx was right when he said that work causes alienation. It alienates you from what you produce, and the people around you.

At least I can still press the mute button and abuse my customers that way. That always helps.

Thanks for reading,

AC

Anonymous Cog

 
Comments:
My Mute Button is my friend. That it what I tell all the new reps when they start. I used to work in finance, annuities to be specific and I know what you mean about how that doesn't lead to important soul reaching conversations. Now I work in health insurance for the elderly... sometimes the conversations touch me too deeply. But enough about me... Great Job on the review!!! =)
 
i forget where i linked to your site from.i also spend a lot of my working day talking to complete strangers on the fone,trying to sort out there problemss and such.yet i ,as you do,also sometimes find it hard to keep in touch with friends.it is a kinda strange world we live in.
 
I came to this conclusion a long time ago: call centre work is not about having real conversations with people. And it is lonely. You are under a kind of illusion that you're talking to people, but it's like eating diet food and pretending it's real food. And the comparison with prostitution is quite apt. Call centre work can make you feel quite dirty and violated. The people who manage to do it year after year learn to switch off.
 
Thats the story of many a call center employees. I myslef have been working with call centers for a period of 1 year and believe me it wasnt rosy at all.
For outsourcing voice, chat, email or back-office support, visit the website of Aumenta Call Center, India.
http://www.aumenta.cc
 
Sorry it's been such a long time since my last comment AC. I've been busy. :)

I still work for the same company but I'm no longer working on the helpdesk. I've been promoted to the knowledge management team with my company. Now I'm salaried, have a company laptop, and my only job function is to update the company knowledge base for all of our employees to use when supporting our clients.

I do recall that when I was making outbound tier 2 support calls, I had several people that I worked with once or twice a week. The company I supported was prominent bakery based out of Mexico City, but found all over the southwestern United States.

There was one vice president that I enjoyed talking to. She would always request that I be assigned to her cases, and with her executive pull, she was able to get that done. I enjoyed being able to have a friendly conversation with some of these people, but yet others I could do without.
 
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