Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Customer Service Test

I went in this morning for my customer service test at LargeUnnamedTemporaryService this morning. Hint: It's nationwide and starts with a K and I mistakenly thought, given their perky emerald green logo, that perhaps some shared ancestral heritage would make it kind to me. The customer service test is done on a computer with a headset; you put on the headset and the computer gives you your choice of three little scripts to read in response to the completely bullshit sounding customer. It's not difficult, because even I can figure out that in the horrible alterna-world that is the temp company's training module of evil, you're supposed to answer the phone by saying "Hello, thank you for calling XYZ Corp, this is Felicity, how may I help you?" in a sweet and cheerful voice instead of snarling "XYZ Corp!" as is done in real life. Well, I say it isn't difficult, but then I failed.

Part of it anyway. I got the being nice part okay, and the greeting, and the ending, but I missed the vital Sell The Customer More Shit in the middle part. So I had to take a remedial module. I was not happy about this, particularly since the 22 year old temp service employee said encouragingly to me "Gee, you did really well on the first part! Have you ever done customer service before?" and I wanted to strangle her.

I took the remedial sales module and I learned all about the ways to sell people shit they do not need or want under the name of Customer Service and I decided that what I really want to do with my life is make those training modules, because, jesus, they suck, and I could do it better with a sharpie and a torn piece of newsprint. It was like being submerged in evil: I learned about how to use leading questions to get the people to admit other things they wanted and then I learned the most evil trick of all: closing the sale by assumption. The assumption means that you just say, "Okay, Mrs. Smith, I'll sign you up for that right now" before the customer has actually agreed to purchase anything. You can tell that they're approaching a "buying moment" by the fact that they'll either agree with you, ask your advice, ask for details, or, as far as I could tell, do anything at all other than hang up shouting Fuck You!

I wanted to take a shower. When that happens to me on the phone I become completely berserk, but apparently it's standard operating procedure and the customer is the better for it. So I finished my remedial and walked into the other office to learn about the horrible job I agreed to take next week. The temp lady started to explain the timecode and then said, "Dress code is business casual, which means. . . "and okay, maybe I'm sensitive, but I got offended that she felt she needed to explain business casual to me. I got more offended when she said patronizingly, "You look pretty nice today." Fuck her. I'm wearing basic office lady uniform: gray skirt, black sweater, black tights. Then she said something about MAY which caught my attention. "MAY?" I said, "I'm not still going to be doing this in May." "Oh," they (the other office lady got interested at this point) said, "Isn't this your career objective?" Yeah, hon, all my life I've wanted to work in a miserable call center being treated worse than an animal for less money than I need to stay alive. "No." I said. "No, it is not my career objective." "What is your career objective?" she said haughtily, "Administrative? Clerical? Data Entry?" "No." I said, even though I knew this was going to go nowhere good. "My career objective has nothing to do with this kind of thing; what I want from you people is short term, temporary administrative work while I look for a real job."

So they fired me. This is some kind of personal record: I haven't even done any work for them yet and I've already been fired. Am I good or what?


syntax said...

i swear, the only temp agency that i've had any luck with at all in the past is manpower.

i've heard good things about friday staffing, but i don't know if they're outside of henderson county or not. might be worth checking out, though.

deborah said...

Um, what? A temp place fired you?! That really doesn't make sense.

mygothlaundry said...

Well, they didn't exactly fire me so much as they told me that if I didn't want to take cosmetics orders over the phone (while trying to sell more) for the rest of my life than I shouldn't even bother going in to that job they had set up for me on Monday, because it's a temp to hire job which means that you can't just leave. I guess it's slavery, or something, you're not allowed to even start if you say you might not stay forever and ever. Pigs.

muddgirl said...

I worked temp for awhile after college. Apparantly, the trick is to lie to yourself and everyone else about how much you LOVE the job, right up until the day you quit. It's like selling your soul to the devil, except with fewer orgies.

mygothlaundry said...

Yeah - I knew as the words came out of my mouth that I was making a big and terrible mistake, but sometimes life is like that. Anyway I really don't want to be a call center rep. 7th circle of hell, and all that.