Thankfully most of my friends and family are caring enough to use proper phone etiquette but I often have the unfortunate opportunity to speak with customers who could use a little schooling on what they should and should not be doing when on the phone. You would be surprised at how often these incidence happen. These calls could be uncomfortable in any situation but especially to a customer service agent speaking with a complete stranger! Here are just some of the things we are subjected to listening to:
- Using the Bathroom: Seriously, we can hear you! Especially when you flush! Please do your business before or after the call and if it is an emergency either ask us to hold or call us back. Just don’t take us with you!
- Television or Radio TOO LOUD! It is very hard to get your information when we cannot hear anything but our TV commercial going in the background. What is worse is those customers who cannot hear us either but don’t think to turn their volume down in order to hear better. I am not going to scream to compensate for your loud TV!
- Eating: Munching in my ear is bad enough but when you have a mouth full of food and trying to give me your contact information it is impossible to understand you!
- Watching Porn: Just like using the bathroom we can hear this too! Please please please take care of your personal business before calling and do not make us listen to your porn during the call. I have asked people to turn their TV down in this situation but believe me I will hang up if it doesn’t stop or I feel you are doing “anything else” during that time. GROSS!
- Baby Crying: When is it ever a good time to order something or call someone when your kid is screaming bloody murder? Please get them back to sleep, give them a bottle or calm them down before calling. Certainly do not hold a screaming child when you are on the phone because being that close to the phone that is all we can hear!
- Dogs Barking: This is basically the same as the baby crying. If your dog is trying to warn a squirrel or mail man to stay out of your yard please put them up before calling or go into another room!
- Gases: Oh yes. We do have ears and we can hear every fart and burp so cover the phone, put us on mute or excuse yourself for a moment please.
- Fighting: It’s probably not a good time to call and order a product when you’re in the middle of a fight with someone at home! We are literally the fly on the wall and know all your business now!
- Swearing: This can be both happy and angry customers believe it or not. Some just have incorporated swearing into their everyday vocabulary and will just let words fly when doing a normal order. Others get angry and the words start coming. Please realize you are still speaking to a human being and swearing is not acceptable. We do have the authorization to hang up on anyone swearing if we have asked them to stop and they don’t.
- Prank Calls: It is bad enough from the kids but as an adult grow up! Even with a few beers in you it isn’t funny to call an order line for a kitchen appliance and ask what the customer service agent is wearing. You really think we sit around in lingerie waiting to take your call? Oh and by the way, we do have Caller ID so you’re not so anonymous anymore!
I am sure the list can go on but these are the most common of the phone etiquette problems I encounter on a pretty regular basis. Just realize that although someone cannot see you they certainly can still hear what is going on. Remember our children are learning proper etiquette from us. Take care of what you can before getting on the phone or even answering a phone call with anyone to avoid an inconsiderate situation on that call!
What unpleasant things have you had to listen to while on a call?
- An Unsaid Etiquette (interactive360.wordpress.com)
- The Basics of Phone Etiquette (dallasbelle.com)
- What is Etiquette? (whatiquette.wordpress.com)
I work as a customer service agent and one of my biggest challenges is when a customer calls in with a unique name and doesn’t spell it for you. We are required to verify spelling even if your name is John Smith but I was assuming having a unique name you would understand it would need to be spelled in those circumstances. This certainly is important if you are one who has every letter of the alphabet in your name! How about those with common names that have unique spellings? I get that on calls too where I will say “do you spell that Alison” and then find out it is actually spelled Alesyn. This can often make a typically easy name hard to pronounce phonetically when seen on paper. That name looks like it would be pronounced A-el-sin not Al-ih-sun.
How about those children growing up with a name their parents thought were either funny or unique but really are just awkward and weird. Nosmo wouldn’t be my first choice but alone it is okay, however if your last name is King then your name spells out “no smoking”. How about the mom who had twins whose names are pronounced “or-ann-jilo and leh-man-jilo” but spelled out they are Orangejello and Limejello. Orange and lime jello? Really?
We had picked unique names for our daughters and although my son’s name is more traditional we don’t find many peers with the same name. The spelling of their names is easy enough that most pronounce them correctly and they have beautiful names.
I was in the store the other day and heard a mother yelling at her kids and calling out their names on the next aisle. This took me back to when I had to realize when at the store I might know someone on the next isle when I am speaking in a raised voice to my kids. They would certainly know it is me because who else has those names?. Of course I also realized I just shouldn’t be yelling at my kids in the store anyway!
So what are some of the pros and cons of a unique name?
- You are probably the only one with your name or maybe only one of a few so you are easily identifiable.
- People may find it easier to remember you when you first meet because of your unique name.
- You will find more compliments on your name because it is not common and may be the first time someone has heard that name.
- You are all set to become a celebrity with a stand out name if you choose a life of fame. You could be known by your first name only, like many famous people.
- You don’t have to be identified by your first “and” last name. Remember in school where there are 3 Adam’s in one class and each had to go by their last name or last initial to be identified.
- There isn’t any products with your name on it at the store.
- Your name can be difficult for someone to spell or pronounce.
- There may be more teasing associated because of a unique name. But let’s be honest, kids will find anything to tease each other about.
- Could others be confusion of your gender with a unique name? If your name is Jennifer or Steve on paper it is obvious who you are but with a unique name someone may have difficulty when having to addressing you as Mr. or Mrs. on the phone or in a letter.
- If you are named after a celebrity with a unique name are you going to always be identified back to that person? “So your name is Keanu like Keanu Reeves the actor?”. This also would apply if you name your child after a character like Thor they certainly will be always answering that question “from the comic books?” or ask “where is your enchanted hammer?” for the rest of his life.
- Some unique names just don’t fit in a professional world. It can be hard to take someone serious in business when they introduce themselves with a funky name!
What unique names have your heard? What experiences have you had with a unique name either for yourself, your child or someone you know?