21 Things Only People Who Have Worked in a Call Centre Will Understand

The underappreciated backbone of our society, call centre staff help us keep our water turned on, our gas running and our internet downloading at peak speeds. In a world which demands immediate solutions to an endless array of problems, call centre staff take on the responsibility of answering those difficult questions from often irate callers demanding immediate (and often impossible-to-meet) satisfaction.

Julie Santos · 14th December 2016

Anyone who has ever worked in a call centre, even for just a week (it can be an unforgiving environment, for some) will attest to the unique challenges the role provides. From angry callers to optimistic sales targets, call centre staff are tasked with an extremely difficult job. But if they didn’t do it, the whole of society would crumble around us in a heap of faulty kitchen appliances and a plethora of other problems we can’t resolve alone.

So, to celebrate our call centre brethren who work day in, day out to help us with all our problems, here we have collected 21 things only people who have worked in a call centre will understand.

1. The Hand-Shaking Terror of Answering That Very First Call

It’s your time to demonstrate that a week of shadowing a senior member of the team and a training session or two has turned you into an all-knowing well of information with limitless patience and diplomacy. But what if the caller is mean? What if they ask an impossible question? There’s only one way to find out – steady your hand and answer that first call.

2. The Joy When the Hold Music Changes

For callers annoyed by the same five songs repeated on hold, spare a thought for the call centre workers who have to endure them for months on end. Even after the shift has ended, the nasally refrain of “you’re beautiful, it’s true” continues to ring incessantly in the call centre worker’s head.

3. The Hilarity of Hearing Callers Reel Off Their Embarrassing Password

‘TopLuvva88’ and ‘ChadKroegerIzKewl’ are both quite secure passwords. Doesn’t make them any less hilarious when we’re trying to unlock your phone.

4. The Dread of an Already Angry Caller

The curt, almost-shouted “yes, hello” at the start of a call rarely indicates that this is going to be fun, polite or at all pleasant.

5. The Horror of a 4.59 Call

Could you not wait an extra 90 seconds to call, when the next shift has taken over?!

6. The Thrill of a Wireless Headset

Now, we’re free to roam like a Wall Street Wolf around the office as we close a sale or resolve a longstanding issue. We’re not tied to our desk, we can stroll around, get the blood pumping and the mind working faster. We can visit the printer and chat – output and efficiency are through the roof. And we kind of look like we’re helping astronauts land another successful Apollo mission.

7. The Allure of a Sexy Voice

I know we’ve never met, and you’re more concerned about getting your hot water back on before the school run, but your soft Irish accent makes me believe that we could be soulmates. Is this fate?

This happens about six times a shift.

8. The Secret Joy When the Systems Are Down

Feign irritation, and then off to the breakout room for a brew and a few biscuits before the systems get fixed and normal service resumes.

9. The Embarrassment of Forgetting the Phonetic Alphabet and Having to Fumble Through

“So, that’s Mrs Perkins, P for Pea, E for Eek, R for Arch, K for Case, I for Eye, N for Enjoy and S for Spaghetti Strainer.”

10. The Threat of a Twitter Rant

The new weapon in the arsenal of the dissatisfied customer. “I am hugely influential on Twitter, I have more than 100 followers, including a retired journalist from the local weekly.” The threat of a Twitter-based rant is growing increasingly common amongst callers attempting to gain leverage in a situation which can’t be easily remedied.

11. The Delight of Spotting a Birthday Cake Winding its Way to the Breakout Room

God bless Sharon from outbound and her parents for delivering her on this blessed day, 42 beautiful years ago.

12. The Pain of a Bad Phone Line

And the recording of their personal details which is nigh-on guesswork with the crackling of the line, howling winds in the background and a phone seemingly held two rooms from the speaker’s mouth.

13. The Frustration of a Never-Ending Call

Whether you’ve got call time targets to hit or just want to help as many people as possible, there always seems to be one caller who just wants the conversation to continue. And when it does conclude, you’re torn between breaking company policy and asking the chatty caller whether there’s anything else you can help them with.

14. The Bladder-Busting Discomfort of a Never-Ending Call

Even when your caller really needs help that only you can provide, that does not stop nature calling. However, this can usually be resolved by explaining that you need to discuss the problem with a colleague and popping off for some sweet relief.

15. The Pride After Completing an Amazing Notepad Doodle

Even if it’s just a way to keep your hands busy during a call, there’s a certain pride when you manage to doodle a near-perfect circle or an ace dog on your notepad.

16. The Fear of Being Sat Next to the Office Cougher

There’s always one – and whilst we sympathise, it’s hard to concentrate when sitting next to someone who has a perennial frog in their throat.

17. The Mute Button Panic

Did you definitely remember to press mute on your headset before talking about your evening plans with a colleague? The fear that you caller may be privy to your private chats is a little too real.

18. The Horror of Taking a Bite of a Snack and Not Finishing Chewing Before Being Asked a Question

Chewy and difficult to break down snacks are prime offenders, forcing you to swallow a huge clump of a Snickers bar before trying to force out an answer without your delicious snack telling in your voice.

19. The Weird Anxiety When It’s Quiet

Have they fixed the internet permanently, for good, forever? Why is no one calling? Does my job still exist? This anxiety lasts about a minute for most call centre workers, until a barrage of calls roll in once again.

20. The Fear of Pronouncing Someone’s Name Incorrectly

And hoping that retired Coventry City midfielder, Zbigniew Kruszynski, never gets through to your department.

21. And the Satisfaction of Helping Someone Who Had Given Up Hope

There’s nothing better than receiving a call from someone at the end of their tether, and helping them overcome their issue. Just knowing you’ve restored their faith in mankind, or helped them email their grandson for the first time, is almost as good a wage bonus at the end of a month. Almost.

At go2 telecom, we have been helping call centre teams handle complaints, enquiries, requests and sales for more than 15 years. Providing high-quality telecoms hardware and services to small and medium enterprises throughout Europe, we partner with major brands including Poly, Logitech, Jabra, Sennheiser and Cisco.

For our full selection of products, head over to our homepage or call our friendly sales team on 01925 768 250.

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