This morning, a little after nine on a Sunday morning, the land line rang. Since the land line is usually for one of the kids, I have adopted a somewhat "now what?" attitude when it rings outside of normal kid hours.
The caller was a recorded female voice which identified herself rather chirpily as Lisa, and informed me in gleeful, compelling tones which would make any pep rally participant proud, "Thank you for participating in our recent survey, and we wanted to tell you that you are ABOVE AVERAGE."
Well, first of all, if we did participate in a survey, it was not at all a serious response, as we are known to answer the phone on telemarketers and then call the rest of the family into the room while we have some fun. Our most recent sport has been with some telemarketing company overseas which has irritated us at all hours with their calls.
"Hello?" we will say.
"Hello," the caller will reply in a thick accent and then take off at warp speed to get the spiel in before he or she is interrupted. "This is Elvira, and I am calling for General Electric Mortgage Corporation, andwearepleasedtoinformyouthat youhavebeenchosentoparticpateinasurveyabout . . . ." Pausing for a quick breath, the caller asks the first question.
We pause, timing it exactly right. "Hello?"
"Hello," the caller is caught off guard, but only for a moment. "This is Elvira, and I am calling for General Electric Mortgage Corporation, andwearepleasedtoinformyouthatyouhavebeenchosentoparticpateinasurveyabout . . . ." Again, the first question.
"Hello?" we say again.
This is the part where we find out just how well trained the caller is. A well-trained and compliant telemarketer will follow the script, NO MATTER WHAT, launching into a spiel for the third time. A free thinker, and perhaps candidate for management training, will say, "Hello?"
"Can you hear me?" the caller will ask. "Hello!" we will reply, as if we did hear.
Off again with the script. This next part now requires flawless timing. We wait for several beats, and then say, rather tentatively, "Hello?"
One of several things will happen at this point. The caller, wimpy in nature, will hang up on us. The caller who has more moxie will get the supervisor, which allows us to ramp up our performance. And the third type of caller will start discussing our bad connection, and reason for the phone issue (or our mental health issue) with co-workers nearby.
That is when we jump in again. "Hello!" we will say. "Hello?" Jolted back to reality, the caller will say, "Can you hear me?"
"Yes! Hello!" And off they go, racing through the entire spiel. Of course, when the first question comes up, they should see what will come next, but they rarely do.
Anyway, the only reason I can think of that we were chosen for "above average" status was that we outsmarted the call center employee and supervisor. However, Lisa encouraged me to press 1 to talk to a human and get a $100 WalMart gift card or 3 to be removed. While I was tempted to press 1, I opted for 3 instead.