Just Short Of Losing My Temper

Bit of a crazy day today. I almost lost of my temper with a customer. Well, actually I did lose my temper but my professionalism kept me calm under stressful circumstances.

It was a busy day starting with a nice gentleman calling to set up a policy. I set it up and informed him I was going to run through the cancellation details.

‘Cancellation for what?’ He asked.

‘The policy I just set up for you.’ I reminded him.

Great start for the day, which was followed up by a kind person ringing to tell me that they were sending in a cheque. What is the point of ringing a company to tell them you’re sending in a cheque? We can’t do anything until we’ve received the cheque. So what’s the point of sitting in a call queue to waste your time and our time? Crazy!

The highlight of the day, however, was an extremely rude, ignorant person, who happened to be of a prominent profession, which I won’t name. This was obviously an educated person who thought they knew better than me about doing my job. Said person really wound me up the wrong way.

I began by giving him an outline of what I was going to do while setting up the policy. This is not only politeness but gives the customer clear information on what is happening. Said customer immediately told me that I didn’t need to give him this information I could just take the payment. I explained that I needed to check that the property was eligible – he started moaning about that. I explained that due to regulations I had to give him certain information – he complained about that. I gave him the option of listening or sending the form in the post. He told me to hurry up and do it over the phone.

I ran through the details keeping very calm, and tried to be as pleasant as possible, while being interrupted several times. I finished everything and asked if there were any questions. Well this was just the wrong thing to say to this person. I was categorically told that I didn’t need to give all those details. I should have just taken the payment. If the customer says they don’t need the details then that should be accepted!

I explained yet again that we are regulated by the FCA and have to follow the regulations we are given.

‘I don’t care about these regulations.’ I was told. ‘You should just accept my payment and set it up.’

I informed the customer – categorically – that they wouldn’t do half a job in their career and I wasn’t going to do half a job in mine. Customer didn’t accept this either. All through the call I had been interrupted and this person had spoken over me. It ended with a bit of an argument where I had to take several deep breaths to keep calm. This person was extremely rude and ignorant.

But can you imagine what would happen if a professional person only did half a job? Take a doctor for instance:

‘Doctor, I have a high temperature, feel sick, have a severe headache, and a rash.’

‘Take this tablet.’

No name for the tablet. No details of how, when, how many times to take it. No details of what’s wrong with me. No details of possible side effects. Half a job. Not pleasant. Not satisfactory. Definitely not doing the job properly.

How about a builder just building the outside walls with no rooms inside?

I may work in a call centre. But I have a job to do. I have letters after my name and consider myself professional in my career. If my job includes giving certain information then that is exactly what I’m going to do. I don’t do half a job. I have far more credibility, sincerity, and professionalism in what I do.


Well I watched ‘The Call Centre’. It’s repeated tonight if anyone missed it. I have to say that I was rather surprised at a few things that were said on the show.

The manager likes to keep everyone happy. This is really good thing and he is absolutely right – if you are happy in your job, you work better. He likes people to sing. He also said that he had fired two people for not singing.

We have people who like to sing at our call centre. Some of them will burst forth into song at the drop of a hat. You often hear people singing pop songs, party songs, xmas songs, and there’s usually a chorus of ‘happy birthday’ somewhere in the call centre. However, if the managers tried to fire someone for not singing, the legal fall out for the company would be pretty bad. Let’s see…stress, humiliation, embarassment, discrimination… Need I continue?

The TV show had a scene in a training room where the trainees were informed not to yawn as it was rude. One woman yawned – the manager threw something at her. Legal implications…stress, humiliation, assault…

During the opening credits there was a scene showing two women looking through a window watching a guy dropping his trousers…sexual harrassment…

Another scene saw a young woman employee vommitting on the paving outside the office, and trying to wash it away with hot water…health and safety…

In fact the whole program gave the indication of a total lack of professionalism. I know this was the first episode of the series but it will give call centres a bad name.

I think it’s pretty realistic to assume that a lot of things in the program were written into the script, but this will just excerbate the disdain that some of the public already have for call centres.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, we have a lot of fun and games at work, but it’s always professional. But then the majority of people at our work place have letters after their name, or have gone through some form of further education. There are also a lot of mature people, and I don’t just mean in age, but people who have families, or know what they want from life. There are very few school leavers. The very young are normally people who are paying their way through university, and are aiming for something in life.

The company also does criminal checks on all prospective employees, and regular credit checks on existing employees. This is done because we are dealing with payments, and because it is professional to do so.

I will continue to watch ‘The Call Centre’. It will be interesting to see what other legalities crop up. And also what the critics are saying about it.

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