I’m not a verbal punchbag

Dear Customer,

You’ve been screaming at me for the last 5 minutes about how you need your washing machine fixed because you have five children and WHY don’t I understand your situation?!

I don’t understand because I’m a 23 year old girl working in a call centre.  I don’t have five kids and I have acknowledged no less than three times that I understand the frustration but there is physically nothing I can do.  You eventually get sick of screaming at me and call me a stupid girl before hanging up the phone.  I make my notes and go on to the next call.

This happens daily in my job.  I understand that customers need their appliances, things like fridges and washing machines you generally can’t go longer than a few days without (when we moved into our flat we didn’t have a fridge so lived out of a cool box and ice packs for a month) but it really grates me when it’s a tv and your kids have “nothing to do.”  I know, I sound like a massive snob who’s going to say “well back in my day we used to play outside” 

The thing I don’t understand is why people scream and shout at me.  Yes you’re frustrated, yes you’re angry but taking it out on the one person who’s actually trying to help and is just doing her job isn’t going to get you anywhere.  I cannot make an engineer appear out of nowhere when there’s no appointments for another week.  I can’t magic up parts that need to be ordered in from Germany.  I can’t repair your washing machine when it’s unrepairable.  I’ve been told before that “You’re paid for this, I can talk to you how I like”  Yes I am paid for it, yes I did choose to take this job, but no I am not your verbal punchbag.  I am still a human being who deserves to be spoken to like one.  Just because you’re speaking from behind a phone doesn’t mean that I’m a robot with no feelings.  I’ve been made to feel like the worst person alive by people who’s kids won’t have clean uniforms that week or a woman with cancer who can’t heat up her dinner.  

If nothing else, working in a call centre has taught me how to speak to people.  We get calls through from people asking us to delete their number from the sales calls list and the nicest one I’ve ever had?  Someone who works in a call centre.  He said it didn’t bother him but the calls weren’t actually relevant to him so he didn’t want to waste anybody’s time, so would I be able to delete his number please?  That was fine, he’d asked me nicely rather than telling me where I can stick my phone and if they ever get a call from us again they’ll call the police and file a harassment charge against me personally….

Don’t get me wrong, you get some lovely people.  I’ve had a proper laugh with some customers before, and called back a few people when it’s been quiet because they’ve commented that they’re quite old and a bit lonely now, so I’ll call them just for a chat.  They balance out the screamers sometimes but there’s days where I just think why would anybody speak to another human being like that?

So next time you have to phone a call centre, please remember it’s an actual person sitting on the other side of the phone, I can promise you it’ll be appreciated.  


*stock image*


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