Make Believe

An old guy called me saying that he wanted to cancel his policy as he was moving abroad. I called up his details and asked him when he was moving.

‘The house is going on the market later in the year.’ Came the reply.

I explained that his policy had just been renewed and asked him if he wanted it cancelled now or when he was ready to move. He wanted it cancelled straight away so that’s what I did informing him that he would get confirmation. I thanked him for letting us know and said goodbye.

When we finish a call we just switch the mute button on as the customer hangs up. This old guy did not hang up straight away. I heard him speaking to someone in the room who asked him what I had said.

‘She told me I had to cancel.’ He was saying. ‘I told her that I wanted to pay for the policy until we move, but she said I couldn’t, I had to cancel.’

Whether he was deliberately lying to the other person, or whether he was seriously under the impression that this was our discussion, I do not know. I cannot tell a customer what to do – it has to be their decision. But this is not unusual as such. We often get people asking questions about a policy and then twisting the answer they’re given.

I am often heard saying: ‘No. That is not what I said. I said…’

Some people obviously think that if they twist the answer enough times we’ll end up agreeing with them, because they don’t always give up when we pull them up the first time. I have even had to remind people that the call is recorded so the playback will verify what I have said.

I think a lot of the time it is deliberate as people don’t hear the answer they want to hear, so they’ll try to get the answer they want. I think on a few occasions it may be because they are not listening properly. But these people usually stop when they’re put right the first time.

Ill

Had a lovely week off, now I’m back at work and ill. Got a horrible cold and cough. I reckon it’s being back at work. Just the stress of thinking about going into work is enough to make me sick at the moment.

I’ve spent over 10 years of my life there. It’s had it’s ups and downs but overall it’s not been too bad. I’ve worked for far worse places and had more prestige jobs for far less pay.

However, we have had a lot of changes recently, some good and some bad. Trouble is one of the bad ones has been a more ‘kick-in-the-teeth’ type of bad. The company has decided to standardise the pay structure – all above board and legal. So for 10 years I’ve earned my pay increases through my experience in various departments. Now I’m told that people who have been at the company for 12 months or less will be earning £1500 less than me.

Next year they’ll be training us on other products – many of which I have already done in other departments. Once trained up I’ll be earning £100 extra for the year, but someone who has been there 12 months will be on exactly the same pay as myself. I’m not happy about it. Union say it’s all legal, I can’t do anything about it.

It’s made me feel like crap. Not just me. There are several people who are affected, some of them have been there longer than myself. I keep telling myself that I wasn’t made redundant when that was all happening, I’m lucky to have a job, I have no problem paying my bills, etc, but it still makes me feel like crap. It’s been a real kick in the teeth. Very humiliating. My loyalty to the company has been wiped out in one go.

Back From Holiday

Been on holiday this week. Didn’t have access to the internet so have not been able to blog anything. Had a cheap holiday. Wasn’t too bad but the weather could have been warmer. Spent too much as is usual. Didn’t drink too much – makes a change.

Fetching the cat tomorrow. He’s been safely ensconced in a local cattery. Going to cost about £50 but at least I know he’s been looked after properly.

It’s horrible coming back home after a break. I really don’t want to go back to work. It makes me realise that I’m not living life, only working.

It’s a problem with this country. We get up early and go to work. We get back home and are too tired to go socialising. Most socialising is done at the weekend, so that is two days out of seven. Not very balanced. And then there’s all the housework, gardening, DIY, which is done most often at the weekend. We look forward to the few weeks holiday away from work and home. We are spending less time with our families, less time with friends, and little time on ourselves.

I’ve worked most of my life. I’m now looking forward to retirement, but it won’t be for another 20 years if I stick to the normal retirement age. Can I manage another 20 years of slogging? I really don’t know.

What A Day…

Well, I came very close to telling customers to f*ck off today. I had quite a few, not just rude, but downright evil creeps on the phone today. I also had a few really nice customers to speak to, but not enough.

The company I work for is regulated by the FCA, and one of the things we have to make clear to the customer, is that the policy is optional. Now this may seem extremely obvious but we have to make it clear. One woman was being quite aggressive with me all the way through, but when I got to this point she began shouting at me, asking what I was on about.

‘What do you mean optional?’ she shouted. ‘I only want…’

‘Optional means it’s not compulsory.’ I told her. ‘It’s your choice.’

