What Call Center Workers Really Think of You

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The Phone Never Stops Ringing

We've all had to call customer service for problems or questions in the past. It is an evil process very few of us can avoid. At some point, you are going to need further assistance and you will have to pick up the phone to talk to a call center worker. I understand this phone call can be very annoying for you, the customer. However, in many cases, the phone call can be just as annoying, if not more so, for the call center worker. So before you really lay into some poor soul on the phone next time you call a company, just remember 9 times out of 10, that person had nothing to do with your problem. However, 9 times out of 10, if you are really nice, that person on the other end can actually help you.

In general, people do not get into customer service just to bully customers and make people miserable. Most people geniunely want to help! I know, what a crazy concept, but it is true. Sure, some people are stuck at a job they never wanted because of the economy, but still, somewhere deep down inside, most call center workers want to help you. Let them help you!

It is usually only due to being verbally abused by customers all day long for weeks, months, or even years, that a call center representative might turn a little sour. But for the most part, if you are nice to the call center worker, they are nice to you. With that said, there are certain calls we hear all day long. We start to categorize customers even if we don't intend to do so. I would like to share with you what call center workers REALLY think about you. If you've never worked in customer service before, this might just help you before you frustrate another call center worker.

The Simple Question Caller

The simple question caller is quite deceptive as far as the name goes. This is a caller that begins the conversation with, "I've got a simple question." Do you know what first pops into a customer service person's mind? "Oh, no! This is going to be a long, painful call."

The caller that believes she has a simple question usually NEVER has a simple question. It is, instead, usually an incredibly annoying question or some ridiculous question no one has ever heard in the history of customer service. Trust me, you are better off not stating you have a simple question. No one in customer service believes it anyway.

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The Weird Question Caller

Once again, this type of caller is not really what he seems to be. This caller believes his question is the weirdest question I've gotten all day. Well, let me tell you my friend, your question is rarely the weirdest question. Usually the strangest questions are asked without any prior warning. I am just sitting there, minding my own business, and pick up the phone. That is when someone, out of nowhere, drops a bomb of amazing craziness on me.

So the next time you call customer service and state, "I've got a weird question," you'd better make sure it is super weird. Trust me, it can get pretty boring in a call center all day. If you promise me a weird question, well, bring it on! I am ready to hear what you have to offer.

The Angry Customer

The angry customer is definitely the worst of the customers. The angry customer can either begin the call angry, or can simply start the call annoyed and turn into a psycho in no time. Either way, it is not appreciated at all. As I said earlier, it is rarely my fault you have a problem. However, I am pretty damn great at fixing problems. If I can't fix it, but you are nice to me, I can hook you up with the person that can fix it. You've just got to calm down.

When you call customer service with an attitude, no one is too enthused about helping you. They might help you since its their job, but they are doing it just to shut you up. Then, after your customer service rep ends the call, she tells everyone what a total jerk she just talked to on the phone. Plus, if you regularly call certain offices, we remember your name. Oh yes, we do!

If you call an office all the time with complaints and I recognize your voice before you even say your name, it is a really bad sign. No one likes you. Stop calling and being a jerk. It is not a compliment that everyone remembers your name. Usually the person picking up the phone got the shortest straw when everyone saw your name on the caller ID.

The Needy Nuisance

The needy nuisance caller is a very special caller indeed. The needy nuisance needs a lot of assistance with just about every possible action, item, or thought. She just can't remember how to login on Tuesday. By Thursday, she would like to cancel an order. On Friday, she wants to confirm the cancellation. The next week, she's changed her mind and needs to resubmit her order. It is a non-stop cycle.

I am not sure what the deal is with the needy nuisance. I can't figure out if she is lonely and just wants someone to talk to over the phone, or if she really is a total bumbling idiot. My guess would be she is a combination of the two. I am, quite frankly, surprised the needy nuisance has even figured out how to dial the phone, yet she does it on a regular basis.

