How to be a good (bad?) call center agent

Wow, what a month ! I spent this month in Casablanca, and during two weeks i worked in a call center in the heart of the city. My choice was a very bad idea, i may write about that later on, but overall i realized that succeeding in such a domain requires that one should have a couple of skills i don’t quite have, nor desire to have to be honnest. I can’t deny the fact that i learned so many things during the short time i spent here: communication skills, how to sale, how to use my voice to my advantage and many other lessons that helped me grow as a person. I learned how to survive under tons of pressure, how to cope with stress, how to avoid bad decisions and also numerous lessons regarding love, friendship, struggle and inner peace within ambiant chaos.

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Joan Cornella illustration

So without any further delay here’s my list on how to make it in a call center :

  1. Be fake. Chosing a french name is just the first layer that any agent is confronted with, you are thought that people will immedietly have suspicions if you tell them “Hello, this is Fatima Zahra” compared to “Hello, this is Sophie or Jaden”. Why ? Well because that’s how the world works and agents are not supposed to be active citizens that fight against amalgams regarding race and origins but to act as sheeps in a big industry that likes to assure benefit over any other human concept. You also lie about the location of the pseudo-firm you represent (France as an example), during the formation, they give you fake adresses that you need to give to the clients in case they ask where are you calling from. These adresses do not exist, of course.
  2. Keep a smile on your face, even if it’s fake. Having a smiley voice is supposed to be a good advice, right ? Well, not in the world of call centers. In this world, no one cares if you had a horrible week or if you just lost a family member  : you have to smile to the customer. Faking your happiness will get the person over the line to trust the company that you’re representing, it will give a good impression and make you look trustworthy… In the end, you will earn the customer’s trust and get them to reveal their credit card informations with you.

  1. Justify your immorality with even more immorality. One of the main reasons i hated the job and quit after two weeks of work is exactly because of the immorality behind it. I’m speaking here of the fact that most agents justify their actions saying that “You’re not really scamming the clients if they agree on giving you their credit card over the phone, you’re not forcing them into anything after all, you just lure them to buy from you”. Selling products you don’t know anything about under the name of a company that probably doesn’t even exist and justify this behavior under the name of capitalism. Ah, good old capitalism, i was always anti-capitalist, but this call center experience i got this summer and last summer got me to hate it even more : you’re legally stealing from people, selling them horrible goods (some they’ll never receive) using trust and benefit as a motive.
  2. Incentivising relationships and dialog. So the client won’t buy from you or just smells the scam ? Politely hang up and move to the next call. The minute the person doesn’t buy from you or just gives you signs that they’re not easy customers, you’re not supposed to keep the conversation going any further. You’ll be considered incompetent and a time-waster if you do. This teaches the people working in call-centers a very toxic way of dealing with people : if they don’t serve your purpose, if you can’t gain something from the call or communication, they’re of no use. It’s probably the worst thing call centers tend to normalize. It makes people see others as “tules” to gain money, benefits and reach goals and not as humans will desires, stories and personal struggles.
  3. Never treat the clients as human beings, treat them as numbers and sales. If you happen to empathize with any client, you might as well be fired. Never, ever trust the person in the other line.
  4. Pretend to care in order to earn trust. Just like i mentioned before, you have to fake everything, so the feelings you send off need to be studied in order to psycheologicaly manipulate the person you’re talking to into buying. They just lost a family member ? Use that to your advantage. They’re sick ? Accentuate the benefits of the products you’re selling and how good they are for the person’s health. They already been scammed before and are against giving their credit card information ? Use the script and the objection treatment to make your business seem legit, completely secure and safe. “We use the paybox system, the minute we type your credit card numbers into our system, the numbers turn into black dots and we are not allowed to keep them. Our data base is secured by the England bank as well as your bank. Mr. Smith, you already gave us your numbers before, the only reason why we’re asking for your credit card information is to validate the payment and send you your parcel. We’re not asking for your pin code or security numbers, just the sixteen numbers in the front of your bank card…” Everything is legit to say as long as the poor customer gives you his credit card numbers. Even flirting is legit as long as you smell like trust.
  5. Don’t have ego or self worth in order to succeed. Your boss is a fat neo-colonialist french guy using the moroccan market for cheap labor and ego-less workers he can pay poorly ? Great, lick his balls and make sure to suck his dick as strong as you can to keep him satisfied! Use the pseudo power he gives you to stress other workers into making a large number of sales or get your body and ears ready to be called incompetent, all sorts of rude and inhuman names, take it in and find someone you can blame… maybe the newcomers? He might even kick some chairs and tables if he’s pissed at the numbers of people scammed while playing with his fat belly in such a disgusting way. You’re not even allowed to puke.

Short story long, this is a satiric article, if you work in a call center, a legitimate one who doesn’t ask old people to give their credit card information, if you don’t deal with such problems on a daily basis… this article is not about you so no need to get butthurt. If you’re not swimming in legitimate sea, you might as well get butthurt, i’m actually praying you do. I know that for young people, especially in third world countries, making a living is very hard. I wanted to earn pocket money for the summer and ended up as a pawn in such a huge and crual capitalist world; contrary to some young people, i can shut the door at any time, i could drop the job at any minute because i don’t need it. Other people don’t have that much choice, they don’t have any experience, they need to survive in a very crual society where nothing is free anymore, they need to care for sick family members and can’t find a job anywhere else but in call centers. To those people, i send my regards and i can understand their struggle, they’re forced to become a part of the system in order to survive. But as long as our country makes such business legal, as long as the world’s community doesn’t ban such behaviors and new-order scammers and slavers, how is change ever going to happen ? I’m writing this post in a vain attempt to wake some people up to the horrible darkness going on in front of our eyes, some people got so deep in this darkness that they can’t see how toxic it is on young people. You consciously become a machine, you agree to serve lords that will throw some pennies at you after you transgress every human code there is. But i’m glad i had this experience, it allowed me to look at how some people live under the pressure of a system where the only the strongest survives. By strong, the system means the one who is capable of everything as long as the goal is met. Machiavel certainly inspired their methods : the goal, at all times, justifies the means.

Peace out !


2 thoughts on “How to be a good (bad?) call center agent

  1. chère Fatii,
    je constate que l’image de ta dernière publication est énorme et déborde de la colonne de droite sur mon blog. va vérifier : morin-arte.blogspot.ca et essaie de corriger, stp !
    x

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