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There is wind where the rose was,
Cold rain where sweet grass was,
And clouds like sheep
Stream o'er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.

Nought warm where your hand was,
Nought gold where your hair was,
But phantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was.

Cold wind where your voice was,
Tears, tears where my heart was,
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.

November by Walter de la Mare
August
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What do you think about call centres?

2

Comments

  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    That doesn't sound as if it even makes the minimum wage @GemmaRowlands!

    It is. From April this year, minimum wage will be £8.21, and I was offered the job a few years ago, plus I would have been in a younger age category, so it was a decent offer at the time.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,127 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 20
    I think this is the right place to share my experience during calling the support line of an international software company. We needed to transfer the licensee title to another juristic person and found no other way than to call. I was struggling speaking English over a choppy IP phone line to a person with the Indian accent, though I met the goal. My English listening skills could be improved a lot so. Later, however, we discovered that the support team had an online chat, so our person responsible for the computers here texts them by himself when needed.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I think that this is something that call centres need to take very seriously @Practical_Severard. Often when the staff speak English with a strong accent, it makes it very hard for non-native speakers to communicate easily. Text messaging can be a very good solution however.

    I read this story today. Not exactly call centres per se, these radio stations are acting like a help-line however.

    Three radio stations set up across Tamil Nadu over the last year attract more than 200 callers per day and have quickly become a huge hit among the state's garment workers.

    http://news.trust.org/item/20190220070008-55wvz/
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod

    I think this is the right place to share my experience during calling the support line of an international software company. We needed to transfer the licensee title to another juristic person and found no other way than to call. I was struggling speaking English over a choppy IP phone line to a person with the Indian accent, though I met the goal. My English listening skills could be improved a lot so. Later, however, we discovered that the support team had an online chat, so our person responsible for the computers here texts them by himself when needed.

    It is often a poor connection if you are calling overseas, and that is very frustrating when you are trying to get help with something important.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I never cease to amaze at the quality of the messenger voice connection from Nepal to France @GemmaRowlands. I'm not sure it would be so good using Skype or the phone for that matter.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    I never cease to amaze at the quality of the messenger voice connection from Nepal to France @GemmaRowlands. I'm not sure it would be so good using Skype or the phone for that matter.

    I think so long as both people have a good internet connection, Messenger calling would be perfect. It's a great invention!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I find that it works fine when there is a good wifi connection, but I am not so convinced when I try to use it with a sim's internet. But this might just be me.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    I find that it works fine when there is a good wifi connection, but I am not so convinced when I try to use it with a sim's internet. But this might just be me.

    That might be the difference. I often find that my 4G isn't anywhere near as strong as my Wi-Fi.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,127 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:


    Three radio stations set up across Tamil Nadu over the last year attract more than 200 callers per day and have quickly become a huge hit among the state's garment workers.
    http://news.trust.org/item/20190220070008-55wvz/

    Their taking to public those dreadful work conditions is an absolutely good thing. 2 toilets per 200 workers? They should have at least 10. I know that employees sometimes abuse the facilities they're given by a business, but that case isn't this at all. I would add, that the factory should have had not only this, but a couple of hygienic showers. They don't cost an arm and a leg.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    It is time that some place learn that their workers are not slaves to be exploited @Practical_Severard and treated badly. In fact a very small investment in things like more toilets and showers can make quite a difference to productivity. Certainly less time would be wasted by staff having to queue forever for the toilet.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,127 ✭✭✭✭
    This Forbes' article provides a great insight on the Indian call centres. I've made an excerpt of it, though not full and not short.

    While a typical wage earner earns 5,000 rupees a month, a call center employee takes in as much as 15,000 rupees (300 dollars). Four month call center training course cost 45,000 rupee. A primary goal of courses like Orion’s is to eradicate what is known as Mother Tongue Influence, or MTI for short. MTI refers to the Indian accents and vocal inflections that remain after learning English as a second language. Courses like Deep’s specialize in Accent Neutralization, which can have students repeat syllables like “pa pa pa pa pa” for 30 minutes at a time until they begin to lose their Indian accent. As long as your accent is good, it’s not that hard to get a job on the floor, because of the high burnout rate and booming industry. There are over 265,000 BPO jobs in Bangalore alone, of which call center positions represent a sizable proportion.

    Deep was good at what he did. He worked hard and efficiently, and most importantly, overcame the mother tongue influence and mastered accent neutralization. He can switch, within the same sentence, from a Chicago to a Londoner to an Edinburgh accent, then back to the “neutral” accent in which he normally speaks English. He went in depth on the technique. With his intuition for dialect, the 26 year old Calcutta native moved up the rungs of the call center ladder quickly. Less than 18 months after he’d stepped on the floor, British Telecom had moved him up to the post of trainer, where he prepared new hires for the floor. He excelled, and began a career in the position that would take him to ATT, Yell, Dell, Talk Talk, and eventually Orion Edutech, the private preparatory course where he was teaching when we met him.

    For Deep, the isolation and stress of the switched hours, the quasi-immersion in Western culture, and the enormous, rapid jump in disposable income led to a host of unhealthy lifestyle decisions.

    “Once you start flying with a load of bucks on your ass it gets really dangerous,” he said.

    Fly he did, getting to know the intricacies of Calcutta’s night life when he wasn’t on the job. He began to abuse drugs, and became a heroin addict. The addiction stuck with him for five years, though he had been clean for more than a year when we interviewed him. Deep also grew alienated from his family.

