One of the things I like to do when speaking with a customer is to simply mute the line and wait for the customer to end the call. The moment the call ends, I am monitored how long it takes to complete the task that I’m presented with. As a result, there is a slight incentive to finish the task while I’m still on a call, or to try and get as much done while the customer is still on the line. You get “dinged” a bit the longer you stay off a call dealing with work.
One of the things that I do is to simply mute the call when it’s done and start working. 95% of the time, the customer ends the call and it makes no difference. The other 5% for some strange reason, stay on the call…mainly without knowing they’re still on…and go about their routing. Occassionally during these moments, I get a chance to evesdrop into the everyday lives of random people. Mostly, it’s just the sound of people watching television or listening to the radio while they’re doing work. But on a few moments, I get a sense of what it is like in the caller’s real world. These can be very entertaining:
Like the call last week where the customer found out his ex-wife had legally made off with $10,000 of her ex-husband’s money. I could hear him muttering “Jesus Christ” for close to five straight minutes.
Or the call from a few months ago where a drunk elderly woman began to berate her very polite husband for asking her a question. She was doing their checkbook, and he asked where something was. She lost her place in the check ledger and this upset her so much that she began swearing at him in ways that completely surprised me. The couple were in their mid-70’s and I took the call before noon. They called from the west coast, so that meant that they were already drunk by the time The Price Is Right was on TV.
I told my new co-worker about my exploits and he decided to give it a go. The lucky bastard struck gold within minutes of incorporating my technique. After dealing with a forty-five year old woman from Chicago, he heard the following conversation between her and her female friend.
“What are you gonna do with your tax refund money?” her friend asked her.
“I don’t know.”she replied.
“Well, we could go get some weed like we wanted to last week…Or you could pay bills, but that’s lame.”