As I've already covered in this blog, I work in an in-bound call centre. Generally speaking the callers are the agents who sell our investment products or their assistants, but occasionally we get clients calling in as well. Many of our clients are elderly and are often confused by our automated attendant and they either push the wrong button or don't push any button at all and end up speaking to me because apparently I'm the switchboard.
I had to transfer one of these clients to another product queue just today since she couldn't count to 3 and pushed 2 instead. I conferenced over to the correct area and got my colleague, Wojtek (pronounced VOY-tek). Wojtek was born in Poland but raised in Canada and speaks flawless and completely unaccented English. Arguably, he speaks English better than I do. When I conferenced in the client and introduced Wojtek, the client asked, "Does he speak English?" My answer: "Yes, he speaks English," but I was stuck by the sheer stupidity of this question. I'm pretty sure the ability to speak English is a prerequisite for our job since it involves talking on the phone all day to people who expect you to speak to them in English, regardless of how you pronounce your name. So here (in descending order of snark) are the answers I really wanted to give this client:
1) Yes, he speaks English, but he has trouble understanding "bigot" so make sure you speak sloooooowly.
2) No, he doesn't speak English so he'll be using a translator. But don't worry, you won't even notice the 4 second delay.
3) Yes, he speaks English but if you ask nicely he'll teach you how to say "fuck you" in Polish.
Sorry for the rant, but this really pissed me off.