Sisyphus in a call centre.

(Day One.)

Day One…

Customer Service Agent:


Hiiiiii! How can I help you today my lovely customer?

(Yay! I can help!)



… Well I certainly hope you CAN help me! I have been transferred about ten different times SINCE 9AM THIS MORNING, and I think it is absolutely RIDICULOUS, no, DISGRACEFUL, isn’t it? Well, isn’t it? You, yes you, need to help me. Right now.

No, you are supposed to psychically know what I am upset and angry about before I even say anything, don’t you have any sort of basic system of notes on your screen? You’re a MASSIVE COMPANY, for god’s sake. You, yes YOU, you are not a person. YOU are the massive company and therefore I’m going to direct all my anti-corporate sentiment and consumer frustration AT. YOU.

Actually, before I start, you know something? I was in The Second World War, and the first thing I did, when I came back, was to sign up to YOUR services, and I have been loyal to YOU ever since, and so I feel particularly, personally, hard done by. You just don’t want my custom anymore, do you? See, I work for a business, and I make a point to get back to EVERY SINGLE customer. You know why that is? It’s because I actually need the customers. I care enough to keep them. If I don’t keep them, I don’t have any money at the end of the day, do I? But you obviously don’t need me, you’re making enough profit already, and what am I to you? NO. I WILL TELL YOU WHAT I AM. I am a customer! Do you know what that means? Or you don’t need customers anymore, is that it? No. You do need me, and I am very important, and I signed up to your company from the Beginning Of Time, and I am Loyal, so you need to listen to me. Because, Never,


Have I Ever,

Been treated LIKE THIS. This. Is. APPALLING.




And I can not BELIEVE that I have been on hold FOR ANY PERIOD OF TIME when I am THIS annoyed. I would have thought your phone queue has a sensor for Really Annoyed Customers to put them through Really Quickly. I mean, to keep ME on hold, behind other people, well, I just can not believe it.

So, now that I’ve got through to YOU now, are you the department I need? Closed? CLOSED? ON A SUNDAY? Well THAT shows how much they care about customers, doesn’t it?!

I have been dialling the number I was given SO MANY TIMES and it keeps being diverted to someone who can’t help me and this is NOT what I want. I would have thought that if I did the same thing SO MANY TIMES I would get a different result, but no! Why can’t I get to them out of the force of my sheer rage?


Well, fine. If I HAVE to talk to you, firstly I’m going to emphasise that you are not the person I want to speak to, and I would rather not to speak to you even if you were the last person on Earth. But secondly I am going to target ALL MY RAGE at YOU.

Why? Because YOU answered! Yes, you had the temerity, the audacity, to say “Hi, how can I help you today my lovely customer?” to ME: A Really Annoyed Customer. And for that, you deserve EVERYTHING YOU GET.

And no, I will NOT calm down, or let you explain, or let you tell me, politely, that you are unable to help me. I don’t want your sympathy, I don’t want your professionalism, and I CERTAINLY don’t want your advice. Er – No.

Er – What? Are you talking back to me?


Now, I will bulldoze you relentlessly with my unreasonable, unclear, and rude ranting in the hope that you will miraculously morph into someone from The Department That I Want and you will suddenly help me with all the problems that you just politely and sympathetically stated you can’t help me with.

And if you even DARE to ask for ANY kind of clarification or spelling of names or references I will throw in my prejudices that all call centres these days are located in India and don’t understand a word of English. Despite the fact that you sound like you are from London and you are speaking perfect English.

And I will say this because I clearly haven’t read the “Customer Pledge” that is the subject of a multi-million pound, national advertising campaign that states the company will never move their call centres from England.

BUT DON’T THINK I WON’T USE THE “CUSTOMER PLEDGE” and throw it at you for not providing any of the customer service obligations that it states. Although, of course, I didn’t read it, I did pick up on those two words, and this has fired up my love of bulldozing my “argument” at someone with the same tired phrases without really understanding where you are coming from at all.

Oh, and I will CERTAINLY NEVER entertain the possibility that you are a Philosophy graduate and that you have mastered the art of understanding complex concepts and, most importantly, weeding out irrelevance. No, you are working in a call centre, so screw you, and I refuse to listen to anything that comes out of your mouth. I am obviously far more cleverer than you because I know what “customer service” means, do you? Let me answer that: No. You don’t. Your sole purpose is to TAKE myNO CUSTOMER SERVICE. The fact that you are fulfilling the very best customer service requirements by:


taking notes,

doing your best

responsibly forwarding tasks onto relevant departments who can help me


resisting the urge to a) hang up, b) stop listening and/or c) slit your wrists

– has completely bypassed my notice.

Don’t patronise me! By TELLING ME ANYTHING. I can’t BELIEVE you are trying to talk over me! What do you MEAN I need to tell you my problem before you can help me? Do you even know how to do your job? Do you even know what your job IS? What’s your name? No, your FULL NAME.

And your DIRECT phone number? What do you mean you don’t have one? But I want you to PERSONALLY guarantee that my problem will be fixed. RIGHT. NOW. Not in a “couple of days” like you’re told to say, don’t tell me what you’re told to say. NO. I want YOU to do it. All of it. Yes, I know I am asking you to fix a problem that spans about seven different departments of varying skills, jobs and managerial positions, but YOU are the person I’m speaking to now, and…

(fade out)



Customer Service Agent:


Hi. Can I help?


… Well I certainly hope you CAN help me! I have been transferred about ten different times SINCE 9AM THIS MORNING, and I think it is absolutely RIDICULOUS, no, DISGRACEFUL, isn’t it? Well, isn’t it? You, yes you, need to help me. Right now.

No, you are supposed to psychically know what I am upset and angry about before I even…


Okay. Great.


(Okay. Just slit my wrists. Now.)

(6 months later...)


5 thoughts on “Sisyphus in a call centre.

  1. Pingback: Jumping the Journalistic Milestone: (1) My First Assignment « A leek writes

  2. Wow!!! where do you find the time and energy for such repartee? A thoroughly detailed and enjoyable description of a csa’s daily verbal battering.

    • Aww Roozi! I kept a notebook on my desk, and before I knew it, I had too much material to let it go to waste. Customers certainly give it plenty!

      Thank you for reading, glad you enjoyed it, and I hope this keeps other CSA’s spirits up – you are not alone!

  3. Sounds very calming and relaxing LOL! I had to speak to 4 different people at various customer service places and I was very nice to all of them. Promise! What you need is a nice break away from it all…

    • You bet I need a break. :)

      This is an ode to customers: I’m leaving The Call Centre soon.

      Niceness is a wonderful thing, and I sincerely love the nice customers (and try to keep them on the phone longer, because it’s putting off whatever nasty surprise is going to beep through once I end that call!) – so thank you, on behalf of call centres everywhere!

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