1. Being told that you’re not ‘motivized’ enough.
Or ‘incentivized’, for that matter. The word is motivated, and no, we’re not. Mainly because our managers keep MAKING UP WORDS.
2. Feeling terrified the first time you take a call.
You might have spent the last two weeks being carefully trained for every eventuality, but that doesn’t stop the crippling stage fright when you have to actually make - or take- your first call. What will they want? What if you don’t know the answer? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
3. Having to ask for permission to go to the toilet.
Or risk facing the Spanish Inquisition when you come back from taking a whizz if you don’t. It’s like being back at school. Why do you care so much about our bowel movements, managers? WHY?
4. The ENDLESS data protection training.
Yes, yes, we know. Don’t write rude comments on the customer’s file as they’re legally entitled to ask to see them. Can we go now? No? We have to have this training again next week? Great.
5. Targets, targets, targets.
The powers that be might genuinely believe that you can deal with a customer’s issue, close the call and write detailed notes on their account in the space of 2.34 minutes, but we all know that’s not true. However, that doesn’t stop managers giving you ‘tips’ to help you speed up, including staying late, not going to the toilet and being more ‘motivized’. Cheers.
6. Being shouted at. All the time.
You know what you’re about to say will make the customer angry, but you have to do it anyway. Things like ‘it could take up to two weeks’, ‘you don’t actually have an account with us’, or ‘I’ll have to transfer you’ are like red rags to a bull. If you’re lucky, you might get a brief ‘I know it’s not your fault, but’ before the rant, but it’s unlikely.
7. Getting ostracised by your coworkers for forgetting it’s a fancy dress day.
Hardly a week goes by without someone - usually a ‘wacky manager’- suggesting a fancy dress day. “It’ll be fun! We can donate money to charity! It’ll raise morale!” Then, when you try to sneak in without spending £100 on a Captain Jack Sparrow costume everyone shuns you. It’s a call centre, not Disney World.
8. ‘Motivizing’ morning meetings.
“Come on! Let’s get some energy in the room! If you smile on the phone, customers can hear it in your voice! Cheer up!” Managers: have you ever considered the fact that we’d be a lot more cheerful if you didn’t keep making us sing ‘Mr Brightside’ by The Killers at 8.55am every day?
9. Being asked to work unpaid overtime.
“Everyone’s doing it. We have to pull together to hit those targets. We can’t let the customers down. Someone’s got to answer those phones. We’ll order pizza. It’ll be fun! It’ll look good on your annual appraisal.”
10. The coworker who basically just wants to get fired.
In every call centre, there’s always one guy who really doesn’t want to be there and tells everyone who’ll listen how much he hates his job. The only problem is he drags everyone else’s mood down with him. Yes, we know the rules don’t make any sense and the managers keep making up words, but it’s Friday. Lighten up.
11. Taking calls that you aren’t equipped to deal with.
This sort of thing happens a lot, and it’s never fun. Weeping people telling you their life story, screaming customers claiming that they’re going to commit suicide, sexually inappropriate comments… when this happens, just remember: you have to wrap this call up in 2.34 minutes or you’ll get fired. Good luck!
12. Phoning a customer, only to be told that they died.
Also, their weeping widow isn’t exactly thrilled that you called. Thanks so much for not updating the account, admin team.
13. A minor cough = world’s worst illness.
Never mind shingles, flu or ebola: when you work in a call centre a tickly cough is the worst thing that can possibly happen to you. You try to hold it in while you talk, your face gets red, you think you can manage to hold off for the duration of the call and then BOOM, before you know it you’re deafening the customer with an epic lung explosion. Nightmare.
14. Having to come in at 8.30am to start up your computer.
You’re told that you ‘need to be at your desk and ready to take calls at 9am’, but the computers are ancient and the million programs you need to do your job take at least half an hour to load. And no, of course you don’t get paid for that extra half an hour. Why would you?
15. Not wanting to speak on the phone on days off.
Don’t try and phone call centre workers at weekends, it’s not going to happen. Use WhatsApp, Gmail, Viber, Snapchat, Facebook or carrier pigeon instead.
16. Getting home and noticing that your friends have been on Facebook all day.
“I had nothing to do at work today. I just read BuzzFeed articles and shopped online.” Whereas your web access is limited to the company intranet, which consists of a ‘fact of the day’ written by your line manager and a weekly column where the CEO describes the luxury holiday he’s about to go on. Nice.
17. Customers with unpronounceable names.
I CAN’T, Ruaridh MacEachthighearna. I just can’t.
18. Being told that your job sucks.
“Oh, your poor thing. What a miserable job. It must be terrible to work in a call centre.” How dare they say that? It’s highly trained indoor work with no heavy lifting, regular singalongs, bonuses and occasional free pizzas.
Internet access would be nice though.