Archive for Call Centre

Having A Big Shit In The Nest

Posted in Tales From Hell with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2008 by Buck Frain

Seeing as I’ve begun to bite the hand that feeds me, I might as well do the job properly and gnaw the fucker right off.

I work for Corgan Research, one of the country’s oldest MR firms. It sucks and is run by a complete maniac called Barry Corgan – big C, little organ, or so we suspect. Barry inherited the company from the founder, his father, so he’s always been rich and has never had to relate to people. He dresses like Gregory Peck in The Boys From Brazil, only shorter and without the moustache or charisma and a Barry’s a bit more of a nazi. The only way he ever communicates with anyone is by shouting at them. Thank fuck he hardly ever condescends to visit us. The odd occasions he does is usually to gloat about his empire to boozed up potential clients.


As head of the company he has established a culture of fear, pettiness and disaffected slovenliness. Thanks to a careful maneuvering around, or in some cases a complete flouting of, industrial relations and tax laws everyone in the entire building is paid well below any industry minimums. This results in everyone only doing the bare minimum they can get away with without getting fired and ripping the system for anything they can whenever opportunity arises. Barry treats every employee as if they are a thief and this sort of punitive management style filters down through the whole organisation. He routinely fires people on the spot so everyone fears and despises him, hates their job, and is suspicious of their co-workers. Interviewers are the lowest of the low, everyone has more power than us and despite the fact that none of them would have jobs if we weren’t here, I understand that most consider us some sort of subhuman troglodytes. Unfortunately, they’re occasionally correct. It’s a truly demoralising work environment.

The two main surveys we do are one for a big tobacco company on smoking habits. Our conspiracy theory has me certain the information they get from this is filed away for future legal cases to prove the vast majority of smokers smoke more than one brand of cigarettes so, when you try to sue them because of your lungs are rotting and your cock’s fallen off, they can say How do you know it was OUR cigarettes that caused your cancer? Pretty evil, huh? 

The other is for The Cuntingwealthy Bank, interviewing their customers about their level of satisfaction with the service they receive. This is gold because we have to rewrite customers’ actual responses into less offensive, more company-positive messages that are then passed on to the branches to contribute to employee KPIs and are posted on the internal website so the shareholders can see what a great company they own. Also a wee bit evil, no? It goes against everything market research is supposed to represent. If there was ever integrity in the simple gathering of information to find truths it has been corrupted by Barry and his corporate shit-sucking mates. It makes me wonder why we bother calling people at all for this project – we could just make the shit up, that is what we’re doing most of the time anyway.

The problem at its root is that the business of market research is a fiction. Our company produces nothing. Numbers on a page that are the result of meticulously engineered questionnaires tailored to produce the exact outcomes desired by the client. The manner in which the work is carried out is completely irrelevant. You could pay people top dollar for the best work or, like Barry does, pay the bare minimum to keep yourself out of jail and say bollocks to quality. The end results are indistinguishable from one another, so unless you have any interest in people as anything other than earning potential, it makes sense to create a shithole like Corgan’s.

This does not, however, change the fact that Barry Corgan is an evil dog-felching bastard and his empire is thoroughly contemptible. I believe, if you employ people, you have a duty to provide them with an environment where, even if their job is meaningless, they feel as though they are respected, they’re paid properly and treated with basic human dignity. Barry Corgan is a rotten-to-the-core-son-of-a-whore and I would happily beat the fucker to a stinking bloody pulp and then do a shit in his hat. Fuck you Barry!!!

My Confession – The Horrible Truth.

Posted in Tales From Hell with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2008 by Buck Frain

I work in a market research call centre. My job is to call people like you on the telephone and ask you all manner of pointless questions, while you try to prepare dinner or bathe your children, about products and services you don’t care about in order that faceless corporations can work out how better to get you to hand over your cash to them. So now you know the horrible truth. And you wondered why I was so angry?

Market research is where artistic mediocrities come to die. Dispirited by the corporatisation of the arts and the hopeless lack of funding for, or public interest in, anything that can’t be manipulated to sell burgers, we enter the career cul-de-sac of MR with the illusion of keeping our options open but secretly knowing that we’ll be here until we either die or our jobs get outsourced to a company in Bangalore.

I get out of the lift and clock into hell by pressing my thumbprint onto the scanner plate. Yes, they hate and distrust us that much. I sit at a booth with a neolithic computer, a dialer and a headset. Either side of me sit clones of me, broken artists, impoverished students, gambling addicts, the socially, aesthetically, or mentally challenged, society’s talking wounded. For four to eight hours at a stretch I sit while the auto-dialer dials for me, I say the words that appear in front of my face and key in the responses as given by the respondent. Creativity and initiative are dismissible offences. My job is to be a phone monkey. Say the fuckin’ words!

Of course, I could get another job. But could I get one that pays this well with so little work involved? Probably not. And there’s the rub. It’s Boiling Frog Syndrome – getting paid for sitting talking to people, drinking tea whilst gradually having one’s creativity, imagination, one’s very soul eroded through the dull repetition of mindless research-speak.

If your bank was a person would you be its friend?

Do agree or disagree that your current mobile phone defines your masculinity?

How relevant or irrelevant do you feel your current career makes you to reality? Would you say very relevant, relevant, neither relevant nor irrelevant, irrelevant or completely irrelevant?

Neither relevant nor irrelevant – nice grey area! Is it possible for anything to ever be neither relevant nor irrelevant?

The sad thing this job has really done to me is it’s given me an accurate picture of the society in which I live. I used to think most people in Australia were intelligent and open-minded, slightly left-thinking and generally good-natured. I was wrong, that was just the people I came into contact with. The Howard government’s longevity should have been a dead giveaway. I know now that most Australians are apthetic, sexist, racist, paranoid, hostile, right-wing, sport-obsessed, binge-drinking imbeciles who can’t even spell their own suburb of residence.

How did you get my number?

Well, sir, for this particular project we use random digit dialing…

Don’t bullshit me, I’ve got a silent number…

I understand that sir, what a lot of people don’t realise when they pay for their “silent” number is that all they pay for is for it not to be listed in the white pages or passed on by directory assistance. We have a computer program that generates numbers at random…

That’s impossible, it’s SILENT!!! How can you ring it?

Do you have children?

No!

Do you have friends with children?

Why?

Imagine your friend’s child at two years old…

She’s four!

…at four years old, takes the phone and just dials a jumble of numbers. If those numbers just happened to be your phone number, your phone would ring, wouldn’t it?

Yeah…

Our program is like that child – numbers at random…

Youse are fucked! I’m gonna sue you! You’ll be going to jail, mate and then you won’t be so fuckin’ smart, will ya?

I assure you we’re not doing anything illegal, if you don’t want to participate, all you have to do is decline.

Ya fuckin’ what?

Would you like to speak to my supervisor?

I get a few of these a night. I almost look forward to the stupidity – it breaks the monotony, and dealing with idiots is the only time we’re allowed any creative latitude, all within the bounds of professional civility, of course. A co-worker was sings …I hate people, I wanna kill ’em… Oh, how I empathise.

If you live in Australia, USA or UK there’s a very real possiblity that I may have rung you in the last couple of years. I may have actually annoyed you or someone in your household personally. If I have, I humbly apologise. If not, stay close to the phone because tonight could be your lucky night.