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Eight sorts of customer that every call centre worker has come across

Working in a call centre is potentially one of the most stressful and fast-paced jobs out there. The process of ringing up and interacting with complete strangers every working day can prove daunting, however the rich tapestry of colourful and interesting characters out there means that there is never a dull moment.

The silent ones

A man smiling at his desk

Arguably the most common type of potential 'customer', these folks will begin with an ominous silence that allows them to carefully analyse your introduction, before deducing whether or not you are worthy of their precious time. A negative verdict will subsequently render any hope of even the briefest exchange of pleasantries utterly impossible. Luckily though, the ordeal is over in a matter of seconds, leaving you to stew over the possibility that the phone may have simply disconnected and that you should maybe try again later.

The uninterested

Much like the silent ones, except instead of giving you the silent treatment they often firmly talk over the top of you with the immortal words "I'm sorry but I'm not interested", which immediately halts your train of thought like a madman running head first into a brick wall. There will always be some colleague in the office that claims they once overcame this substantial obstacle to rescue a sale from the jaws of cynical, brutal defeat, but they're probably exaggerating.

The abusive ones

While some may not be interested in your call or the service being offered to them, others seem to genuinely have a burning and unwavering hatred towards you and everything you love and care about. What's more they have absolutely no problem in expressing such feelings. The subsequent torrent of abuse that follows would not be tolerated in any other walk of life, yet for some reason you march on with your pitch without so much as a stutter.

The ones who just want a chat

It's quite rare nowadays, but some people are so marvelled by the wonders of the telephone that they staunchly believe every conversation is to be treasured and, since the person on the other end of the line has taken time out of their day to talk to them, it is only right that they then share every minute detail of their everyday existence.

The passive aggressives

Sometimes politeness is simply a veil used to hide complete and utter contempt. These are the ones tormented by two opposing voices - one telling them to unleash a verbal tirade that wouldn't be too out of place at a football match, while the other more powerful voice reminds them that the person on the other end is "only doing their job" and they don't deserve such vitriol. This results in a stand-off, with phrases such as "I'm not really able to talk right now, can I call you back? Maybe when YOU'RE having dinner?" Proceed with caution.


AKA the wind-up merchant. These cruel souls will go along with almost everything you have to say, feigning an interest in your every word, before emphatically declaring they're not interested. You try to stay calm, but inside you're fuming.

The hang-ons

Whenever you hear the phrase "hang on, I think you want my brother", you should instantly be suspicious. Some people out there seem to think there is nothing more hilarious than leaving you hanging on the other end of the line for hours on end. Give them a few minutes to sort themselves out, then move on.  

The success stories

After experiencing all the previous characters, you may start to feel as though you are fighting a losing battle and that you're never going to succeed. Yet there will be at least one occasion when everything seems to go right. You introduce yourself with the smooth prowess of a big-shot at a cocktail party, using your effortless charm to convince the person on the line that you can enrich their lives in much the same way as the wheel or the microwave. The sense of pride and smugness you feel will somehow make the whole job seem worth it.

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