Ring, ring, why did you give me a call?

One of the hazards of working in a call center, is the fact that you cant control when you’re going to get a call. Most of the day, doesnt matter, because even if its just before your food break, you take your time from when you’re actually free, no issue.

But there is one time when it really matters, and thats just as you’re getting ready to finish, and go home. Yes, last night, just before I was about to get finished, and do my ‘dash’ for the bus station (dash is an optional word nowadays, given the state of my body), I heard that dreaded ‘bleep’, and a call came through.

To be honest, it wasnt that long a call, just over 5 minutes to take the call, and complete the notes, but… in truth, I have about 3 minutes to spare to get my bus home, so even that, I’ve then got a 22 minute wait for the next one. Not the end of the world, but given I dont normally get home before 8.30, and that makes me later… Oh fine, at least I wasnt working today! Oh, and given I was then in no rush, I ‘consoled’ myself with a bar of chocolate! But fine, I’d still rather get home earlier, but…

To be fair to work, when that happens, and you leave more than 5 minutes late (and I did, just), you add it to your hours, so I dont lose at that end, not quite so bad.

Fine, I know, you dont know where I work, what my hours are, or anything, but please, 2 minutes before the end of my shift, dont give me a call! ­čśŤ

Video time. Vintage Abba, and seemingly vintage live Abba. Yes, I love Frida’s outfit, and collar, cant possibly think why? ­čśë

The call center challenge!

One of the issues with working in a call center, any call center, is the less than pleasant calls, generally from angry, or just plain rude customers, or staff. Yes, been there, done that, multiple times, lets just say that Glasgow betting shop staff are probably the rudest I’ve had the ‘delight’ of dealing with, and leave it at that!

Fine, given the nature of my current job, emotions can run high at times. Both because we are dealing with estates of the deceased, and because some people have unrealistic expectations of how quickly bureaucratic checks can be done. Not that I’m saying the situation is currently perfect, but if you believed some people…

Anyway, this week, I get to go on what work describes as a ‘challenging call’ course. All day Tuesday, part of Wednesday, its being held. Yes, some people have been challenging to deal with, but compared to some Glasgow betting shop staff, nothing I couldnt survive.

For me, and my less than stunning technological skills, the fact that I have to learn the new phone call system on Wednesday, after the other course is over, is far more scary! I know, I suspect its quite similar, but something new, just when you’ve got used to the old system, ah well…

Oh, and even more scary, next week I reach 59. Not that many years ago, I’d be 1 year away from retirement. Now, it will be just over 7 years, assuming they dont change the rules again in the interim! Mind, I suppose it means the pension payout will be better, so…?

Right, video time. Something that people ringing a call center are never likely to be doing!

The Perfect Call Center Worker?

Yes, hard to believe really, that this time next week, after 15 months (forgetting 2 weeks I want to forget), I will be a working woman again. Put it this way, I know its going to seem strange next Monday, going off to work again, especially as for one day, I will look the classy business woman, dressed in my black dress, though I’m pretty sure high heels will not be part of the outfit, unless someone wants to sponsor me for a large sum of money to do so? Especially if you were to offer it soon enough that I could actually afford a nice day out this week, before I get back to the grind.

In truth, I’d love that, even if I dont really need anything new, or anything, but hey, I could cope with a day at cricket, or a day at the races, or something, if anyone wants to offer? Just not tomorrow though, but the rest of the week, I could manage.

Why not tomorrow, I hear you ask? Simple, because I’m already booked up for the middle of the day. In truth, there are 2 things I really ought to get done before I go back to work, and one is getting my eyebrows trimmed/waxed, or whatever, and the other is getting my hair colored. I’m still working on whether I can afford to get my eyebrows done, on current finances (I think its going to have to happen, regardless), or not, but…Yes, fine, the hair really has to be done! It would have been due to be colored next month, regardless, but now it needs to happen sooner, just so I can look good when I start at work.

Is it irony if I say, sadly, its getting done by modern methods? I know, its safer to have your hair curled by modern methods, and todays coloring methods are far better, but anyway, fine, I’d just love, once, to have it curled like this

getting my hair permed

Yes, thats Jean, suffering for her pride, from ‘Libeled Lady’. Cant say she looks like she’s enjoying it, but fine, I wouldnt mind suffering like that, just once. Of course, the other thing that always tickles my imagination at the hairdressers is the hair dryer. Yes, the resemblance to a brainwashing machine is just way too good for me, especially the ones where the visor drops down over your eyes, and… Fine, I’d love it if there was 2 optional settings, one just to dry your hair, the other that did that, and brainwashed you at the same time! Sadly, never happened yet, and I suspect, never will!

Still, my new employers might appreciate the perfectly programmed call center worker, so if anyone knows how to arrange it, I’d love it to happen too! Or if someone just wants a perfectly programmed being, of any kind, then fine, I’d love that to happen as well!

One thing is for sure, I’m going to have to change how much I do online, once I get back to work, thats for sure! How much, not sure, but I suspect a fair bit, but I will see on that.

OK, the video. Its one of those weird, mind control type videos of sort, certainly not your average tame 80’s video, for sure! Much under rated song, I must say

Call centre amusement

Well yes, yesterday at work we had a moment that for me at least, was unintentional irony! Being Grand National day, in a betting related call centre, we had a sweepatake on the big race. Normally with these things, you draw a piece of paper, with a horses name written on it. Yesterday, we were reduced to numbers! Yes, just like a machine, we were mere numbers lol! Mind, there are many that would say that was quite apt for call centre workers somehow. I did make a joke about the silver suit and helmet with my number on it, but it went over my supervisors head lol!

No, my number wasnt a winning one, and for those who know me from my writing, and my old identity there, it wasnt number 8!

We might actually have even more fun there tomorrow, as we are changing email systems then, and given the chaos in the setting up process, I’m not expecting the changeover to be smooth. Unfortunately for this, I’m on the escalated desk tomorrow, so suspect I will get inundated with queries about it, though that is just as unlikely to have email service as anybody else. As I havent been on it for a few days, I have no idea if the trial run worked for it, or not, but given no one was able to send, or receive emails during that period, the trial run didnt tell people much anyway!

Fingers crossed, but…

Oh, and our call centre is nothing like the first one here, even if some of our shop staff might think otherwise. What we think of the intelligence levels of some of them, is pretty unrepeatable, though the word bimbo could easily come to mind with some!

Call centre workers, and the nature of the job

From a slightly cynical, and possibly jaded view, are we rather like robots?

Lets face it, we sit at a computer each working day, wear a headset connected up to computer and telephone, and repeat the same few introductory words more than a hundred times in a working day. Alright, the calls might vary slightly from there forward, but not greatly it must be said, most of the words are the same, and just flow accordingly. So yes, its pretty mindless stuff, just perfect for a robot! And yes, its fair to say there are times you just slip into that mindless, robotic state, and…

But equally, current robots just couldnt cope with the variation in calls, however slight, because as we all know, current automated services can offer you various options, but in the end, anything more┬ácomplex still has to be put through to a human operator. So yes, at present call centre workers are safe in their jobs, but in the future…

Mind, there are times when we call centre workers might be better off if we could just switch off, and go over to automatic robot-like mode at times. I know, I’d enjoy it far too much, especially if we had to undergo some for of mental processing pre-shift,┬ábut all the same…just imagine it,

“Welcome to ………, you are through to Stevie, how may I help?…Bleep!”