So now I work at a call center for a bank. The training was extensive, with a total of two weeks before I was let on the phones alone. I thought the hardest part would be learning the phone system and the computer programs; it seems I was wrong: the hardest thing is restraining my sense of humor. The situations are rife for comedy – rife, I tell you!
So here’s some things I’ve learned:
1. When a customer says: “What do you need?” meaning “what information do you need from me for us to perform this transaction?”, I cannot say “your account number, your social security number and a pound of Belgian chocolate.”
2. Most customers don’t appreciate it when you turn the security questions into a game show.
3. You cannot spend more than fifteen minutes discussing your car with the customer, even if you do drive the same make and model. You both have other things you should be doing.
4. There are many customers who will mention Jesus to you. Most of them would be disconcerted to have you chime back in with a hearty, “and praise be to the Goddess!”
5. You cannot answer the phone saying “help may I how you?”
6. You certainly can’t answer with “city morgue, you kill ’em, we chill ’em.”
7. You cannot recommend or disparage any specific products or services other than those offered by the bank. This is important to consider when tempted to invite the customer to seek professional help.
8. You cannot help people along and finish their sentences, especially when they’re giving you their account number. This is called a “breach of security” and is generally frowned upon.
9. Although you are able to see the most intimate details of someone’s financial life, you cannot, when a customer terms the bank’s $36 overdraft fee as “taking food out of my children’s mouths,” remind them that said overdraft occurred due to a $75 liquor store bill, following a bill for $150 from “Madame LuLu’s Palace of Forbidden Desire Day Spa for Men.”
10. It is considered a conflict of interest to take collections for the “Make the Call Center Staff Rich” fund.
11. No one wants to hear their three-figure overdraft referred to as a “whoopsie.”
12. Asking for step-by step instructions on how to fool the computer into depositing large sums of money into your own account is viewed as suspicious activity, even if you’re only curious. Really.