7 May 2003

Mystery Shopper

“But Mr Wainwright. But. BUT.” Tizzy was dealing with an awkward customer. Her tone got more and more desperate. “Well if you LET me speak … yes … but … MR WAINWRIGHT!”

I took my headset from its velvet-lined box and plugged in to listen remotely. I recognised the voice right away. The phoney Irish accent gave it away. I discreetly turned towards Bernard, the boss’ office and it confirmed my suspicions: the blinds were shut. Every so often, when he gets bored, Bernard rings The Call Centre and pretends to be an awkward customer.

His Irish accent is always a dead give away because it is something between Ian Paisley and Terry Wogan – with a bit of Billy Connelly thrown in for good measure. I held up a post it note to Tizzy: “Put him on hold.”

Using a prearranged signal, I instructed Call Centre Tony to snap into action and provide covering fire. He dashed into Bernard’s office to distract him with his favourite subject: call performance.

Tizzy returned to “Mr Wainwright” who suddenly had a change of heart and hung up. Shaking, Tizzy said, “What a nasty, nasty man.”

Nasty. But thankfully, easily distracted.