Myself and call centers actually go way back so I never really intended to have a rant about them. In fact, I understand where they’re coming from, which is why I am a notoriously ‘easy target’ most days. True, I now have a system that has evolved over the years since I became a mother, but I want it on record that I am NEVER rude. It’s just that I want to give a message to cold callers: PLEASE, don’t call us anymore!
If you have a baby, you probably understand. If you don’t, you probably still understand where I’m coming from. Despite my roots, which I will share with you in a minute, I am finding myself growing increasingly annoyed with cold callers. We used to have a blocking thing on the line but they still got through. They come through on my mobile too. It’s relentless sometimes. Not answering doesn’t help either, as we have an answer machine. This, more often than not, gets filled with either automated robot voices with half a message, long winded explanations with no contact details and lots of noise so that you’re not quite sure what they even wanted in the first place, or three minutes of shuffled silence as the caller mistakenly believes they have hung up. Well, sometimes,I wish they would!
This is my history with call centers.
I finished my degree in 2000 and one day woke up to find that our ‘lovely’ landlord was moving new tenants in. No longer students, my friend and I were no longer needed. We spent a few weeks finding new floors to sleep on and coppering up for the jobs papers. It wasn’t pleasant but going home to nice, warm houses with parents in them wasn’t an option for us- we were young and independent! So we took the first job that we could find- for my friend it was a dream position of graphic designer for a music company(I kid you not!) and for me? Call center.
Ok, so I was officially back office, but I was often called upon to ‘man’ the phones. God I hated those headsets. I hated the flashing sign that told you how many people were waiting and GOD I hated the sign that told you when people had hung up! And yes, answering the phones is different to having to make cold calls, but I haven’t told you what my back office job was yet! Yep- I had to call people. About gas and electric. About the fact that the company I worked for now supplied their fuel because an unscrupulous sales agent had forged a contract for commission. Not many people liked hearing from me.
So when I got my own house and my own phone and my own dream job, I used to spend time listening to cold callers. I was pleasant, polite and patient. I even chuckled good naturedly when the company I used to work for called to tell me they had stolen my supply from British Gas! But then. Then I had a baby.
These days, I only engage with cold callers if they catch me off guard. It only had to happen once. The call received during a breastfeed.
I was feeding one of the babies on the sofa in the living room. It was quiet.The room was dimly lit. The baby was settling down for a little snoozy feed before being magically transported to bed. I would creep up the stairs with a drunk-on-milk baby in my arms, smiling gently with a full tummy and with anticipation of sleep.
The baby stirred. The phone continued to ring. My blood pressure started to rise.
The answer machine kicked in. A booming voice began to bellow about gas or something. The baby’s eyes sprang open with shock. The baby’s jaw clenched with stress. The baby’s TEETH MET NIPPLE. It doesn’t end there! The baby’s head whipped to the side to see what the hell the noise was all about whilst TEETH WERE STILL MEETING NIPPLE!
Later,I sobbed over the fact that breastfeeding would never be the same again (it’s the fear of it happening again.Plus, the stretching) and I listened to that booming message once the hoo-hah had died down and the baby was FINALLY asleep. It was some gas company calling to tell me they had taken over my supply…. Karma,eh?
So anyway, cold callers: if you call me, I will hang up. I will not be rude, or shout or even engage, unfortunately.I will just pretend you’re not there. And please PLEASE don’t call after 7pm. Or during dinner time. Or bath time. Or, you know, ever. Thanks.
What are your experiences with cold callers? Leave me a comment and tell me how you fend them off- the best one shall receive my undying respect! Or something like that.