Wednesday, December 14, 2005

When I call you up, your line's engaged

A while back, I promised my readers here a lexicon of call center phrases -- a veritable Rosetta Stone for customer service terminology, translating what a customer service representative tells you into its actual meaning. I've been jotting some of these down over the past few weeks, and now it's time to share:

We say: May I help you?

We mean: What the hell are you doing, calling me? Are you retarded? This job isn't bad enough without you bugging the shit out of me? Fuck off!

We say: Yes sir/ma'am, I would be more than happy to help you with that.

We mean: I hate you, I hate the clan which shares your cave, I hate the society which spawned you and which trapped me in this miserable dead end nightmare of a job listening to you, and I yearn for your prompt expiration and eternal damnation.

We say: That should take [vague period of time, carefully worded to sound more definite than it is] to get done for you.

We mean: I have no frickin' clue how long this will take, or if it will ever get done, and I don't care, because anyone who can afford to pay your monthly cell phone bills, or set aside $5,000 for their French goddam nanny and then complain that the IRS doesn't allow more per year for dependent care, is the sort of person who in any sane, reasonable world would have been long since marched to the guillotine alongside Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

We say: I sincerely apologize, sir/ma'am.

We mean: It's not my fault, it's not my problem, I'm not getting paid enough to care, I hope you die, please shut up and go away, NOW.

We say: Is there anything else I can do for you, sir/ma'am?

We mean: For the love of GOD for the love of GOD for the love of GOD please shut up and go away and leave me alone.

We say: May I place you on hold while I research this further?

We mean: The hold button is right next to the disconnect button on my console and guess which one I'm about to 'accidentally' press, dipshit?

And on that last one, let's take a brief look Behind The Scenes At A Typical Call Center:

YVONNE THE EVIL TEAM LEADER: This customer complained that you said you were going to put her on hold and then disconnected her.

ME: No, I put her on hold and then another call immediately beeped in and I had to take it. I don't know what happened. I think my phone is broken.

YVONNE: We've put in three repair tickets for your phone. Nothing is wrong with your phone. Why do you think this keeps happening?

ME: The Lord moves in mysterious ways, Yvonne.


  1. I sent a link to your blog to some of my co-workers.

    I work in Tech support, so I know what those phone calls are like.

    Maybe I'll follow your lead and blog about our calls.

  2. Julia,

    Thanks for sending on my link; any attention is good attention, as long as it's not from my supervisors.

    Which is a word of warning I want to post: if you blog about work, be sure you don't put any unique phrases up there that could turn up after an idle Google search. In fact, you want to try to make sure no one can figure out specifically who you are from your blog. Most companies these days have confidentiality clauses built into their job applications; they use those clauses as grounds to fire people who post 'trade secrets' on the Internet... which can be interpreted as, yes, bitching about your boss. So tread warily.

    Thanks again for the comment and the exposure.

  3. We already have all this stuff posted in our office, on the bulletin board we call the "Wall Of Shame"

    Plus, the funniest are from my old job, where I had to work with programmers, who should know better.

  4. I'm a Crypt Leak11:57 PM

    ::Surprised your commenters skipped the obvious:: "What's the next line to that song?" ;>

  5. Heh. Yeah, we'd all like to tell our callers "I have had enough, so act your age" every once in a while... like, about every third call... good catch.


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