What is it with telesales jobs in large offices and call-centres?



Grimes

Midfield
I applied for 150 with BT but they filled those roles and put me on outbound telesales instead. It was the same with stats and you got into trouble if you went to the toilet as it affected your active time. We had to put our hand up and ask the team leader permission to go to the toilet or to fill your water bottle up if you'd ran out. Your break was from the second you pressed stop on your machine and it counted down the fifteen minutes from that click. It meant you couldn't have a break with people from your team as you had to dash off, grab a coffee and neck it and be back at your desk before your 15 minutes was up. Hot drinks were banned from desks. If you hung around waiting for other people to finish their calls, it meant you didn't have enough time for a hot drink.

We had to keep people on the phone for as long as possible so your average call time was over five minutes. It was really hard to do as if people said they were having their tea or bathing their bairns or something, you were supposed to ignore that and keep them on the phone as long as possible which irritated them. A short refusal call affected your stats but customer asking for a call back didn't. Some sneaky people would put refusals down as call backs, so you'd be the second, third or fourth person to ring them that evening and you'd get a torrent of abuse as they were pissed off about being disturbed again. It was an automatic dialler so theoretically the person would say hello and their account details would pop up on the screen at the same time telling you what to sell to them. Sometimes it didn't work, so you'd have someone saying hello and you had no idea who you were calling and what you had to sell to them. Sometimes the information was out of date, so I was asking to speak to dead people which upset customers and you didn't have the time to practise difficult or foreign names so I sometimes I offended people by saying their name wrong.

It was all jolly forced fun. They'd play stuff like Run DMC before a shift and we'd all have to dance like loons to put us in the mood to sell. Then the fun people would wander round with a video cam and randomly stick a balloon or a puppet in your face. It'd would be broadcast on big screens in the call centre, so you were trying to talk professionally to customers, while smiling and doing zany waves to the camera for the screens. I hated that bit!

Only lasted a few weeks. A job opening came up in customer accounts which was in an office dealing with admin work and I only had to phone customers if I had a query on their account. I liked that much better.

I’m sorry but I’m buckled at that. :lol:

Who thinks this would be a good idea?
 

Darlo1973

Midfield
Indeed, if ever someone wants to find motivation to go back to Uni and try and improve their prospects. Working in a call centre is the perfect push some folk need

I did my time in a call centre the year after university. Half the people there were recent graduates waiting for a better job to come along and would be on job search websites all day. People used to call in sick all of the time when it was obvious that they were just going to an interview as I did it myself a number of times. Amazing how that "stomach bug" was fine the next day.
 
I did my time in a call centre the year after university. Half the people there were recent graduates waiting for a better job to come along and would be on job search websites all day. People used to call in sick all of the time when it was obvious that they were just going to an interview as I did it myself a number of times. Amazing how that "stomach bug" was fine the next day.

I worked at Homeworthy / Silentnight (admin offices) for a few months through an agency after uni and got a proper bollocking after having a telephone interview during my lunch hour on the company phone!
 

TexasMackem

Winger
I think it's formative to have a really shit job early on in your working life as a reality check. Character building, and you end up with some great stories.
Totally agree, being treat like a battery hen makes you appreciate a real opportunity where you aren't just a staff number.

I'm a trainee engineer now and I'm surprised at the trivial shite my colleagues moan about. They don't know misery like being called racist for not giving someone an iphone for free while your manager is in fancy dress doing the conga with other managers in fancy dress on the office floor (EE).

I will say this though, the most erudite people I know work in call centres. There's lots of talented people wasting their careers in those jobs.

It can very easily become a rut, it did for me for about 12 years. You definitely need to have an exit plan.
 

rey mysterio

Midfield
Whether it's ResQ, Citi, Barclays, 2 Touch, Northumbrian Water, Royal Mail, BT ... they're all a bit shit in varying degrees (and I've worked in them all)
Middle-managers get absolutely high as a kite on the power given to them, despite having no experience whatsoever in man-management.

They get promoted on the strength of a few decent months' sales and licking the arse of HR at the right time. Nepotism also helps.
These same bosses twist on about the pressure they get from above, and blame the plebs if he/she can't run a team.

They act like your best mate when you've had a good month and you're wanted on THEIR team, stab you in the back when the heat is on.
Reach for company manual and quote policy ad verbatim when they can't even understand a word of it.

I always did quite well in call-centres but - this may surprise you - my bad attitude let me down.
I wonder of my experience matches that of others..

  • Barclays - great training, decent basic but poor commission structure. Most managers on power trips.
  • 2 Touch - good money if you graft but nepotism was rife. High staff turnover, now known as something else.
  • Northumbrian Water - good training, poor money, awful to get to.
  • Citi - nepotism central (long-gone after the worldwide financial crisis)
  • Royal Mail - the boredom makes you yawn so much, people think you're crying.
  • BT - as above, but this was in the days of 192 so you'd expect little else.
  • ResQ - .....poor management at all levels and little fascists getting the plum jobs. Two sisters that do the training were hot AF though.

