January 30, 2013

Overheard on a Recorded Line

Something I've learned since starting my new job in September is that if a help line's phone greeting tells you that your call may be recorded for quality control purposes, that generally means that all calls are being taped.  It's both for QC and CYA purposes.  However, this thought seems to be lost on some people, and we get to hear some of the most interesting side conversations sometimes.

January 25, 2013

How To Piss Off A CSR

It’s Friday, and I’ve had a couple callers that did their level best to get under my skin today.  Rather than get my sweet sweet revenge in the way I wanted to.  (You know, like by using my mouth as a firehose to spray them with obscenities and question whether their parents were also cousins.)  I decided to type loudly and pound out a list of ways to piss off a CSR.  If it’s your purpose in life to be the bamboo under a phone jockey’s fingernails but you just don’t know how to manage it, here’s your starter lesson.

January 24, 2013

DIY Cards Against Humanity

The Samurai of Spoken Word have an event coming up where we're going to be playing a party game called Cards Against Humanity team trivia style.  I'm excited for several reasons.  First of all, it's going to be a hoot juut because the game rocks.  (It's best described as Apples to Apples for people going to hell.)  But, I also get to use my own home made deck AND be the MC for the night.  I can't wait for the 28th.

January 23, 2013

On Losing Daphne

My mom had to make the painful decision to have her dog, Daphne, put to sleep yesterday.  During the course of a discussion about both Daph's life, and my mom's fondness for spoiling her animals, I remembered the following story.  I wanted to write it down before I forgot about it and it was lost to the ages.

January 16, 2013

Hey, You! With the Name on Your Shirt!

In 2012, Americans on the internet went apeshit about armies of Invisible Children.  In 2013, we have continued to ignore the invisible adults.  Sure, I could turn this into a diatribe about homelessness or some other social issue, but I’m a vain, grumpy person at times.  This is gonna partially be about me, or at least, partially about my industry.  You see, depending on who you talk to, working in call center makes you a member of “The Help” social class.  Other members include, but are not limited to the cleaning crew, the lady in the hairnet that makes your sandwiches at the sub shop, the guy who plunges the clogged toilets at work, and the FedEx guy.  On the hierarchy, I believe that the d-bags among us put this class somewhere between dog shit on your new Manolo Blahniks, and severe burn victims.  It’s an unfortunate existence.

January 4, 2013

Calling Bullshit On "Too Old To Work a Computer"

If there’s one assumption in the  help desk environment that’s as close to universally accepted as you can get, it’s that the younger a person is, the more adept they will be at picking up new technology.  I’ve worked with plenty of users who seem to fit the stereotype for their age group.  I’ve talked with young people who are fresh out of college, and all you have to do is tell them in IT lingo what they need to do and they’re on the fix like white on rice.  I’ve had older people who’s hearing aids are whistling feedback into the phone not understand a single word I’ve told them and had them hang up in frustration.  So yes, the stereotype exists because there are people that it applies to.  But, be careful to assume that it’s one size fits all.

January 3, 2013

Shame Is My Vengence - A Help Desk Story

Every CSR, regardless of job description, has been treated like “the help” or as slightly less disgusting than slime mold in the eyes of their customer.  Those who have worked a phone, or an email account know that it’s usually in the job description to take a certain amount of abuse, and frowned upon to exact any kind of purposeful vengeance on your caller.  I have been told that I’m a government employee, so because said customer pays my salary, I am obliged to help them in whatever way they want.  I’ve been told that because the caller is a paying customer, and the customer is always right, I have to do what they say.  I’ve talked to salesmen who feel that their position is higher on the food chain and they’re really not above making sure you know it because IT people are apparently lepers in the sales colony.  However, occasionally, the gods smile down from their omnipotent perch on their celestial Lay-Z Boy and an opportunity to dole out the rope and watch a person hang themselves lands in your lap.  Such was the case with the story I’m about to tell you.