She then had another go at me. She then demanded me to ‘get on with it’. She then had a go that I was going too slow and it was taking too long. I then speeded up as fast as possible just to take the piss. She was a prat. Hopefully she’ll have an ar*ehole customer, just like she is, who’ll brighten up her day no end.

Streeeessssss!

I’m stressed out. The full moon was last week so the looneys should be back behind doors by now. So I’d hope. Not so, however. They are still prominent and phoning our company in their droves.

I had about 3 calls wanting our competitors today. There’s a recorded message at the beginning of the call stating our company name. I also mention it when I answer the call. So why do they still have to ask…

‘Is that…?’

‘No it’s not!’ Are you deaf? The recording and I have both told you the company name. Stop bothering me!

I’ve had several people eating on the phone. Maybe they think I enjoy hearing them slurping, crunching, and making horrible sickly noises while they eat. It makes me feel sick. I wonder if they’d like to hear me vomit?

One of the customers worked for our company. I would have thought that she would know better than to be so ignorant. I even asked her if she was eating her lunch. Couldn’t help myself. It sounds disgusting. I’m going to start keeping chocolate or crisps on my desk, specifically for these calls, so I can give them an active example of how it sounds.

On top of that, about 80% of the calls today couldn’t be bothered to hold the phone properly. People seem to think that it’s ok to hold the phone by the mouth piece. Just like they do in the movies! Someone should remind them that movies are make-believe. They are not real. They are pretend. They are not really making phone calls. It’s just for show… Surely common sense tells you that if you cover the mouth piece – you know the bit that you speak into – then the person on the other end won’t hear you! It can’t be that difficult to figure out, surely?

This seems to be beyond the reasoning of some people. They seem to think that having their hand, or other things, over the mouth piece won’t impair the call whatsoever. So they’re speaking into a section that they have covered up and they actually think I can hear them. The amount of times I have to tell people to move their hand off the mouth piece is unbelievable. Again this is common sense, which seems to very badly lacking in a large amount of the population. I wear headphones but it would be quite easy for me to put my hand around the microphone. I wonder if the customers would hear me? I may just see what happens…

If You Want Help Then Appreciate It!

An old fella really annoyed me today. He called through asking for the address. Firstly he said he was hard of hearing and asked me to speak up. I fiddled with the headset and spoke slightly louder asking him if it was ok.

‘Yes’, he said. ‘That’s much better. I can hear you fine.’

That sorted I began to give him the address. I spoke slowly so he could get everything, although he questioned me on every line of the address and asked me to repeat it, which I did. Very simple call, so I thought. At the end he said thanks and off he went. Before he hung up I heard him speak to another person…

‘What a bloody pellaver!’ He said. ‘Never known anything so hard in my life.’

He wanted the address. I gave him the address. I spoke louder as he asked. I repeated things and answered questions when he asked. What more did he want? I most certainly wasn’t going to offer to go round and post his renewal, or pay for it, for him.

This kind of ignorace isn’t needed. If you don’t want me to help you then don’t ring. If you don’t want me to answer questions then don’t ask them. If you don’t want me to speak louder or repeat things then don’t ask. If you’re a miserable old bastard don’t bother me.

I don’t mind helping anyone, and I will go out of my way to help people where possible, as will my colleagues. But ignorance is not appreciated by any of us. It is not needed. It shows a lack of education, a lack of manners, and a poor bringing up.

Back At Work

Back at work today after a few days peace and rest – it already feels like 10 years ago. I was booked in for training today. Started fine.

Went into work nice and early so that I could print off documents and change details for a couple of customers. Got that sorted then spent a nice half hour drinking coffee and doing the sudoko in the Metro. Then went to the training department.

Firstly it became apparent that there was more than one training class going on, and a few people were sent to the wrong one. After a few minutes we started. We were there for half hour before we got a call saying the phone lines were extremely busy so training was cancelled. Lovely.

The company offered voluntary redundancy last year and quite a few people accepted. This year they are short staffed. On top of that they are sending out mailings to customers for various things all at the same time. With a bit of a thought process things like this could be prevented. However, I’m sure that the higher echelons of the company have their reasons for doing everything at the same time when there’s not enough staff to cope with it. What those reasons actually are, are beyond my comprehension.