Friday, March 14, 2014

When you're on hold.. are they listening in?

A tipster wrote to describe a disturbing experience recently with a customer service attendant at one of the big companies.
   The customer had a complicated situation and wasn't finding the attendant receptive to his questions.
   He eventually asked to speak to the supervisor, which required him to be put on hold.
   The hold option did not come with any recordings or music.
   It was just plain silence as he waited.
   While on hold, the customer had a private conversation with someone in his home, privately expressing his frustration with the attendant.
    When the company attendant finally returned she asked him questions about the private conversation he had in the room, asking why he had spoken about her in a disrespectful manner.
   So in other words, the attendant, while pretending to be away from the call dealing with what had to be dealt with, was actually listening in and snooping in.
   Having worked at such a job for a long time, I can attest to having seen crazy behaviour by such phone attendants.
   The trick of listening in could probably done quite easily simply by manipulating the mute button.
   The mute button is the hidden weapon for the passive-aggressive impulses of such attendants.
    Phone workers press that mute button to secretly grumble about customers with great frequency.    So behind the scenes when you call, (especially if you're an anglo) the attendant is quite possibly really saying "Good morning, how can I help you? (presses mute) ASSHOLE?
   It's a bad habit that I've seen countless times. Alas, contract workers are far less likelier to do it, as they tend to be on their best behaviour knowing that they can be left off the schedule at any time.   
 While that sort of thing is entirely harmless, listening in to a home conversation while pretending to have that person on hold is another thing entirely and seems like a grievous offence.
  So the moral of the story is: if you can't handle the emotional pressures of a customer service job, go get another job.
   And the second moral is, if you think they can't hear you when you're on hold, you might be entirely incorrect. 


Piper said...

Shitty customer service has a few levels.
-always determine: crank or not
(1) if determined "crank", sendoff to psychologists
(2) if legitimate complaint, ignore and hope the annoyance goes away.

emdx said...

"So the moral of the story is: if you can't handle the emotional pressures of a customer service job, go get another job."

This is what irks me the most with Anglos: their worship of personal responsibility, always putting the blame all the way down to the victims alone.

Like if everybody freely chose to have a shitty job. Like if poor people decided for themselves to be poor. Like if sickly people had decided to be born from the "wrong" parents. Like if refugees chose to come to life in a hellhole of a country, or decided to be born there in the "wrong" ethnicity.

In Québec, "we", the Francos, believe that Society as a whole is just as responsible for it's members as the members are responsible for themselves. We don't totally reject personal responsibility, but we don't worship it to the maximum either.

That's why we have the SAAQ, which gives the lowest car insurance premiums. This is why we have a lot of social programs. This is why we have the lowest tuition in Canada. This is why we have the OQLF. This is why we have a big, overbearing government: we don't want anyone to get a raw deal out of life.

We have had got such a raw deal out of life when our lives were governed by the failed bourgeois (if they had been successful in Britain, why would they have bothered to come here?) who took over 250 years ago. Then, after 200 years of poverty and disenfranchisement, we said "enough!!!", and gave ourselves a big government to look after ourselves and fix the failures of the laissez-faire free market that had given us such a raw deal.

A lot of Anglos lament this as the end of a "golden age" for Montréal. Wrong! For us, it was the time where our standard of life increased tenfold, where we were freed from the constitutionally-imposed shackles of the catholic church brainwashing. The small minority Anglos lost the control over the overwhelming Franco majority; if you view this as a regression, you are the one who is regressive.

Sorry, but to me, reading "So the moral of the story is: if you can't handle the emotional pressures of a customer service job, go get another job." makes you come accross as an uncaring, mean person that doen't understand what a Franco Society is.

Marc said...

First of all, I don't buy this story. Sounds like pure fiction to me. I've seen/heard no evidence of such a thing happening.

And Kristian, who do you think you are to lecture morality to others?

Kristian Gravenor said...

Hi Marc, thanks for the feedback. Um.
I had a lengthy discussion with the person who described this to me and he said he's making an official complaint. As for lecturing I dunno what you mean. I saw so many people snap, like they're going nuts in these jobs. Large chunks of the work roster was away at any given time on mental health disability. It's weird. Seriously, time to replace these jobs with computers or something.

Piper said...

Marc, is it unreasonable to consider that this type of activity might actually happen? I'm always nice and patient when contacting customer support (the callback option is great) but I imagine that others may not be.

emdx, did someone piss in your cornflakes or something?

Jean Laplante said...

Probably the agent chose to put him on mute instead of hold. I did it a couple of times myself.

Marc said...

When you hit mute, you can't tend to the other call. It sorta defeats the purpose.

Marc said...

"Seriously, time to replace these jobs with computers or something."

Precisely the wrong way to go. The reason people are irate on the phone is because they need to deal with obnoxious voice recognition and endless numerical menus. It's like going through a maze just to speak to someone. Proper customer service means you have an actual person answer on the 2nd ring. No more talking to machinery. Ask John Tshohl; he's the guru of customer service.

Oxford's Magazine Rack said...

emdx: "This is what irks me the most with Anglos: their worship of personal responsibility..."

I honestly don't know which is more reprehensible: casting dispersions on the idea of taking responsibility in life, or attributing this "irksome trait" to a linguistic group!

Seriosusly, I would be interested to know whether you stand by these assertions. They strike me as the kind of ideas that one would regret publishing...

Blork said...

Isn't it possible (probable even) that the attendant put the guy on mute while she was looking something up, or waiting to hear from someone who she put the question to? After all, why keep the line open making small talk?