Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lessons Learned Along the Way

I've been out of the blogosphere most of this week due to the end of the month flex schedule at work. The good news is that I get a 3 day holiday weekend...however it comes with a price. This week calls for a six day work week (Sunday-Friday) so what little spare time I have has been spent playing with Noah and sleeping. However, with my increased time at work and increasing boredom with the same old same old, I began to reflect on what I've learned over these last four months as a professional bill collector (boy it hurts just saying it out loud...but it's probably cathartic...somehow). Be forewarned: unless you have experience in collections or a call center, you may think most of these points are stupid or that they don't make sense; you may just want to skip down to the last two. However, if you've smiled and dialed 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, etc....well, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. It's kind of like the parable of the sower - let those who have ears to hear...Anyway, here's the top ten list of things I've learned as a collector:

10. 50% of the population does NOT know what a "spouse" is.

9. Apparrently the other 50% that do, think it sounds remarkably similar to "cell phone."

8. It doesn't sound as cool as you think when on your answering machine you try and make it sound like it's really you an not just a recording.

7. You are the only person in the world that thinks it's cute to let your child record the message on your answering machine in gibrish.

6. A surprising number of people think that credit card collectors don't actually realize what day it is when they call on Sunday.

5. An even greater number of people who don't think you should call them on the Lord's day, have absolutely no problem taking His name in vain when the tell you as much.

4. Despite what you may think, people actually will set up a check by phone in the tub, on the john and with the police waiting outside (I speak from experience here).

3. Strangely, not everyone knows what "personal" means when it's used to modify the phrase "business matter".

2. Hanging up DOESN'T actually stop the calls (for the uninitiated - it increases them :-)

and finally, the number one lesson I've learned as a professional collector is one I had already learned during my stint in construction:

#1 The "F-word" can be employed as any part of speech if the customer's angry enough (verb, noun, adjective, preposition, etc...).

Now THAT was cathartic :-)

15 comments:

Shannon said...

You've got a good perspective on this. Stephen's job has given us many laughs about people's names and conversations he's had with people. We were discussing with the Hall's about how you can only joke with certain people about the job, b/c chances are the ones who find no humor in it have been in collections before...and not the ones making the calls. :)

Kristin said...

I don't know how you guys can put up working there 40 hrs a week! It's bad enough answering the phone and hearing their typical phrase "I'm was wondering if you have a book?" (DUH!! It is a book store.) You guys do hae many funny stories to tell. I know Russell comes home everyday and we compare stories. His are usually better.

Please post more pictures of Noah. There are many people that are looking for them. :)

Mwelwa said...

Ah, wonderful collections stories! I have a few after 4 YEARS. I had my 4th year aniversary at work on the Sept 2nd.

You are dead on with the list. I had one lady say to me one Sunday when I worked, "It's religion day. You can't call me on religion day." Ok. If you are going to try and pull the religion card, atleast know what the day is called before you try to say it.
Or a jewish man yelled at me one day on a Saturday. He said not to call him on "F-n Sabath". Interesting...

And names! Oh my. Stop by my desk some time. I've got a list of over 300 names I've collected while there. My personal fav: Gaylon Faggins. (It's real!)

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