Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Phone Work

I've been manning the phones for a few months now and I gotta say, so far so good. I've not had a whole lot of hard to please or demanding customers. I get to chat with people from all over the country. When the phone rings I try to guess who will be on the other end; male voice, female voice, loud, soft, assertive, passive. I'm always wrong but it is a fun game to play.

The people I talk with tend to be one of the following:

  • Knows what they want, says it, does business and gets off the line quick.
  • Knows what they want, but wants to be reassured that what they want is okay. They like to be guided through the process.
  • Has no clue about what I offer or what they are getting in to, complete newbie, somewhat ignorant, lots of basic questions but usually enthusiastic.
  • Just checking on a detail. Thanks for the info.
  • Want's to know something completely tangential and mostly unrelated to my services.

I think my favorites are the ones that know what they want but let me lead. That way I can make sure I have all the necessary details in the order I like to get them.

I get a variety of personalities too:

  • More talk than listen.
    Hard to communicate info to these people. I always like to repeat an order back to the customer just to make sure I got it right but these people don't want to hear it. The correct order is old news to them I guess. They will even ask questions but not wait to hear the answer. I find myself trying to talk over them a lot.
  • Life story.
    These people want to tell me all the details of what lead up to me and what they will do after, and they tend to include many unneeded details about their kids and their heart surgery.
  • Fast talker.
    While I am writing the first digits of their street address they are spewing the last digits of their zip code. I am almost always asking them to repeat themselves. And no, spelling with the phonetic alphabet does not help the fast talker. "… That's Victor, India, November, Charley, Echo, November, Tango. Got it?.."
  • Slow and precise.
    Better than fast talker, at least I can get all the details right. Still tedious when I can type half an E-mail between hearing the street address and the city.
  • Wants a yes man.
    "Now you need a name and address, right?… Now, you want a phone number?… Will you send me a confirmation?… Will that be a five hour drive from Calgary airport?" After a whole conversation of my saying "Yes" or "that's correct" I wonder why they called me. They already knew everything. C'mon, let me lead a little. Maybe there is a detail I know better than you.

I like the people that will chat and make a point of enjoying the business transaction a little. I am really not in a hurry to get anyone off the line and if you have a clever anecdote I'm sure it will brighten my day. I am impressed that on some days practically everyone is nice and cheerful. I get calls from all over the US, is it possible that the whole country is in a good mood at the same time?

And the best part; working from home makes this a pants optional office. Think about that the next time you phone up customer service.

You're never quite sure what the other person is wearing either... Could be pantless on the other end of the line as well.
Whenever I answer phones over here, I'm always naked. It adds to the call.

You would not believe the Life Stories I get, either.

My personal favourites are the "OMG YOU'RE A GIRL!" and " like your job?" types. :D
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