One of the most stressful job (to date) is being a call center agent! I’ll bet my life that a lot of call center agents would agree with this!
By the time we log in at the start of our designated shifts, we are to keep logged in the whole 9 hours — with 7.5 hours talk time (non-stop talk if calls are queuing ), two 15-min breaks and an hour lunch — we are not allowed to waste a single second doing nothing but be ready to answer calls as they come. Sure, we do have personal auxes but these auxillary times are for our wee breaks and for us to get water from the pantry or scattered water dispensers. We’re not at all allowed to eat on the floor, to chat with colleagues sitting next to us or to utter a single vernacular word as ex-pats continue to roam around. But all these are nothing compared to the stress we are getting as we answer phone calls. Not only did we get so stressed out apologizing and empathizing non-stop but also explaining processes and policies, giving instructions to resolve a certain issue, eating our hearts out establishing rapport, keeping our heads cool when calls get way out of hands and bearing in mind that we can never, ever talk back to our customers,at any rate. And that means, you just stay calm when customers started shouting at you, swearing at you and calling you names (wonderin’ why call center agents love the bitch and f-word?. It is because we hear them from customers a whole damn lot). Some would even go as far as insulting you for simply being a Filipino no matter how good you sound over the phone and how good you accent is. When someone called you the bitch from the Philippines, the most that you could do is warn the customer to stop blabbering, then hang up, but never retort and say, “T@#ena mo!!! “”
Say we, call center agents are allowed to respond in a manner we’re all wanting to, these are my would-be answers to given scenarios. Sarcasm becomes me.
1. Customer : I am not a technician, therefore I don’t have time to read the manual. It’s your job. Call center agent : Oh is that so, so what is that manual or operator guide for, display? No wonder you know nothing about the machine/product!
2. Customer : You’re not very helpful or You didn’t help me at all. Call center agent : Just because we’re not able to resolve specific issue doesn’t mean I am not helpful or I don’t wanna help you. After going through all the steps with you, you’re still thinking that I am not helpful?! We can’t force the machine or product to work if it’s busted, can we?
3. Customer : What am I to do with this product, throw it outside my window? Call center agent : ” Why don’t you try, hah, for a change?
4. Customer : This product/machine/service sucks. Call center agent : And you think your attitude doesn’t?
5. Customer : I can’t understand you, you have an accent. Call center agent : At least I’m bilingual, know how to speak Filipino and English. Can you speak Filipino? Chinese? French? Duh!
6. Customer : This is your job. Call Center agent : Of course, it is. That’s why I am helping you. But my job is to make sure your issue got resolved, it isn’t in my contract to break company policies and definitely not to make miracles! Walang himala.
We all have jobs to do and since answering phone calls and resolving isssue to help a customer feel better is our job, we’re inclined to give our darndest best. The customers, the callers give us job and in return, we do our jobs to help make thier lives a little better. Simple commerce.
But we also want respect from the callers, from the customers. Since we all want to be respected, and since to be respected means we should also repect other people, we should all learn to co-exist. Respect is something that’s earned and not something that’s being imposed. In order to be treated with dignity, one should make the other person dignified as well, in whatever he says, especially, in what he does.