Npower was a riot - two years of actual graft and five years of basically taking the piss for a living. Dunder Mifflin had nothing on them

Call centres in general are a nightmare. Working from home and having to explain why you used two minutes comfort break to go for a piss. In your own actual home.

Complete joke.
 

Obvious Mag

Full Back
I did a few months at British Airways doing admin in Scotswood after I got made redundant.

Absolute hell, the people were awful so you had none of the redeeming features of a shit job.

This was all pre internet as a way to do everything and the holiday sales people were seen as gods and the whole thing was like a cult. We are BA and we are the greatest. People there would literally enjoy being spoken to and treat like shit for 60% off a holiday and standby flight tickets as perks. The Union lot in there were probably the worst (back in the day BA mildly tolerated the unions).

the lass in the canteen was fit. That’s about the highlight.
 
I will say this though, the most erudite people I know work in call centres. There's lots of talented people wasting their careers in those jobs.
that's part of the tragedy, isn't it?
great people, loads of nous, intelligence, humour, ability, decency ... all stuck at the bottom of a rather shitty tree.
let's see if the new developments at Vaux and Deptford make a difference to the economic fabric of the city, eh?
Call centres in general are a nightmare. Working from home and having to explain why you used two minutes comfort break to go for a piss. In your own actual home.

Complete joke.
Really? They've got the same regime for home-working?!?
the lass in the canteen was fit. That’s about the highlight.
"every cloud...", and all that!
 
My daughter has worked for a well-known bank in a call center in Sunderland (not Barclays) for the last year or so, from the little she has told me it’s exactly as most have described, she has a BA Hons in leadership and management and has had to take a job in a call center due to the shit/nonexistent jobs market in Sunderland (doesn't want to move away) and covid.

Can't see anything changing anytime soon.

She has the option to move away but won’t. Can’t see the problem.
 

Darlo1973

Midfield
My daughter has worked for a well-known bank in a call center in Sunderland (not Barclays) for the last year or so, from the little she has told me it’s exactly as most have described, she has a BA Hons in leadership and management and has had to take a job in a call center due to the shit/nonexistent jobs market in Sunderland (doesn't want to move away) and covid.

Can't see anything changing anytime soon.

Surely someone with a BA in "Leadership" (is there anything you can't get a degree in these days?) would know that to further your career you often have to take the initiative move to where the opportunities are. That's what I can countless other people from the NE have done over the years.
 
My daughter has worked for a well-known bank in a call center in Sunderland (not Barclays) for the last year or so, from the little she has told me it’s exactly as most have described, she has a BA Hons in leadership and management and has had to take a job in a call center due to the shit/nonexistent jobs market in Sunderland (doesn't want to move away) and covid.

Can't see anything changing anytime soon.
Not having a go here but what was she expecting to get?
A call centre can be a great foot in the door to lead onto leadership and management roles. How would you feel being managed by someone straight out of uni with no work experience?
There are graduate trainee roles out there but you'd still be doing the grunt work to start out (probably including call centre work).
A degree doesn't get you a job in your chosen profession, it just helps you be a step ahead of those without one.
My advice, from years of recruiting and managing graduates, is for her to excel at the shit call centre work, get herself noticed, and then use what she's learned at uni when applying for more senior roles.
There are plenty of well paid jobs in Sunderland, I'd love to see more, but you don't just roll out of uni and straight into one. Nor would you expect to if you lived in London.
 
My last "call centre job" was to pretend to be taking calls for an hour or so, because the firm were going after a huge contract, and wanted to create the illusion of being a lot bigger than they were. The actual staff were at best bemused by the flooding of paid stooges onto their floor.

No idea if they won the contract, or even if they were still on the go, but it was the most odd but easy £150 I ever earned.
 

Ilios

Winger
I've done it a couple of times, including a stint for 3 months just to give me some cash between terms at Uni.

Awful, soul destroying experience. My teammates were terrific and we often got drunk together after work, and stayed in touch after I left, but that was the only positive. Some of the highlights:

'Why did you spend 57 seconds in 'aftercall' at the end of a call at 11.23 on the 4th of June?'

Me thinking: 'How the fuckitty piss do I know what call that even relates to, I've made hundreds of phone calls since then and you've provided no distinguishing features beyond a timestamp'...

My actual response: 'I don't know, perhaps it was a more complicated/long call that required considerable notes at the end of the call.' I'm going to need more information than a date and time'.

Them: 'You should be using minimal aftercall time at all times, as you're effectively avoiding work if you're in aftercall'

Me: 'Is it avoiding work to effectively annotate a person's account after the call, using a function expressly labelled for that purpose, so that next time they call, everyone knows the history if their complaint in legible English?'

Them: 'No, but you be doing that during the call.'

Me: 'So instead of doing everything I can to fix their problem, firing back and forth between screens and departments, and making sure I'm listening carefully to what they're saying, you're more concerned that I write up aftercall notes while they're still on the phone and I'm still dealing with it, because I can't use the aftercall button to record things after a call...what is the point of the aftercall button?'....

