It looks like the morning after a campfire. Here and there people lift their heads from the confines of their laptops and hard wood tables. The day had dawned, and they had to all go home, get some sleep, and return later in the evening for another night-long gig as customer support representative. I, however, remain here until my rep returns for work. I remain, his faithful telephone, ready to serve whenever he is.
We’re almost 22 hours ahead of our customers, living in the other corner of the world, picking up calls and answering emails when customers are awake and our families are asleep. It’s all part of the job description and sleepless nights aren’t a problem for us anymore. We even have fun.
As the day wanes and darkness embraces the glass building we live in, the day-shift teams head out eager to spend the night cuddling in their beds. We, on the other hand, wire up, preparing to take on calls that would soon enough rain upon us.
“Hello there!” My neighbour has already received her first call and she sounds like this customer would have their problems solved in a jiffy. While I observe her in silence, I feel a vibration crawling up my wires. It feels like an agitated customer wanting answers. The next second, the vibration reaches my speaker and I blare at my partner. He smiles before picking up my receiver.
“Hello, you’ve reached our company. How may I help you today?” It’s a good start to the night, I realise as I hear a gentleman raising his concerns in a soft voice from other side.
The rep in the cubicle behind us was having a lot less luck, though. He muted his call, and in a tirade, explained to us that his customer was looking for something beyond our scope. Pity we had to turn a customer down, but that wasn’t the most pitiable part. Not only did the customer demand an explanation, but they also swore at our rep. In return, our rep muted the call and began swearing on his own. The whole team laughed out loud, appreciating an inside joke that only the support team understands.
Every day, customers call in to test the nerves of our reps. But despite all that, we laugh and celebrate the end of the week by ordering take out. We’ll do anything for sincere customers, but when rotten customers show up, we know how to handle them. It’s not part of the job description, but it is part of the job.