Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to cope

I work at a call center. Not exactly what I feel destined to do with my life, but hey, it pays the bills.

So, as one might guess, I speak to quite a few angry people on the phone. Very, very, angry people. People who seem to believe that a two dollar increase on their bill constitues an emergency at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday.

I was asked the other day how I deal with an angry person on the phone. Somebody that is just beyond unreasonable. Everybody has their own ways. Most people say they deal with these folks by "listening" or "trying to understand" the concerns that they have. Not me. I really don't care one way or another when these people are screaming at me for shit that they probably caused themselves (you have no idea how many people in the world scream at somebody about a bill that they just did not pay).

This is how I cope..........

When the individual begins on the aformentioned tyrade, sure I write down what the problem is so I can rectify it, but that's the only thing I have in common with the others in the office.

I immediately look at the profile to see if there is a spouse or children. If not, I ask if they have a significant other or children. If the answer is no, then I have a difficult time grinding through the rest of the call. But if they do, then I can deal with it. I imagine that this person is insane, and that this bill has caused them to go over the edge. They have read this bill and now all semblence of reason is gone. Who will pay for this outrage? Those that are closest to him/her. The family, the loved ones. I may be on the phone with this person, but he has his family bound and gagged on the floor, a shotgun to his wifes head, and if I can't calm this person down, they are dead! With every word spoken, I am just steps away from either saving this other persons life or ending it. That shotgun just keeps pressing into her head, harder and harder, cutting into her scalp, causing bruises to form and blood to seep from the edge of her temple where the cold steel has pushed through the skin. Every time he says hold on and covers the phone to talk to somebody else, I don't hear them say, "this company is fucking stupid" or "I swear I'm never using them again", I hear, "shut up bitch! This asshole is gonna make or break you". And then I stay calm and walk them through whatever is happening.

I have saved this families life. I am amazing. And this customer is an asshole.