Customer Service

Beginning a New Job

I have been hired!

It’s been about a month and a half of unemployment, which has been frustrating, but thankfully the search is over. I will begin my new job on Monday next.

happy call centre

The great thing about customer service is that each customer has his/her own questions and personalities I’ll be navigating. With that comes many, many stories. I’ll be happy to share my experiences here with you when they start rolling in.

A couple years ago I was working customer service. An angry woman called in and said, “Pardon my French, but this is a load of bullshit!”

Well, honey, I speak French. And I told her that. In French.

I said the equivalent of “I’m sorry, that’s not French. I hope your grandmother is on fire.” Mostly because I could, not because I wanted her grandmother to burn. And because it is offensive to say that swear words are the same as the French language.

She responded with, “Don’t play with me!”

stressed_call_center

Well, I kept talking to her, I got to the bottom of her troubles and sorted her out. By the end of the conversation she was laughing and apologized for being so abrasive at the beginning of the conversation.

I’m hoping to bring these skills with me to my new position. Not the part where I tell people I hope their grandmother is on fire, because I don’t wish that on anyone’s grandmother. I want to take the part where I bring people from a place of frustration and confusion to a place of understanding and peace.

I try to do this in my writing by setting up a conflict for my protagonist. The difficulty I have with it is that I see the misunderstanding from the beginning and try to steer him away from the blunder. I have him stumble upon another character who will explain the confusion before it becomes a problem.

This is a bad thing to do. Because if I keep allowing my protagonist to have an easy time of it, my story won’t go anywhere. At the same time, when I see my character making stupid decisions even after I tell him not to, I get angry at him.

“Well, you got yourself into this pickle, you can get yourself out!” I scream at my computer. Other patrons at the coffee shop are kind enough not to stare at me directly, but I catch their fleeting glimpses.

At an annual review, my supervisor told me that one of my biggest weaknesses is that I’m too kind. I let the clients do whatever they want to do when we have goals to work on, effectively getting zero work done. I wasn’t sure if that was a backhanded compliment or underhanded insult. I’m seeing it come through in my writing. I’m too nice to my characters, allowing no room for productivity.

As I begin my new job I will be as nice as production allows, provide the information that I can, and speak as much French as possible.

Image Credit: TMCNet

Image Credit: Jon Oropeza

Throwback Thursday – Week Stomach

Here’s a story I posted while I was working a customer service job. Enjoy!

Week Stomach – August 2012

I woke up this morning with a song stuck in my head.

I stumbled out of bed singing “Fixin’ to Die.” I was singing in the shower. Singing as I drank my coffee. Singing as I put on my shoes and gathered my lunch.

Then Dana told me that I am not going to die, it’s just Monday.

Fine. I’ll go to work then.

I used to think people who complained about Monday were whiny. They were stuck in a job they didn’t like. If they just tried to find some enjoyment in their job and the people they worked with, Monday would actually be a good day! “Hey! I get to go to work this morning!” I was sure they would sing as they crawled out of bed. And not the way I was singing this morning. Something more along the lines of “Oh Happy Day”.

I don’t know if I completely agree with that anymore. I don’t hate my job. I actually rather enjoy it. It’s painfully boring, but I get to do things while I sit in my cube. I write, read, listen to music. Things that I would be doing at home, but here I get paid for it.

I’d rather be home, though. I’d rather be sitting on my couch, in my unders, with a bowl of chips. I wouldn’t rather this every day of the week, but I do on Monday mornings when the thought of getting out of bed makes me sick to my stomach. Like someone who walks past wearing far too much cologne. And not good cologne, either. Something like Bod. That’s what it’s like Monday morning. Bod cologne.

Tuesday, though, seems like a completely different story. The days aren’t nearly as busy at work. Getting out of bed isn’t half as difficult (though my wife may disagree with that statement), and I feel as though the weekend is just around the corner. My co-workers don’t seem to appreciate it when I say, “The week’s almost over!” on a Tuesday. I don’t know why…

I’m not convinced Wednesdays exist. I never remember anything that happens on a Wednesday. My supervisor told me I shouldn’t put so much Bailey’s in my coffee on those days, either, but I don’t think the two statements are related.

Thursdays are slow. Not painful like a Monday, but it’s the day before the day before the weekend. It’s the armpit of the week. If Monday through Friday were a set of bathrooms, Thursday would be the dingy outhouse that no one wants to go to because a spider might crawl up his or her nether parts. There’s not a lot one can do to spruce up a Thursday. It should probably just be burned.

Then the glorious Friday. The day that gets far too much credit. The day that is grossly overestimated. The day that holds her power over the other days of the week like an older sister with her first set of car keys. With her first un-shared bedroom. With her cute little sundress that mommy and daddy bought her. Everyone adores her and she knows it. She’s a diva. She would be the bathroom with a clawfoot tub in the middle of the room. Just because she can.

I feed right into Fridays. I love Fridays. I try not to, but I can’t help it. I get to go home and veg out for the next two days. Or go out of town. Or whatever I want. How is this a bad thing? And sometimes I get paid on a Friday. Those are the Fridays worth working for.

But, for every Friday comes a Monday. And these are the mornings that I wake up to face death. Or phone calls. Whichever comes first. I couldn’t tell you which would be worse.