I am a firm believer that we should work on changing our behavior as we mature. When we are young it seems to be our nature to do things that might be silly but might be taken as unkind by others. I bet we can all look back and think of a time in our youth when we had said something or done something that we didn’t give a second thought to, but that the recipient of this behavior might have been affected significantly. Even in my youth, I had always tried to be kind, but looking back,, it seems I myself may have been somewhat guilty of this immature and rude behavior, well… never again. I now realize that what seems small to me at the time, may not me so small to someone else.
Something that comes to my mind lately comes from seeing first hand how a recipient of someone’s thoughtless behavior can affect someone significantly. You see, my 19 year old daughter came home this last summer so excited to share the news that she had landed her very first job. She was hired on to work for a telemarketing company. She was trained to answer calls and process catalog orders. After extensive training, she was on her own to answer calls. I tried to prepare her ahead of time by letting her know how some customers might treat her. I told her not to take the words or actions of negative customers personally. During her training she was taught to stick to the script they were given and to answer all questions with the scripts. These scripts were posted on the computer screen. Occasionally, I would ask her how it was going and she would answer ” ok”, just like most teenagers do when they talk to their parents, they don’t want to get into the details so they limit their answers. Eventually, my daughter was showing signs of anxiety and I would notice her crying now and then. I grilled her with questions and she finally confessed that her job was getting to her. She explained that it wasn’t the hours or most of the job tasks that were getting to her but that some of the callers were so rude and that her employer had unrealistic expectations. One day she came home early and I asked her what happened. She told me that she was sent home. I asked her why and she explained that she was taking a catalog order and the customer was becoming difficult. Her call was being monitored (as occasionally the employer does for quality assurance) and she had gone off of the script for a second. The employer gave her a week suspension without pay. That is a lot of money to a teenager. Upon talking to my daughter she stated that the customers statements and questions did not fit the upcoming script. The script included asking the customer if they were interested in a special sale and according to my daughter the customer had previously told her she only wanted the one item and to “save the speech”. Yes, due to my daughter treating the customer like a human being and respecting their wishes, she was sent home with out pay for a week.
My daughter states that the scripts they MUST stick to do not always fit each situation. If she went off of the script by even a few words she was sent home. During her employment here she was sent home twice and upon her return each time, her calls were monitored during a probation period.
The employer was not the only problem. As you can imagine, the customers were another big issue. She encountered very, very, rude people. Not just one rude customer now and then, but a big percentage of them were rude.. She would take orders for customers that were catalog orders for thousands of dollars and then get to the end of the transaction and they would cancel it because the customer decided they didn’t want it anymore or they didn’t want to process the transaction the way it needed to be done (none of this my daughter’s fault). She encountered people that insisted on speaking to her manager because she had to “stay on script” and then when they were handed over to the manager and were not handled any differently. My daughter lost a lot of revenue because of customers that went out of their way to be rude and also wasted her time (time that could have been spent helping other grateful customers). She was only 19 and had to answer questions that were not age appropriate for her such as information about male enhancement supplements, and how well do they work? She had customers ask her if she was new ( when she had to stick to her script) because her script made her sound like a robot with no human emotions. My daughter worked at a call center for 8 months and my reaction to those that take orders from catalogs or the such will never be the same. I have seen first hand the emotional damage it can do to the person employed by one of these places. I will forever let these people say their scripts and I will be kind to them. I will tell them to have a nice day. I will forever put myself in their shoes as I have been educated; that is a good thing to do in every situation. I felt sorry for my daughter.. She now has a job that she reported to me yesterday ” I love my new job mom” and I couldn’t be happier for her.