BT might just be regretting bringing the majority of its contact centre operations back to the UK after one British telemarketing agent caused outrage by leaving an expletive-laden tirade over voicemail when an office prank backfired spectacularly.
The decision to move away from overseas contact centres was sparked by customer concerns over the language barrier. But if the experiences of Warrington builder Julian Knowles are anything to go by, most customers would prefer not to understand the lingo.
The gaffe occurred when the BT agent tried to contact Knowles to sell him a new contract. Having failed to connect the call, the operative thought he had hung up but the call had gone to voicemail.
He then joked with a colleague about the offensive things he would say if Knowles picked up the phone. In the voicemail, the employee said: “Oh god, I know you’re not pressing (answering the phone), you’d just be, like, you stupid fucking c**t Julian Knowles. See what I mean. Just like that, you fucking dirty slag.”
Even though Knowles is a builder – a trade hardly known for its sensitive souls – he was left “disgusted” when he retrieved the message. He said: “I wasn’t happy about somebody calling me these names. It’s not very nice. It’s not good from a big company like BT. The same day my daughter phoned up BT to complain.
“I’m disgusted by it. I wouldn’t talk to anybody like that in my line of work, and I’m surprised they did. It’s a strange call to receive from a complete stranger.”
A BT spokesman was quick to point out that the call centre agent was working for a third-party supplier – which he refused to name – and not directly employed by the telecoms firm. However, he did confirm the employee has now been sacked.
He said: “We apologise to Mr Knowles for the totally unacceptable call he received. The salesperson has now left the agency where he was employed. BT doesn’t tolerate this kind of behaviour, either from its employees or third party agencies working on its behalf.”
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