Monday, August 4, 2008

Life In The Call Center...Listening

Today, I got a new name by someone not listening to me when I said my name was Cindy. This time it was Sissy. Occassionally, we get calls from law enforcement personnel who call and ask for a specific department. This caller sounded like one of those callers although he did not identify himself as such. It struck me as funny, though, if he was in law enforcement. I mean, if he isn't a good listener on the telephone when calling someone, is he a good listener out in the middle of an investigation? At least he is in good company of those others who don't really listen when I tell them my name. Today I was also called Susie. It just makes me chuckle.

Another kind of conversation opener that tickles me, but also is a bit frustrating, is when callers say "How are you?" but then don't wait for you to answer. I have noticed this in regular life as well, but not as often as in the call center job. Most people will pause and wait for you to respond when they ask you how you are. But there are some who apparently think this phrase is just a greeting and isn't a question to be responded to. Do they think they are being more polite when they ask the question? Personally I don't think it is polite to ask and not wait for a response. In this case, it would be more polite not to ask in the first place because it is obvious you don't want to know the answer. Of course, most people are going to say "Fine", but why ask and not wait for the answer?

Both of the above incidents are just reminders of how rushed people are these days. People just don't think they have time for the niceties of having good paying attention to the person you are talking to (or in this case listening to). And it is a bit sad that people sometimes think they are expressing good manners by asking the proper questions even though they have gotten into the hurried habit of asking and not waiting for the answers before continuing with their conversation.

It is so nice that the calls are balanced out on the other side of the coin with callers who do take the time to use good manners, listen to the person on the other end of the call, get the names right, and wait for answers to whatever questions they ask. What does it actually take? A couple extra seconds of time?

I just thought of another listening issue that I think is rather rude. That is when callers ask a question about a specific topic and don't listen to the answer that is given, but instead jump in and ask to be transferred to the department that deals with that topic...even to the point of interrupting in the middle of a sentence. What was the point of asking the initial question?

I must say that this job has made me more aware of how I hold up my end of the conversation when I call a business. What kind of caller are you?

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