It takes all sorts to make a world, and call centre jobs will acquaint you with each and every one of these sorts. There are certain sorts, however, who pop up more commonly in call centres than others. Here’s a list of the top 10 types of customer you’ll come across as a call centre agent…work never gets dull with these guys around!
1. The Flirt
This one is self-explanatory. The ‘flirt’ is the caller who’ll shamelessly charm you and be ever-so-slightly inappropriate with their flattery. It’s not that they’ll ask you what you’re wearing, but they will compliment you on your voice and ply you with cheeky jokes. As long as they’re dealt with professionally and not allowed to control the conversation, you don’t really mind the flirt because they brighten up your day.
2. The Hulk
The Hulk is the plague of call centre jobs. These are the rage-fuelled customers whose fury surpasses all logical reasoning. They snarl, they roar, and they generally fall one step short of beating their hands on their chest whilst screaming at you. The only way to deal with the ‘Hulk’ caller is to remain cool, calm and collected. If they go too far and relentlessly abuse you, you can always terminate the call.
3. The Lonely Heart
A lonely heart caller will try to keep you on the line for as long as possible. They aren’t especially interested in the main business of the phone call – they only really want someone to have a chat to. Just remember to turn the conversation back to the main topic with as much tact as possible when they start musing about their dead cat.
4. The Chatterbox
The chatterbox will mess up your call time if you let them build up a head of steam. These customers are the ones who’ll happily launch off into a series of irrelevant stories about the finer details of their lives, and before you know it you’ll find yourself talking about their holiday in Tenerife last year instead of the insurance policy you’re trying to advise them on. Beware the chatterbox!
5. The Wind Up Merchant
Everyone working in call centre jobs has had their leg proverbially pulled by a wind up merchant. You know the sort. These jokers will string you along, pretending to be interested in what you’re saying and asking a series of questions whilst ‘mmm’ing and ‘ahh’ing in all the right places. Then…BOOM. They hit you with the emphatic ‘no’ and the hang up. Thanks guys, thanks.
6. The Whinger
Whingers aren’t especially angry…they’re just disappointed. And they’re going to bleat about their disappointment in minute detail. Generally, their whinge is something petty and pointless, but it’s your doom to listen and try to placate the caller. (Which is impossible, as they won’t be deprived of their favourite pastime!)
7. The Whisperer
“Excuse me, could you repeat that I didn’t quite catch it?” is a polite way of telling whisperers to speak up as you don’t have magical hearing skills. Whisperers are in the same family as mumblers, and they seriously make life difficult in a busy, noisy call centre. It’s annoying, but at least these callers give your ears a bit of a rest.
8. The Brian Blessed
The polar opposite of whisperers, the Brian Blessed caller only has one volume: LOUD. They’ll have a sustained, polite conversation with you entirely at shout level – leaving you with battered ear drums and a pounding head. Even with volume turned right down, there’s still no sanctuary from Brian Blesseds.
9. The Elitist
Call centre jobs are haunted by the elitist caller. These uppity souls are the ones who demand to speak to your manager and refuse to accept that you’re the person they need to talk to. They probably wouldn’t be satisfied even if they had the Prime Minister of the UK on the other end of the line. These callers are so widespread that you’ll be a pro at handling them in no time.
10. The Unbelievably Nice Guy
Every now and then, a caller pops up who just brightens your whole day. They’re polite, they’re friendly, they’re helpful, and they’re thoroughly pleasant to work with. The unbelievably nice guy is a rare creature, but their appearances can have a lasting effect on your work morale. Thank heaven for these callers!
As you can see, call centre jobs expose you to a rich tapestry of…ahem… ‘colourful’ characters. Are there any we’ve missed from the list?!