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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:16 PM
Original message
Your Call (and Rants on Hold) Will Be Monitored

By KEN BELSON

Published: January 11, 2005


ELVILLE, N.Y. - It is the opening line on so many phone conversations these days: This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.

The taped message is so common that many callers might assume that no one is ever listening, let alone taking notes. But they would be wrong.

Monitoring is intended to track the performance of call center operators, but the professional snoops are inadvertently monitoring callers, too. Most callers do not realize that they may be taped even while they are on hold. It is at these times that monitors hear husbands arguing with their wives, mothers yelling at their children, and dog owners throwing fits at disobedient pets, all when they think no one is listening. Most times, the only way a customer can avoid being recorded is to hang up.

"You could have a show on Broadway just playing the calls," said Mike Schrider, president of J.Lodge, a call monitoring service based in Hammonton, N.J...


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/11/business/11snoop.html...
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Sugarbleus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. I bought a phone recorder for MY OWN recording of events..
:evilgrin:

Purchased at Radio Shack..
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Stand and Fight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. 1984
Big Brother is always there...
In the shadows like the wind in your hair.
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KTM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:24 PM
Response to Original message
3. Hehehe
Edited on Mon Jan-10-05 11:26 PM by KTM
One company I call frequently for support always puts me on hold forever. One day I got angry at the automated attendant, just wanted to speak to a human, and when it said "your call is important to us..." I said "Yeah, sure, asshole." As soon as I said that, my call rang through and I got the best support ever...

Ever since then, whenever I call them, as soon as the auto-attendant starts blabbing I just say "Asshole," loudly and clearly, and I swear, every time I ring straight through, instantly. They must have a system to prevent callers on hold from getting overly angry.. but it's been like "Open Sesame" for that particular company.

I also like to use TotalRecorder and pass my calls through my PC.. I like telling companies "This call is being recorded for legal purposes." Cuts the BS right outta the call.
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. that's so funny. I'll have to remember it next time I'm put on "ignore."
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
19. That is hilarious..
.... I'm not at all surprised that the recorders are running on hold, but I am surprised that anyone/anything is actually listening :)
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
4. I have listened to thousands of these calls
It's a sociological experience without parallel.

Never, ever assume that you are not being listened to, unless you have taken steps to prevent it.
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Okay, spill the beans...
What's the funniest/craziest/worst thing you've ever overheard on one of these calls?
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Well, one of the first that came to mind...
One of my agents had developed a phone "relationship" with one of her customers. The guy called randomly, hanging up on others, until he got "her"; I dropped in to listen innocently because as a CS supervisor, I had a quota of calls to monitor.

This one was quite a call. I gave her the maximum points for full service when scoring her call, that's for sure. ;)

That's all I'm sayin'. Just be careful!
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kysrsoze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. Hey, that was very cool of you. I admire not 'dinging' her for that
I like to think that those kinds of things can still happen. Heck, the customer may be even more inclined to purchase more items as a result.
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KTM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. I did a brief stint for a telemarketing company
Hated it. Quit in disgust. Lying sacks-o-crap, top to bottom.

Anyway, we always punched the training room into live phone calls so they could hear how to handle tricky calls... you never knoew if you were on the call alone, or if an entire room full of people were listening.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-05 11:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
tonekat Donating Member (832 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:46 AM
Response to Original message
10. I had a feeling this was the case
So I've always made wise crack replies to the messages they play while you're on hold, like how wonderful their company is, and how someone will be with you momentarily. Knowing that they may have heard my remarks gives me some satisfaction!
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. When they ask me to spell or say anything, I just say
"H-U-M-A-N"... or "N-O..P-H-O-N-E..R-O-B-O-T"..

and I also wisecrack their .."We appreciate your business"..(sure you do..that's why you put me on hold listening to this shit over and over and over")

"All representatives are busy helping other customers"..(If your products were not pieces of crap, you would not need so many customer service reps)

When it asks for a number, I always punch in wrong numbers with lots of zeros..that always gets me transferred..

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rooboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:49 AM
Response to Original message
11. I wonder if Bill O'Reilly will do a segment on this story. n/t
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Hmmm. Wonder if he ever made any falafel comments
to a telemarketer? Please, someone, review those tapes!
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NIGHT TRIPPER Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:24 AM
Response to Original message
15. I have a GREAT IDEA- BLAST obnoxious aggressive music LOUD while on hold
or how 'bout reading D.U. aloud while on hold--
maybe they'd eavesdrop and find out what their country's really up to !!
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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 02:57 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. excellent idea!
you get a gold star, or whatever color we can afford here on DU (Desperate & Unwealthy)
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 03:08 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Another Idea
Give them classical music especially of an operatic or liturgical sort. My experience is that most people will go to great lengths to avoid any music that requires concentration (modern jazz would be good too). They will then "assist" you in short order.
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infusionman Donating Member (191 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #15
22. Better yet...
Ask them to hold on for a second while you turn the oven off, then set the phone down and walk away from it.
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Liberty Belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Hitting the "O" button 20 or 30 times usually gets them to
answer right away, bypassing those stupid voice mail drones. They must hate the obnoxious sound.



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KingChicken Donating Member (814 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 07:47 AM
Response to Original message
18. My company does call recording...
A lot of financial and government institutions require call recording by law. Most of the time it's just for the record and no one listens, but in many call centers it's quality control to monitor a given ratio of calls. If you're on hold just push the mute or hold on your phone like you would do in a conference call, because any call can have a silent third party.

Just sing along to the hold music really badly, and you will get the monitor to stop listing to your call.
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:10 AM
Response to Original message
20. Good. I'm usually ranting about the fact that their CEOs make millions
yet they can't even hire soemone to answer the phone. Or, Bush has cost this country a million jobs and you can't hire people to answer the phones. Or, you're a multibillion dollar company and you refuse to hire minimum wage workers to answer phones, etc. Let them hear it. I also usually ask them to forward a complaint to the management about poor customer service when (if) I get a human on line.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 08:26 AM
Response to Original message
21. Do they offshore DHS monitoring too?
As more call centers move offshore, companies are starting to outsource the monitoring, too. From any corner of the globe, call monitors with just a computer and an Internet connection can oversee workers virtually anywhere. For instance, Mr. Pike on Long Island listens to service agents in India who may be talking to customers in Indiana. Monitors in Britain are likely to listen to customers in New York talking to German operators in Frankfurt.

<snip>

Sometimes, refereeing means reporting off-color calls - known in call center parlance as a "hot line" - like the flirtation that Mr. Pike overheard. Plenty of other calls also raise red flags, including customers and operators who shout, swear, talk politics or threaten bodily harm. Anyone hanging up - either an operator or an angry customer - sends out warnings, too.

<snip>

Perhaps inevitably, monitoring is also moving offshore. HyperQuality, which is based in Seattle, has 100 call monitors in New Delhi who eavesdrop on call center workers around the United States. Those raters, oceans away, are trying to make sense of hot lines and hotheads, too.

Anyone wonder what they do with those political rants? Also, while we're on the subject, to anyone at DHS who might be monitoring this - your job's going to India soon.


;)
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arikara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:45 AM
Response to Original message
24. This isn't new
25 years ago, of my friends who used to work for a phone company as a lineman told me to never say anything that I didn't want to be overheard while on the phone. He told me that no one would ever believe the stuff that he heard while on the job. Only thing that's changed now is that there is more technology.

I like some of the ideas of getting attention while on hold though.
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