...You were 90 seconds late signing back in after a break 3 weeks ago, do you know why?'

Me: Not specifically. But my break starts the second I hit the button, and I then have to log out, get my headset off and lock my PC. The break areas are a full 2 minute walk from my desk through 3 fobbed doors and down a flight of stairs, and the male toilets are in a different location again. Assuming I had time to squeeze in a trip to both, I can't bring a drink back to my workstation, which means I have to neck it on the spot and run back. When I get back, it takes me about 90 seconds to get signed back into multiple systems with multiple passwords/get headset back on and change my phone back...so maybe that day I needed a slightly longer wee, or there was a person in front of me at the coffee machine which has tipped me over my allotted time'...

Also me: have you also added up all of the times I stayed on a call which lasted beyond the end of my shift? Or when I got on a long call just before lunch, and had my lunch delayed by 50+ mins, which meant the end of my lunch and start of my afternoon break ended up only about 15 minutes apart?

As you can see, I was fully aware that I only needed to do this for a few months (they weren't mind) and so I was a bit more pointed in my responses than the poor battery hens who had to put up with this kind of crap longterm.
 
I've done it a couple of times, including a stint for 3 months just to give me some cash between terms at Uni.

Awful, soul destroying experience. My teammates were terrific and we often got drunk together after work, and stayed in touch after I left, but that was the only positive. Some of the highlights:

'Why did you spend 57 seconds in 'aftercall' at the end of a call at 11.23 on the 4th of June?'

Me thinking: 'How the fuckitty piss do I know what call that even relates to, I've made hundreds of phone calls since then and you've provided no distinguishing features beyond a timestamp'...

My actual response: 'I don't know, perhaps it was a more complicated/long call that required considerable notes at the end of the call.' I'm going to need more information than a date and time'.

Them: 'You should be using minimal aftercall time at all times, as you're effectively avoiding work if you're in aftercall'

Me: 'Is it avoiding work to effectively annotate a person's account after the call, using a function expressly labelled for that purpose, so that next time they call, everyone knows the history if their complaint in legible English?'

Them: 'No, but you be doing that during the call.'

Me: 'So instead of doing everything I can to fix their problem, firing back and forth between screens and departments, and making sure I'm listening carefully to what they're saying, you're more concerned that I write up aftercall notes while they're still on the phone and I'm still dealing with it, because I can't use the aftercall button to record things after a call...what is the point of the aftercall button?'....

...You were 90 seconds late signing back in after a break 3 weeks ago, do you know why?'

Me: Not specifically. But my break starts the second I hit the button, and I then have to log out, get my headset off and lock my PC. The break areas are a full 2 minute walk from my desk through 3 fobbed doors and down a flight of stairs, and the male toilets are in a different location again. Assuming I had time to squeeze in a trip to both, I can't bring a drink back to my workstation, which means I have to neck it on the spot and run back. When I get back, it takes me about 90 seconds to get signed back into multiple systems with multiple passwords/get headset back on and change my phone back...so maybe that day I needed a slightly longer wee, or there was a person in front of me at the coffee machine which has tipped me over my allotted time'...

Also me: have you also added up all of the times I stayed on a call which lasted beyond the end of my shift? Or when I got on a long call just before lunch, and had my lunch delayed by 50+ mins, which meant the end of my lunch and start of my afternoon break ended up only about 15 minutes apart?

As you can see, I was fully aware that I only needed to do this for a few months (they weren't mind) and so I was a bit more pointed in my responses than the poor battery hens who had to put up with this kind of crap longterm.
With you every step of the way, there my friend.
And all this happens whilst pals of "Them" are taking the piss by walking about chatting whilst on "after call"

Oh, and don't forget when there's some pissy floor-wide incentive or it's Comic bastard Relief ... they put the David Brent veneer of jolly entertainer and we're all supposed to laugh and ring bells whilst we're actually dying inside.
 

herra soul mob

Midfield
My last "call centre job" was to pretend to be taking calls for an hour or so, because the firm were going after a huge contract, and wanted to create the illusion of being a lot bigger than they were. The actual staff were at best bemused by the flooding of paid stooges onto their floor.

No idea if they won the contract, or even if they were still on the go, but it was the most odd but easy £150 I ever earned.
was this one of hancocks mates places ?
 

Ilios

Winger
With you every step of the way, there my friend.
And all this happens whilst pals of "Them" are taking the piss by walking about chatting whilst on "after call"

Oh, and don't forget when there's some pissy floor-wide incentive or it's Comic bastard Relief ... they put the David Brent veneer of jolly entertainer and we're all supposed to laugh and ring bells whilst we're actually dying inside.
Oh and I forgot, the thrice daily 'smoke breaks' that lots of people simultaneously were allowed to take - including several managers. I don't know what phone setting they were on for this, but I'm pretty sure if I said I was a sex addict and took 2 or 3 self-declared breaks a day to have a w*nk in the toilets, I'm pretty sure that would be raised in a meeting. :lol:
 

Top