January 11, 2005

"Your call may be monitored"... including when you're on hold.

Who knew that those people who monitor phone calls to ensure that a company's employees do a good job of serving customers are also listening to the customers when they are on hold? Now that I know, I won't be saying secret or embarrassing things to other people in the room, but I will use the hold time to communicate with the company or merely to bitch at the bad music or little commercials they annoy me with on hold. That said, I hope terrorists and other criminals don't read that article.

What is life like for the call monitor? Back here, I noted an article about how boring it is to do the job of monitoring the feed from security cameras. But listening in to phone calls turns out to be amusing: "It's like watching TV. There's always something interesting on."

Like the phone operators themselves, many of the monitors are in India and need to adapt themselves to the ways of American phone callers, including our puzzling, irrelevant chatter. Some Indian call centers train their phone operators to get the hang of American conversiation by showing them episodes of "Seinfeld" and "Friends." I'd like to listen in on the Indians' conversations about how (presumably) strange they think we are and how they (perhaps) use "Seinfeld" references making sense of us. That was a phone call about nothing.

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