16 Sep 2004

Selling - The Love that dare not speak its name …

Module Two: Part Three in my master-class in how to deal with Call Centres

As I think I’ve said before, common turns of phrase circulate call centres quite quickly. There’s no real training. These phrases are not taught. They come into being through years of evolution in a great chain, preserved for future generations on laminated sheets of paper.

I honestly believe that a phrase like ‘bear with me’ originated in a call centre 10 years ago and it has passed around the country like chlamydia on a Club 18-30 holiday.

Why else would any one else need to say ‘bear with me’? (Unless you were a chubby chaser caught in a cottage in Camden, as in “I’ve got a bear with me officer.”) I hear someone say it a thousand times a day.

Those verbal tics are okay compared the weasal words and double speak invented in Call Centres to cope with things that we don’t like to say. It’s enough to warm the cockles of Peter Mandleson’s heart (we’re back in Camden again) when you consider the spin that Call Centre’s create in order to avoid saying that we sell things.

To help you, here are some favourites:

“We have demonstrations in your area …”

What they really mean “You’re the next in the phone book”

“Some time ago you requested some information …”

What they really mean “You’re the next in the phone book.”

“I’ve been reviewing your account.”

What they really mean “You’re the next in the phone book. Please ‘bear with me’ while I fumble around trying to work out why I’m calling.”

“This is a Courtesy Call”

What they really mean “I’m about to sell you something.”

“I have some information for you”

What they really mean “I’m about to sell you something”

“I’m about to sell you something”

What they really mean “I’m new here and do not know how to lie yet.”