6) The Hands Free Lover
What’s the point of putting your phone on speaker and standing the other side of the room? It sounds as though you are speaking to a family member. We are only going to say ‘hello’ so many times before we assume you don’t wish to speak to us and we hang up. We’re in a busy call centre. It’s noisy. If you’re on speaker phone we can’t hear you.
7) The Frog
Also commonly called the Croaker or the Horse. Please don’t phone us if you need to clear your throat. We wear headsets so the sound of you clearing your throat is magnified and deafening. We are not paid to have our eardrums burst. And trust me it hurts our ears. I have often had to remove my headset because of this. I can’t hear or help you if you force me to remove my headset. Simple as that.
8) The Free Thinker
We are not paid to make your decisions for you. Too many customers phone in and ask us what’s best for them, or what should they do. People need to think for themselves. We don’t know what insurance your property needs. We don’t know what other insurance you may already have. So there’s no point in asking us ‘is it covered under my home insurance?’ How are we supposed to know? We are not mind readers. We sell insurance. It is not a call centre where you can ring and someone will make a decision for you. Do your own thinking. Try reading the documents we send out. Try reading the documents you have from other companies.
9) The Masquerader
Don’t pretend to be someone else. Not only is it annoying it’s also illegal. You may be phoning on behalf of an elderly relative but saying that you are them and that you are the policy holder, when you are not, is illegal. It is a criminal offence. You are, in effect, stealing someone’s identity, never mind committing fraud. If we find out that you are doing this, and the actual real person is not there, then you will be cut off. No doubt about it. We will end the call immediately.
10) The Upper Cut
There’s at least one person per day who thinks that they are better than we are. You can hear it in their voice as soon as we answer the phone. They often incorporate several of the aforementioned as well as speaking to us with a very obvious air of pomposity. They have their favourite phrases, such as, ‘Just get on with it.’ Or ‘I don’t need you tell me all that. I know it already.’ We invariably tell them something they don’t know. They then jump on us as if we have no right telling them the facts. They should just remember that they are phoning us because they want our help with something. Not the other way round.
These are but a few of the annoying types who phone us. Of course they don’t make up the whole of our customers. Luckily. Many of the people who phone us are really nice, friendly and intelligent. Most of the time we can have a laugh and a joke with the customer.
We constantly get callers who don’t know how to use the telephone with the correct etiquette – or manners as it’s more commonly called. Here’s a list of some of the more common rude mannerisms.
1) The Hollywood Actor
We’ve all seen the films where some actor or another has to use the phone. They never hold it correctly. The receiver is always held with the hand around the phone. If it’s the conventional landline then the hand is around the mouth piece at the bottom of the phone. If it’s a mobile their hand is usually around the whole phone especially the bottom part where the mouth piece is. They don’t worry – they’re actors and not actually making a real phone call. But many people – wannabe Hollywood actors – do exactly the same thing when they’re making a real phone call. Result? All we hear is a garbled, muffled sound. We haven’t got a clue what you’re going on about so there’s really no point in you phoning us. Go away.
2) The Nervy Type
This is the person who is so nervous about phoning in that they actually haven’t stopped to think about what they’re phoning for. All we get is a load of stuttering, uming and arghing, and then a story that is so disjointed it makes no sense whatsoever. Result? We are literally left speechless. Although we have a lot of sympathy for nervous people – we don’t bite – we would much rather you think about what you want before phoning us. Write it down if it helps. Or talk slowly until things come back to you.
3) The Ill Person
We really have no business knowing about your ills and woes. It has nothing to do with us. You may be really sick – we do have sympathy and feeling towards people. We are human after all. But telling us a sob story about the 16 different types of illness you have will not get you a discount. Then there’s the people who have coughs and colds. Now I know we are all prone to these annoying maladies, and we all have to continue our normal daily stuff (accept if you have man flu and then the rest of us have extra chores). But when you call someone it is a very good idea to give your nose a good blow before phoning. Also have a good cough before calling. Keep a glass of water handy. Coughing down the phone, sniffing down the phone, or blowing your nose while on the phone certainly won’t pass the virus to us, but it makes us feel nauseous. We are not going to sit at our desk and start vomiting. Being made to vomit is against our health and safety therefore you will get cut off.
4) The Chewer
It’s definitely not cool to phone someone while you are chewing or eating. It sounds disgusting. Slurping down the phone is not trendy or fashionable. Why not put the food down or chuck the chewing gum when you make a phone call? It’s bad manners to eat down the phone, it sounds sickening, and you deserve to be cut off.
5) The Shouter
Trust me on this. If we can’t hear you we will tell you. There’s no need for you to assume that we are deaf. We work in a call centre and so far I have not met anyone in there who has hearing difficulties. If you, the customer, has hearing difficulties please don’t assume that we do also. We don’t. You do not have to shout. We can’t do our job properly if we have the hold the headset a foot away from our ears.
Here’s just a few to get started. Part 2 coming up…