gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

A Gradult at Work: The Call Centre

I'm a gradult, get me out of here!
The current economic climate has made the call centre the unlikely holding pen for many a fine gradult. Before everything got credit crunched those fresh out of university would sidle into their public sector job or start their graduate scheme and begin their steady ascent up the career ladder. Alas times may have changed but the customer service sector has continued to grow, meaning gradults up and down the country are having to sit down, log on and represent the company with every phone call. My particular call centre contains History gradults, Music gradults, Business Gradults. A lot of gradults basically, all working because they need to earn whilst they consider their next move. The heartening presence of so many fellow gradults makes the workplace engaging and fun to be around but in a call centre it’s not your fellow staff you need to worry about, it’s the customer.
On an average day I can expect to make 120 phone calls, and here are five character’s I'd hope to avoid.

The Low Talker
The Low Talker is a tough one to deal with. Ask someone to repeat something once, fine. Twice, that’s pushing it. Three times? Don’t bother. Whatever they tell you, it’s not worth the effort you’ve taken to extract it. The awkwardness has already outweighed the information. But when you work in a call centre you have to get that information, it’s your job, that’s what makes a Low Talker one of the worst customers around.
The Conversationalist
Perfectly harmless, the Conversationalist will only really bother you when you’re on a short fuse. Let’s say its 3pm on a Friday and you get a Conversationalist, ‘what a lovely man! We had a great chat!’ But get a Conversationalist at 10 on a busy Monday morning and it’s a very different story. Is this monologue about the A14 going anywhere?’
The Sharer
Similar to the conversationalist in many respects, but The Sharer is more of a boundary pusher; actually make that more of a boundary crosser. The Sharer will have no qualms in divulging intimate details of their private life to you: ‘Well my husband usually handles this but he’s shacked up with that slag in Norwich now. And I’m pregnant.’ / ‘Ah I see, and your sort code is?’
The Heavily Accented Foreigner
As a stereotypical Englishman the closest I come to being multi lingual is the fake Scouse accent I do for a joke sometimes, so I applaud anyone who can speak more than one language. Having said that the Heavily Accented Foreigner can be a very trying customer. Ear pressed to the phone, stifling your breathing, just trying to make out something you recognise as the frustration builds into a crescendo of mutual resentment: ‘Ok was that your name or your date of birth?’
The Home Timer
Its two minutes to home time, morale is high, the coat is on, bags packed up, might as well shut down the programmes, no-one would call now. Oh they have. ’Not too late am I? / Ha-ha no, no not quite (But if you take more than one minute I am going to take your details and literally hunt you down). The problem with a Home Timer is, you know he doesn’t care about keeping you in, you know that The Home Timer had one task today, call about this bill, he’s put it off for as long as he possibly could and he’s gotten away with it at your expense.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the first one especially. With someone today I put my phone and headset up to full volume (usually enough to burst my eardrums) and still had to ask the woman on the phone three times for her postcode until she huffily said it in a clear 'I think you're an idiot voice'. 'Geeeeee Ennnnnn thirteeeen. Did you get that this time?' Sigh.