Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"Thank you for calling technical support. How may I help you?"

For years I worked the 'corner grocery store' where the customers were from your own neighborhood & you always saw the same people day in and day out, morning and evening. It was easy to get to know everyone but the big drawback was standing there day after day looking out the same window watching the world pass by.

When I finally broke my 'rusty cage' I ran smack into the world of tech support. Over the next few years I did support for Windows (95, 98, ME, NT4 & 2000), Internet Explorer, MSN, EarthLink, the old AT&T @Home cable Internet access network and a stint in the i2 Technologies I.T. department.

What a different world. Now I never saw the people I was helping and those I talked to were all over the world. I learned some interesting things first hand that blew some old myths out of the water--

Nicest People: Yankees. While there are some sphincters, by and large people from the Yankee states in general and New York City in particular are very nice. If you're from Texas like me and used to people 'drawling' out everything they say and you can get past their staccato & machine gun style you find out they are really great people and a whole lot of fun to talk to.

Most unpleasant: toss up between Wisconsin and Florida (sorry, no offense to anyone from there but it's just what I and my co-workers noticed). Also, some of the states where you'd think the people would be laid back like Montana, North/South Dakota, Washington, Oregon and Idaho had their more unpleasant people. This was a big shock to me. Actually it's more complex than 'unpleasant'. That's too general of a term...I noticed an extreme air of impatience from people in these areas. I have visited some of these places, Montana especially (spent 4 months there for work one time). In person that's not what I remember at all but on the phone, after comparing hundreds of calls and talking with fellow agents it definitely comes across that way.

Deep South (Alabama, Carolina's, Georgia, etc.): these people are much more intelligent and sophisticated than most of you (including me) have been led to believe they are.

Most laid back: Hawaii. People from Hawaii were in a world of their own (can't blame 'em). They were more like what you would expect from Californians.

Most like I expected: not surprisingly people from Texas since they are the ones I know the best...and believe me, Texas has it's their share of horses butts...many not attached to a horse at all.

Like I say, these are my observations from taking well over 30,000 calls during 5 or 6 years of call center work. I still talk to people from all over the US, Canada and Puerto Rico in my current job and these observations still hold pretty close to the same. My Beautiful Wife never took many calls until she started working with me and she pretty much agrees. Don't get me wrong, you can find every kind of person and have every kind of call experience from anywhere but when I get out the broad brush this is the way it seems to fall.

Anyone else who's ever done the call center gig have any observations?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't do call center stuff, but my experience in my industry (the print industry) is far more stereotypical. The southern people bug me because they speak slowly, but they're so much more laidback and generally kinder. NY and NJ - they speak and think quickly, like me, but also more bitchy and willing to challenge things for no good reason. Most unpleasant - always always easterners. This could just be the difference, though, since I'm used to the west coast attitude.

8:12 PM, October 02, 2007  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

This Call Center Cubicle Jockey is a bit biased to the East Coast (Growing up in the coolest megalopolis EVER)

And my Call center, actual Tier 1 support, was limited to the graveyard shift. So I had some unique experiences/anecdotes.

1) One Particular New York caller sounded as if the solution to his problem was a life or death situation. We have the call on tape, and the guy was really nervous, (Like Guido was going to break his knuckles later... kinda nervous)

2) On more than one occasion, I received calls from Mississippi. They were eerily the same: A group of Administrative Assistants were staying late in the office to get a project done, and needed technical support.
In all the cases, they were obviously enjoying some tasty adult beverages in their little office slumber party. And were often quite flirty. I didn't think anything of it the first time, but after the third time, I figured there had to be "something in the water" down there.

As for the Yankees, I was quite partial to them, cause we spoke the same language. (I need this done yesterday)
My Western Cultured colleagues hated those kinds of calls, I however rejoiced in them. This would be a typical water cooler discussion:
Me: Hey Yo, what's the matter?
Them: I just got off the phone with a New Yorker.
Me: That's AWESOME! I love those calls.
Them: You're nuts.

Okay, so maybe I am.

11:17 AM, October 03, 2007  

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