    Eventually, Deep simply couldn’t handle the stress and the hours. He had to get off the floor. He took a job at Orion Edutech because he could get away from the headsets while still employing the teaching and accent skills he had worked so hard to master. It was an expensive lifestyle change- it pays around a quarter of his previous salary. After hours, he now helps other recovering addicts at local NA meetings.

    ***
    “Hello, Mr. Smith, thank you for calling TD Canada Trust Bank, how may I assist you today­?”
    When the problem is resolved or the sale finished, and the Canadian returns to their life in the daylight, Sonam receives another beep in her headphones in less than five seconds. There is an incessant backlog of calls. She has the power to hold off the beep, by pressing a button marked ‘AEW’ on her monitor, but, she laughed, “If I hold off calls for more than fifteen seconds, they [her managers] will come after me.”
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    That is a sad story, though I am sure that there are many other highly paid, stressful jobs that could result in the same burn-out.

    There's a book you might like to read @Practical_Severard. One Night @ the Call Center (2005) was written by Chetan Bhagat and is a story revolving around a group of six call center employees working at the Connexions call center in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. I think it was later made into a movie called Hello.

    I remember reading another book that was full of one-liners - again from India. It was amusing but as I was travelling, I left it somewhere for someone else to read. I can't remember the author unfortunately.

    But here some call centre jokes that might amuse.

    https://www.callcentrehelper.com/even-more-call-centre-jokes-160.htm
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,127 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    That is a sad story, though I am sure that there are many other highly paid, stressful jobs that could result in the same burn-out.

    I just envy Deep who can "switch, within the same sentence, from a Chicago to a Londoner to an Edinburgh accent, then back to the “neutral” accent in which he normally speaks English". It's a natural talent, I think.

  • VokVok Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    I'd agree with you @Practical_Severard that it's an innate ability.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I think you're right @Practical_Severard. I can't mimic accents to save my life @Vok. I'd love to speak English with a French accent. Do you think if I live here long enough it might rub off? It didn't seem to work for my mother though. She still speaks English with a French accent after sixty or more years living in the UK.
  • walterwalter Posts: 683 ✭✭✭
    My company work on statistics. We create questionnaires and forward our interviews. Our interviews have task to collect information. Depending of research they collect information on the field "door to door" and via telephone (call-centres). I can to say that costs are much less when interviews collect data via telephone. Difference in costs of collecting data via mobile and on the field can be over 10 million euros.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm guessing that people contacted by phone to answer a questionnaire might be a bit more receptive to giving a few minutes of their time when they realise it not a sales pitch @walter. I am getting so fed up of cold calls that these days I don't answer my phone unless it is a number I don't know. Unfortunately this can backfire on me as last night I ignored a call that I would have liked to have picked up!
  • walterwalter Posts: 683 ✭✭✭
    @mheredge I understand you completely. I also don`t like when someone call me to respond at their questions or to offers me something to buy.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I feel sorry for anyone who works in these places, especially if they have to sell things. I am sure that no one really wants to talk to them @walter.
  • walterwalter Posts: 683 ✭✭✭
    @mheredge I agree with you I could never to work at call centre.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    walter said:

    My company work on statistics. We create questionnaires and forward our interviews. Our interviews have task to collect information. Depending of research they collect information on the field "door to door" and via telephone (call-centres). I can to say that costs are much less when interviews collect data via telephone. Difference in costs of collecting data via mobile and on the field can be over 10 million euros.

    I think companies who work on statistics have to be carefully not to annoy the people they are phoning, as lots of people just don't have the time to sit there and answer a survey.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm not convinced that many people will give the time to respond to a telephone survey. I suppose a few more might if there's an incentive, like a prize or something.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    I'm not convinced that many people will give the time to respond to a telephone survey. I suppose a few more might if there's an incentive, like a prize or something.

    Perhaps, but then a lot of people might not believe that the prospect of a prize is real, so they might not want to do it even then.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    True, though I suppose you can't win if you don't enter. I have a friend who enters lots of competitions and she actually does win quite a lot of prizes. Not that I ever win even when I enter these things.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    True, though I suppose you can't win if you don't enter. I have a friend who enters lots of competitions and she actually does win quite a lot of prizes. Not that I ever win even when I enter these things.

    I went through a phase of entering lots of competitions, as a hobby, and I never managed to win anything at all, which was a bit of a shame :(.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    I can't remember what I won, but the breakfast cereal I used to eat as a kid had a drawing competition and I won a prize. But I think this is the only time I won anything.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    I can't remember what I won, but the breakfast cereal I used to eat as a kid had a drawing competition and I won a prize. But I think this is the only time I won anything.

    Were you a talented artist as a child? I guess you must have been if you managed to win a competition!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    Not that great, but I suppose the others weren't that good either @GemmaRowlands!
  • Leticia_VeganaLeticia_Vegana Posts: 4
    > @Monik said:
    >
    > But what about the agents? Who cares about their jobs and the world inside these companies?
    > Is this a temporary job? or do they have real opportunities to growth their careers?
    >
    > As these type of companies have grown in the last ten years, complaints have increased at a higher pace. High stress levels, shifting schedules, monotonous work and poor salaries, are some of the employees’ claims.
    >
    > So, what do you think about call centres?



    I think that the big problem of the call centers is the bad conditions of the work. It is unhealth for the agents.

    The agents don't have real opportunities to growth in the company.

    The call centers will still exist for a time.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 40,747 ✭✭✭✭
    You might find this short movie interesting.

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