It’s Over!

Ok it’s over. We can all get our breath back again. Just another 12 months to wait for it to start up once more. Not long to go.

I had a lovely Christmas spent with family. Playing games and eating a really nice dinner. Lots of chocolates going round. And bloody awful TV! Apart from Mrs Brown’s Boys, which makes me laugh even after watching it 8 times, there was nothing at all decent on the box. We ended up watching my grandson’s new DVD, Horrid Henry, about 12 times. Some of the family wanted to see the news but it was so full of doom and gloom, so utterly depressing, that it was banned.

Tomorrow I’m back at work. How utterly exciting. Can’t wait. (Pure sarcasm there.)

I’m so glad I wasn’t in this weekend. I can just imagine what they’ve had to deal with. All the customers who have had problems over Christmas and have been trying to get through to claims but keep pressing the wrong options and getting no one. The very first option is ‘if you want an engineer’. There are many people who don’t press option 1. They could have no heating, or water leaking through the ceiling, but they’ll still press ‘for any other enquiry’ option. When we get back to work they come through and have a go at us, like it’s our fault that they can’t be bothered to listen.

Oh yes, I can’t wait to get back to work.



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The Call Centre

The second episode of The Call Centre is on. This time they’re having a competition to find the best call centre voice in Wales. The winners face will be on the side of the buses! We don’t have this competition in England. Don’t know why.

Nev, the manager has picked a hymn for them to sing. I’m sure the non-christians will be very pleased about singing a hymn, and will approach it with great gusto.

The candidates are called into an office to sing in front of three people. Some candidates are speaking rather than singing. They are actually doing better than the singers. One guy has a great voice, but one of the judges thinks his face wouldn’t be right on an advert. I have to say that the particular judge who said this looks like the back end of dog.

They’re still trying to fix the staff up with each other, on dates. I don’t think this will end well at all.

I remember, a few years ago, we had a few sex mad people at our call centre. It didn’t go down too well when they were caught on the table in the canteen during the weekend. The two a year company parties are just as bad. The stories run around the company like wildfire afterwards, which is not pleasant for the people concerned. Some people have left because of what they’ve got up to while drunk. Can’t show their face afterwards.

I’m actually enjoying The Call Centre. Legally, it’s extremely bad. It also makes the agents look uneducated and the women come across as bikes. But it’s addictive…

The Anti-Climax Of A Celebration

I’m looking forward to watching the TV program ‘The Call Centre’ tonight. The trailers look interesting. Lots of fun and games. If it’s anything like our call centre there will be a lot of things going on specifically for the cameras. I shall keep my comments until after I have seen the show.

We have TV cameras in from time to time, whether it’s for a TV interview or a company video shoot. People are sometimes chosen to sing or dance – to look mildly talented basically. The rest of us know it’s all put on and we try our best to avoid the cameras at all cost.

We also have fun days when the company is celebrating. I’ve been there for quite a few of these: We’ve been in the top 100 companies to work for on more than one occasion; I remember when we hit 3 million customers; all the times when the policies were upgraded; and countless other occasions. I’ve had my share of free bottles of champagne, chocolates, free lunches, sweets, big prizes, all sorts in fact.

I’ve also had back, shoulder and hand massages, tai chi lessons, health checks, my biological age checked (it took quite a few years off me), and lots of prizes. I’ve won a £150 red letter day, and a home theatre surround system, as well as loads of smaller stuff.

We had a celebration day yesterday, in fact. We had a glass of something (bucks fizz I think) on arriving at work, free breakfast, a big bag of wine gums, a rucksak type of bag that advertises the company – it’s bright yellow so you can’t miss it. We had a pen and a free mouse mat – both advertising the company. We all had our choice of ice cream, and a raffle ticket – I have no idea what the prize is. The raffle is supposed to be drawn later in the week (I think there were a few bags of wine gums left).

All this was due to one of our policies being enhanced, or upgraded. It’s our main policy so this change is a big occasion. They advised us of the changes some time ago, with the assurance that everything had been checked and all would go live yesterday. We had company briefings, and team briefings. There were memos about it, printed leaflets. In fact, this was all built up so that we were expecting a day of sheer brilliance.

The call centre started at 8am – we couldn’t log on to the system. Luckily we have the old system (from several years ago) that we were able to use. After the first few calls we found that the codes for the upgraded policy were not working.

The drinks were supposed to be served between 8am and 9.30am. I had mine nearer 10am. The breakfasts were due to be served to us at our desks between 9.30am and 10.30am. They brought them round at 11am.

We then found that some of the pricing information about the enhanced policy was not available on the system. The managers began to panic. Eventually, about lunch time, it was all sorted out. But this is not a new occurance.

Whenever they tell us that everything is working we know we are going to have problems. Whenever they build something up to such a height, we know it’s going to be a real anti-climax. I know this is not a good attitude to have, but it comes from experience.

I actually managed to keep my mouth shut yesterday and not make the comments that my managers were waiting for. I kept quiet but I wasn’t able to get rid of the smirk.

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