The Long Story Customer

I am sure you have the cutest puppy in the whole world or your grandson is the best soccer player in your county, but when it comes to calling a call center, we often don't have time for stories like that. When you start to go into a long story, I start to think, "There goes my lunch break." Then I proceed to start getting some really important work done, such as data entry, responding to an email, or writing my grocery list.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I enjoy hearing a long story. But if you can tell the customer service rep is busy, don't overshare! If I have to put you on hold repeatedly or you hear my phone ringing off the hook, it is time to wrap up the story. I am sorry. I am sure you are way nicer than the yelling customer on the other line, but I can't neglect the other callers.

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The Mystery Caller

The mystery caller is very similar to the long story caller since both tend to waste precious time. However, the difference is the mystery caller is not telling a long story that has nothing to do with his call. Instead, he is taking forever to explain why he is actually calling. The phone call usually goes something like this:

"Ummm... hello."

"Good morning. Thank you for calling Blah Blah Blah. How may I help you today?"

"Well, that is a good question..." and the painfully long pause begins.

"Yes, sir... how can I assist you?"

"I was wondering a couple of things."

"Sure, OK. What were you wondering?"

"Well, let me see if I can word this right... well, it all started about a week ago."

Oh no! That is never a good sign. This guy is going to go into a story that will put me to sleep. In the end, this type of customer usually has a very basic question. One or two sentences would have done the job, but no, this is going to take a long, long time. When you call a customer service line, try to remember why you called in the first place and just let us know in the first sentence or two.

The Missing Payment Person

I happen to have the delight of answering phones at a business that takes credit card payments over the phone. For some unknown reason, many people call us to pay for something, yet their credit cards are nowhere in sight. OK... I don't know if you are completely feeling what I am saying here... I am not calling this person. This person is calling me to make the payment, but when I ask for the credit card information, the caller does not have it.

Sometimes the credit card is in a wallet "upstairs," or it is in Susan's desk and she's at lunch, or perhaps the dog even ate it. I can't figure out for the life of me how anyone calls a business to pay a bill, but doesn't have a way to pay it once making the call. Plus, this is not something that happens every now and then. Oh no, this is at least 1 out of every 4 calls. I am not making this up. People need to seriously learn to have a credit card ready when calling to make a payment.

The Nasty Chewer

I understand very few of us have the option of making calls whenever we like throughout the day. I know that many of us must multitask and eat lunch while at the desk. However, it is never acceptable to chew in my ear when making a call. Once again, I am not calling you; if you are calling me, you know to put the carrot down. Hey, I enjoy eating, too, but once again, I know it is rude to chew over the phone. I would be fired if I did that.

In our minds, we customer service people kind of hope you choke... just a little, of course. I mean, we don't want you to die or anything, but just a cough from chewing so loudly and a little wheezing on the other end would let us know you got what was coming to you. Yeah, perhaps that is evil, but hey, stop being so gross.

The Rico Suave Type

Oh yes, there are some real Casanovas out there. Aren't you the sexy man hitting on chicks over the customer service line? Guess what we ladies think of you? Creep!

Yes, your creepiness literally makes our skin crawl. You do realize we have a database in front of us, right? In many instances, our databases tell us a lot more about you then you could ever imagine. Some interesting facts we may know: marriage status, age, job, income, etc. Ouch! Not so sexy anymore, is it? Next time you hit on a lady over the phone, remember she just might ask a nice follow-up question, such as, "How is your wife today?"

What I Really Think of You!

Now that we've taken this fun journey together, please let me assure you I know this can't apply to you. After all, you are probably the nicest person in the world since you've read this whole thing. I am sure you would never anger anyone in customer service or say anything too ridiculous. So thanks for reading my hub! And thanks for being so nice on the phone. And most of all, please have your credit card ready when you call to make a payment! Yes, you repeat offenders know who you are!

Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle

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Comments 30 comments

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I'm a customer service rep's worst nightmare and obviously I'm not the only one! I prefer to smother them with kindness which totally confuses them! Haha!!!


SJmorningsun25 4 years ago

So interesting! Thanks for sharing an insider's perspective. I hate having to call customer service, but it doesn't make any sense to make the service person hate getting a call. I agree with Sunshine625--kindness is key! :-) Voted up, interesting, and funny.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Sunshine625, yes, kindness only confuses us! Hehehe. Most customers are OK, but there are some that are just... well... special. Sometimes I think all of those customers get together and call on the same day! Thanks for the comment! And thanks for being so nice to call center people!

SJmorningsun25, I don't like calling customer service either, which is funny considering it is what I do. Thanks also being kind and thanks for the votes!


spartucusjones profile image

spartucusjones 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

Funny and insightful, I really enjoy reading this.

I try really hard not to call customer service, and try to resolve my problems online. Part of the reason why I do that, is if I have serious issues that have me feeling a bit annoyed, I wouldn't want to take that out on the service rep who may have nothing to do with the problem. With email you can type a really friendly email, without the person knowing how annoyed you are.


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 4 years ago from Tennessee

I've spoken to your evil twin, the telemarketer. Although I've never called any sort of customer service, I know it must be a difficult/annoying job at times, but it's probably better than working the suicide hotline. Right? I don't know. I just work in a grocery store. I tell customers where the grape juice is. That is the extent of our conversations.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

spartucusjones - I appreciate your effort in not annoying customer service workers. I also only call customer service lines only when absolutely necessary. However, there are people I call "the regulars" that call at least once a week about every petty little thing. I don't know how these people manage to tie their own shoes, let alone figure out how to dial the phone. I am assuming they must have a Smart Phone and they just tell it to call us. Thanks for the comment and thanks for not be annoying. :-)

What Is Q - Oh yes, the telemarketer is the evil twin! The outgoing phone person vs. the incoming phone person. I do know they have a tough job, too. They get hung up on all the time. I wish more people would hang up on me. It is kind of exciting. :-) Ah, a grocery store can probably be annoying at times, too. What if you run out of grape juice? Thanks for sharing!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

This was great. It's wonderful and enlightening to hear the other side of things. I have done a lot of customer service, but not so much on the phone. My biggest pet peeve when I was working in a deli where customers came up still talking on their cell phones. We usually don't acknowledge them because they are not ready, so we go on to the next person who is ready and waiting. Then the cell phone customer puts his hand on the receiver and says "Uh Exuuuse me, but I was here first." Or they come up, look at the merchandise, and say, hold on a minute, I have to call my wife/husband and see which he wants. They get on their phone and they proceed to list every product we carry to their significant other. When you give them a look to say "Can you please get your act together, we have other customers, they hold up a "just hold on one more second" finger and expect you to wait another 10 minutes. We go on to the next customer. It's not fair to the other customers.

I know what you mean about the chatty ones. You can age 6 months and gain 20 pounds waiting for them to finish their story.

Having said all this, I find one exception in my own personal life where call center reps are just completely useless and lacking in intelligence and respect. I won't mention that the company is Centurylink, but they just don't seem to understand when you say, thank you, but I do not wish to get your package with 900 other features for only $25 more a month, I just want to get get my phone disconnected. I realize that by trying to upgrade they are only doing what they are told to do, but when you say no thank you 9 times, it gets to be a bit much. So now I go to the company, 25 miles away, and talk to the counter rep who always helps me with no sales pitch and inevitably discovers one of the phone reps has ordered something I didn't ask for.

I appreciate people like you though and you are right, calling with an attitude is not going to make it easier to get a speedy resolution to your problem. I loved the photo of the windmill. Been there done that. Voted up and funny.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I know exactly what you mean! I also worked at a deli before and it was so annoying. I especially hate the customers that yell over the counter the whole time things like, "add lettuce... no, that is too much... now that is too little... can you add a tomato... not that tomato, but the one in the corner..." Grrr! McDonald's was better than that. At least they don't lean over you to participate in the preparation of the food.

