Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
  You Need Some Limits.

I realized today what is wrong with my customers. They are spoiled. They are people who have been given everything that they have ever wanted. No one has ever taken the time to explain to them limits of what their money can buy. I really think that is why they act so rotten. Children without real limits run wild and act however they want.

Now look, I'm not talking about that large number of reasonable and polite people who call me every day and don't ask me to lasso the frickin' moon. No, there are many customers who not only understand the limits of customer service, they have the good sense to appreciate it when we go the extra mile to help them.

The problem is that there exists this other group of customers, the extra vocal minority. This past week I dealt with one and one of my co-workers dealt with another. What shocked me about these two customers was their utter lack of limits.

The first one, fortunately, I did not deal with. One of my co-workers did. A trade went bad, real bad. The customer lost a lot of money, it was his fault. We did everything we could, we tried to contact him, we tried to correct him, but none of it worked. So what did he do when he called back and was confronted with his own failure? He told us that we did not do enough, and our lack of rapid service was the cause for him losing money. He became abusive and said we would reimburse him for his loss when he had the investment sense of a rabid squirrel on crystal meth that had happened to become romantically involved with an old issue of Fortune Magazine.

The next ray of sunshine was mine. We actually screwed up on this one. Everything was set up, and I was twenty minutes late executing it when one of my newbies reminded me. When I called him, I was cool and collected,
"These things happen. I'm sorry it took awhile to process, there was a rush at the time."
"But why? Why did I have to wait? Why was my trade delayed? Why didn't someone call me back?"
"I'm do apologize for the delay sir. I will do my best to monitor it and call you back as soon as we know the outcome."
"I...I want a call every 15 minutes. I must know as soon as possible."
"Very good sir."

Every 15 minutes...What a putz. Your commission does not entitle you to that kind of service. You can look it up on the web or get a call back when its complete. I am not your freakin' concierge, and this is not the Waldorf Astoria! I am not going to get you front row tickets to The Pajama Game, a carriage ride through Central Park and a Frappachino to die for!

It's not that you aren't important as a human being. I believe in the dignity and worth of all human beings. What I don't believe is that you, personally, deserve more dignity, more kindness, more attention and more of my time and energy when other people are just as important.

In our attempt to give better and better service at less money we have created a super race of parasitic customers that resemble cranky toddlers with no limits. We can provide better service to more customers and quicker response times if we stop coddling these terrible two year olds that are masquerading as 40 year old men with comb-overs and platinum credit cards. There are people that deserve less service so we can provide better service to the majority of nice, reasonable people.

Thanks for reading,


Anonymous Cog

Nice rant, AC. Feel better now? Actually, I think that you bring up a valuable point that needs consideration. At what point do customers start costing you? In an ideal world you bend over backwards and go the extra-mile for everyone and keep everyone happy - but it's not an ideal world. Some customers will not be satisfied and you can waste a lot of time trying to do so. We have refused to work with a few clients a long the line. The time and energy expended trying to please them and help them "get it" was not worth what they were paying us. To this day there are a few companies who, at the mention of their name, turns my stomach and immediately sets my blood at a slow simmer.

The reality is that there are customers who need to be fired.

Thanks for the post.
You bet I feel better! That's beauty of a good rant, it does wonders for all the emotional garbage that dealing with certain segments of the public can bring.

Thanks for commenting, Tom.

"a super race of parasitic customers that resemble cranky toddlers with no limits."

Um, you're talking about all Americans, right? Great post.
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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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