Monday, April 04, 2005

I Can Explain...

You know it's been an odd evening at work when six of the nine bankers ask you, "Is it a full moon?" I've been working at the NABABNA call center for over five years and spent many a Saturday night scratching my head in wonder, but this past Saturday night is one I'll remember. I've taken the calls from customers who couldn't withdraw money from an ATM because they were too intoxicated to realize the card has to at least touch the machine to work. I've dealt with men calling and working their arm muscles while talking to a sweet, young female voice on our end of a toll-free number. Fraud cases and scams? Don't get me started. I've dealt with racial slurs, far-fetched stories from employees about their tardiness, people showing up inebriated, and witnessed violent threats being made from customers AND bankers. But this past Saturday night, I felt like I entered the Twilight Zone.

At the end of the evening, as I typically do on Saturday nights, I drafted an email to my supervisor. It's usually just an FYI about a call he might hear about or to let him know that a banker may ask him about a situation. He doesn't require the emails and I don't send them every week. It's just if he should know about something. Here, I'd like to try and recreate the email:

To: The Boss Man
From: Beth (Shaking her head in amusement)
Date: Psychedelic Saturday
Re: Just an FYI about the State Troopers

Hi Boss Man,

If anyone happens to ask about why two state troopers showed up in the call center tonight, I can explain.


Tonight I had Jason sitting with our new banker, Ivan. The peer coaching was going well, Jason and Ivan had a lot to talk about and Ivan definitely learned a few new sales techniques and became more comfortable with the system. Everything was going along fine, until I heard the giggle.

Sometimes, I wonder if this job is preparing me for motherhood. I don't know if you can relate, but do you ever find yourself noticing the different sounds people make? Well, Jason's giggle? It wasn't his normal laughter. This was my first clue something was wrong. I asked the guys, "What did you boys do?" They both looked guilty. That's the only way I can explain it.

As it turns out, Ivan was trying to transfer a customer to the foreign language assistance line. He got an outside line at Jason's instruction and then started to dial the phone number. You know, the whole 9-1. Then Ivan asked Jason for the phone number. Jason, of course giving correct information at all times, told him, "1-800-xxx-xxxx."

Do you see where this is going? Well, you're right. Ivan managed to dial "9-1-1." When the operator picked up and said, "9-1-1 Emergency," his natural reaction, being a foreigner and not used to our emergency assistance line, was to disconnect the call.

Yes, he managed to unintentionally prank the police on a Saturday night.

Within ten minutes, two state troopers arrived inside our call center with the security guard from downstairs. Since we're in a call center, the operator couldn't call back and get the banker who dialed. Let's just say the policemen were not happy. I had been on the lookout for some type of response (and their response time was pretty good! I have to give them that). I met them halfway and explained that a new banker had misdialed the phone. Then I had to explain that he was a foreigner and not aware that disconnecting the call was a poor choice. They left without too much problem.

Ivan learned tonight what to do if he ever calls 9-1-1 again.

Throw in an obscene phone call to a male banker (there's a first), the Canadian lottery scam call another banker took, random objects humming throughout the building, Murtle the ghost who resides in the female bathroom, and the escalated call from the "lawyer" who told me, "You ain't got any right to do what you done," and you've got an interesting Saturday night at NABABNA.

I'll see you Tuesday!

Your still smiling and puzzled team lead,



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