Hahaha... CenturyLink does not sound like much fun. I feel bad for customer service reps that are forced to stick to a certain speech, but still, I am sure the people that drill the questions/bargains into you over the phone are making commission and that must be what it is all about.

Thanks for reading my hub and thanks for the comment!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I have to admit... I have broken all of these at one point in time. After all, by the time I get done pushing all the buttons to finally talk to a human in the right department, I have lost my credit card, forgot the reason I am calling and have been on hold for an hour and finally need to eat. Can I help it if all I have left is carrots. I tried to save those for after the call, but I felt the need to tell a really long story.

Ok - the reality of the story is... I hate talking on the phone so I actually make my husband do it if I can. Or, if I am in a crazy mood and the person comes off as rude to me (probably after speaking to someone that you already mentioned about), I do have a tendency to react and probably make their job a little worse.

But, most importantly... fun hub and well written. I was in customer service for a lot of my careers... however, never just over the phone. This has some great advice that went well with a laugh!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I have always known what call center workers think of me. You can always tell. Computer techs are the worst with their superior attitude.

Enjoyed your hub. Voted Up


tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 4 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

How about the person who calls in every few weeks or months to ask exactly the same question? Or the one who says they didn't know some crucial bit of info, but you can look at the call records and see right where they were already told that, repeatedly? Or how about the caller who gets mad because you are following the terms of their contract, the terms they have right in front of them when they call, but they want an exception made, just for them...I could go on...I do CS.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

barbergirl28 - So you're the girl that's been chewing in my ear all the time! A-ha! I knew one day I would find you. Hahaha... I would try to get someone else to make calls for me, too, if I could. I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Sometimes it helps to laugh at the pain that is call center work. Thanks for dropping by!

moonlake - Hahaha... at least I did not need to tell you anything you didn't already know. :-) Evil computer techs! Thanks for the vote up!

tmbridgeland - Oh, I feel your pain! I kind of categorize all of those people under the "needy nuisance" section. There was a customer today that told my co-worker a phrase he supposedly read in an email sent out to a number of people. He swore the directions told him to call us. I told her that was impossible, and when she asked how I knew he was wrong, I simply said,"Because I happened to be the person that wrote that email." Oh customers! Thanks for dropping by... I understand.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hilarious as always! I like how a lot of places have the online chat options now, though sometimes that communication method only further confuses everyone.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thankfully we don't have the online chat option at work. I can't imagine how that would work. Some of our callers have barely mastered the internet. Scary! I will make sure to never suggest that option at work. :-) Thanks for checking out my hub.


Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

I have just about twenty years of telephone customer service experience. You're right on about each of these types, Jeannie. Thanks for saying what lots of us have never had the guts to say out loud!!

Awesome!


tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 4 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

I wrote a Hub a while back, suggesting ways a callin can improve their experience. Simple things like, write down the questions you want answered, so you don't forget anything, and have your id card/ credit card handy etc. One thing I suggested was to listen to the CSR.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Motown2Chitown - Hahaha... sometimes I say too much! But yeah, I just needed to get all of this out. Maybe it will help some people. :-) Thanks for dropping by!

tmbridgeland - Those are great suggestions. I know what you mean. I am surprised at how many people are not prepared at all. These things are common sense to us, yet many callers need help and suggestions. Thanks for sharing!


mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

Interesting! I kinda got a little bit of a laugh since so many of us fail to remember that being kind can actually help our causes better.


BusinessTime profile image

BusinessTime 4 years ago from Twin Cities

Great points. It's truly amazing how many people call and berate some poor soul who is, in fact, the one person in a position to help the caller, if the see a good reason to do so. I used to work customer service, and I was always perfectly willing to be flexible with our refund and partial refund policy -- but as soon as someone starts yelling at me or berating me, that's when I stop being flexible and strictly uphold our terms and conditions. A horrible attitude will get you nowhere!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

mikeydcarroll67 - Yes, it is true. The very people that are there to help are the people that get yelled at the most.

