Call Centre Calls

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Long back, when one of my friends said that she got a job in call centre, her parents prayed god to protect her from neighbor’s jealous views (the ones with ‘blue double arrows’ that you see in ‘nazar suraksha kavach’ ad). A year later they were even more rigorously praying god to save her from the curses of the world.

We are used to talking irrespective of whether the opponents are listening or not. You can observe that in political meetings, religious satsangs, official presentations, classroom lectures, elderly advices, etc. We literally live to speak. You would have observed parents worrying about their child not speaking at age of just 10-12 months. We also enjoy listening. You would have observed that some are regarded as great orator. But you ask them about something, the orator had spoken, they would go blank. The business caught on it. There was a great set of people who wish to speak and there is a far greater mass who wish to listen. They developed ‘call centre market’ and related jobs.

When I asked my friends about their experience with call centre, as expected, no one gave back their experiences. Not that they didn’t had any experience, I understand that no one wanted to recall it from their subconscious mind. But what’s fun in having a mobile and not getting call centre calls?

In earlier days, call centre calls were rampant, that too in English. The girl / boy on the other end would speak in clear English about their product without understanding the English grasping capacity of the listener. My grandmother, who knew none of English, generally converses with the caller. She was in fact eager for their calls. She would adjust her hearing aid on one ear and casually hear from the other ear. She used to boast that she gets calls from metro cities.

I have registered for ‘Do not call’ facility, but they called and confirmed this so many times that I realized that I actually received call directly. Changing mobiles too do not stop these calls. I am telling this by experience. I get equal amount of call be it my Nokia / Samsung / LG mobile.

My cousin handled in a very different way. He used to give his mobile to his 3 year old, gibberish speaking daughter Harini, once he receives a call – especially if the caller is not a lady. Harini would always talk in Tamil, irrespective of the language she hear from other end. Once Harini complained of her playschool maid, to the call centre executive, for 15 minutes. She was nonstop. After a couple of months, fearing Harini, the calls actually stopped. Harini was a great ‘Do No Call’ device at her age.

Once I used to disconnect a number regularly. On a particular day, the call repeated for a couple of times. I disconnected first and then attended. Before anything else, the girl on the other end started shouting at me, “What do you think of yourself sir? One, you don’t attend the call. Two if you attend, you cut the call without allowing me to say anything. Three, you otherwise switch off the mobile. You are very bad customer”. Saying this, she slammed the phone down. I was stunned. I really till date do not know what product she sold. I was left with guilty feeling that I hurt her sentiments.

A neighbor of mine is a great guy. He has somehow managed to get some international toll free number. He would regularly dial to them and keep asking questions of various formats. I think Euro crash has to do something to his call to the toll free numbers in the EU. There are also a few who give missed call to call centre numbers. They should be analysed by renowned psychiatrists.

There are some call centres which you can never reach. Call centres of Railways, Police, your mobile network, ICICI bank, HDFC bank, etc. are a few worth mentioning. Once I somehow managed to get to HDFC number, explained my problems on the card on length. Then she announced that she belonged to Credit Card section and transferred to Debit Card section. I had to explain it all over again. But before I finished my lecture, his shift was over. That’s when I lost some of my little weight, which I never gained back.

If you actually call a call centre and get to talk to a human, then you are lucky. Handling Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) is also a skill. My friend actually interacts with the mechanical voice in the IVRS. Mostly he complains that the lady never listens to what he says and only asks to press some random number. I explained the whole system to him once. He shook his head as if he understood completely, but never stopped talked to that pre-recorded voice. Let him be in his wonderland fighting the pre-recording.

While we actually feel that we don’t like call centre calls, I feel that deep down the heart we like being disturbed by their calls. Because it is in these calls we show our power or anger, which we cannot show to boss / wife / friends.

Long live call centres and their calls to us.

Karthik Nilagiri

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2 Comment's

  1. desigar says:

    It’s real fun read your blog, especially the way u described about ‘Do Not Call Device’ Harini.

    I agree with you that you never get connected to your mobile network call centre. I recently did a risk by calling my reliance(perhaps unreliance?) to lodge complaint. But, that experience was nothing less than torture at Nazi gas chamber. I interacted(?) with IVRS, and even after keying sequence of numbers larger than even super computers to crash, i couldn’t find that magic number to reach that so called ‘customer care’ executive… so, i am not fortunate enough to feel their ‘customer care’.

    Sometime ago i read from newspapers that, when Pranab Mukherjee, cabinet minister was in a high-level meeting to curb unsolicited call menace, actually got one sales call…!

  2. 😀

    same happens in ‘A Wednesday’ to Anupam Kher…

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