As some of you may know, I’ve recently started an exciting new career as a technical support representative for a local ISP. It’s actually an enjoyable job–interactions with the physical public are virtually nonexistent and the work itself borders on interesting–but has its low points: one is the boredom–it’s all well and good when you’re on the phone helping someone with either a problem you can solve in a timely fashion or one that’s new to you and therefore mildly compelling. It’s quite another beast entirely to sit on the phone for fifteen minutes while some elderly, slightly deaf Alabaman tells you exactly why she believes her “internet’s broke” as she tries to hold her upper denture plate in place with her tongue.
Then there are the people who call you, a lowly peon working for a middling company that was contracted out to provide tech support for a larger company that provides high-speed internet services, to complain about how much your company sucks and how you, personally, are the worst person they have ever spoken to on the phone. Forgetting for a second that competent customer service is a sadly neglected luxury these days, there’s still the fact that the tech support help desk exists solely to politely solve problems in a speedy and cheerful manner. It is not a font of sadistic, money-hungry fuckery.
We don’t make money off the customer by forcing them to call back after three unsuccessful attempts to set up their shiny new DSL hardware. In fact, the more a customer calls back, the less money the ISP pays the tech support company for each call, until eventually we’re not making any profit at all. We’re trained to do our jobs in such a way that the job stays done, at least for a reasonable amount of time.
In the whopping ten days of my official employment, I have had six separate, unrelated calls from people telling me just how awful I am. In no way were these calls related to shoddy service or incompetence on the part of the tech support desk. More often than not, they were simple cases of cheap, angry misers calling the first number listed on their bills and yelling at whoever answered.
The occassional abuse one takes from a customer is to be accepted, even enjoyed, since most of the time it’s so obviously misguided and forced that you actually have to bite your knuckles to keep from snickering. That doesn’t make it any less irritating, though. If I didn’t know my calls were being recorded (including the five seconds following the customer’s hang-up, just in case you want to call them a twat under your breath) I would probably say quite a few unfortunate, tasteless things to certain people.
Also, if one more person mispronounces “Linux”, “ethernet” or “Linksys”, I am going to fucking scream.