BusinessTime - This is how I feel, as well. I am pretty flexible with refunds and fees until someone is nasty about it. Or is a person acts as if he is entitled to the special treatment. Ummm... no! No favors for that person!

Thank you both for reading and for the comments!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I dread calling ANY customer service center - first of all- the 10minutes of recorded "if you speak English push 1..."...ahhhhhhh! Shut up already if I didn't WTH I wouldn't KNOW what you just said! Lol. "por Espangnole...." really? What next? "pour La Francaise push ....". I always wonder if I might have woken up on the other side of the border...which would be great! I love Mexico!

I loved this hub as always - you can joke about anything under the sun and I love that!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks so much! I am happy you enjoyed the hub. I agree... I dread calling customer service lines, but I also dread going to work to hear what the customers have to say, too. Hehe.


Weekend Reader profile image

Weekend Reader 4 years ago

I have occasionally enjoyed that "you called me" sensation: "Yes, I'd like to get the phone number to your office on Main Street." "Sure, it's -- " "Wait! Lemme get a pen!" And I don't do customer service.

(A friend of mine who is phone CS agrees vigorously with your hub.)


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I am glad your friend agrees with me. And yes, I know that odd feeling. Someone will call you about something, yet that person is unprepared. Hmmm.

Thanks for the comment!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Thanks for all the great laughs! Yes, I was on your end of the phone for several years, for various types of businesses, and this hub is a real insider's view of Customer Service. I think the only one you left out was getting the Mystery Issue call at two minutes before end-of-shift. That was a worse nightmare than a call that would eat into the lunch hour because we couldn't clock out until the issue was resolved to the customer's satisfaction no matter how long it took. Oh, and the caller with a flat monotone voice who'd drone on and on about a Mystery Issue and put the rep to sleep. (Happened to me once!)

Voted up, funny and shared!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

You are so right! The mystery issue caller does have a gift for calling at the last minute or calling around lunch time. I wish people would check the clock before they call a business at 4:59. Thanks for your comment.


AG1989 2 years ago

I worked for the world's largest manufacturer of garage door openers (**cough Chamberlain cough**) doing tech support for 6 months before I quit to go to graduate school instead. This was my first and only call center but those 6 months were absolutely awful. The job itself was very easy for me since I had worked for my local garage door company after I graduated from high school but being tethered to a telephone that automatically answered for me started to wear me down. Since I had prior experience, I knew more than the trainers and the "subject matter experts" (none of who had actually worked out in the field with the machines we sold by the way) but they never took any of my feedback into account and they would come down on me when I gave customers advice that was not in the articles in our database. As for the customers themselves, some were nice while others were already angry at the beginning of the call for a variety of reasons. Most of the time, problems customers were experiencing were not with our product but with their door or they just needed to make a slight adjustment, but they refused to listen and insisted that we replace the machine for them and pay for the service call (even though the warranty states labor is not covered). After 6 months, I was so burned out that I would either avoid calls or just hang up on jerks while giving nice customers my complete attention. I couldn't work at a call center ever again but working there did motivate me to continue with graduate school and to find a better job where I don't have to deal with angry people.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

AG1989 - Call center work is such a tough job. At my job, the customers were wrong about half the time, but we did sell some terrible products too. Half of the calls the customers had every right to be angry. That was the worst part! I was not supposed to wholeheartedly agree with them about how the products were crap. Thanks for sharing your experience!


Pico Triano profile image

Pico Triano 2 years ago from New Brunswick, Canada

You forgot to include the multi-taskers who ride the toilet while talking with customer service. I always hated calls that included the sound of a toilet flushing.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

You are right. No one wants to talk to someone while they are on the toilet. Yuck! Thanks for your comment.

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