The Avaya Humanoid Prototype

Have you ever worked in a call center or a contact center? I used to say that I liked working there, it’s a place full of diversity, people from different background, race, color and orientation. Everybody’s welcome. Before people realized it, agents were like 5 a dime. The supply was endless. Quality no longer mattered**. It was frustrating. Yet, it’s an animated life I must say.


Day 1 AM



Girl: Hi, Customer Care, how can I help you?

Man: Are you in Australia?

Girl: No but we do share the same systems as our Australian colleagues. How can I help you?

Man: Can you transfer me to someone who can speak English?

Girl: John we are speaking in English. Let me try to help you.

Man: You Asian idiots have mucked up my bill again! You can’t do anything right!…

Bleep, bleep, bleep….


Girl: Hi, Customer Care, how can I help you?

avayaDay 1 PM

Day has ended, I am going home soon. 5 minutes more.

One of the girls who belong to my team looked hesitant. She seemed shy to ask. I went to her and asked what happened. (She’s new. I was new once. I know how it feels.)  I told her to give me a couple of minutes to wrap up then I will be with her.

We finished after 15minutes, she took the call, and I coached her and pointed to details so she can confidently explain what her customer did not understand. OTY (Overtime Thank You)  again but its ok, I helped her and that’s what matters.

Day 2 AM

Girl: …  yes that’s right, you have used your services beyond limit and..

(Background Noise: Rara rarara… : Rara rarara…VOC 92%!) One of the Team Leaders (Let’s call her TL Gaga)  marched from behind with matching clapping of the hands..

lady gagaGirl: Sorry about that John but it’s somebody’s birthday today hence the loud noise, my apologies. (Trying to cover up for the senseless, outlandish noise nearby) As I was saying, the usage you made &$*^

(Background Noise: TL Gaga sauntered by again..Guys AVAIL AVAIL, maintain your AHT!)

Bleep, bleep, bleep….

Girl: John are you there? Hello John?

Bleep, bleep, bleep….

Day 2 PM

I received a very low survey from a customer who felt I did not research enough about a product that was soon to be launched. All I know is that the launching will be soon, common to pre-launches, utmost hush hush is being done so there was no way for me to find out. I advised that customer to expect new updates very soon. I was just following instructions. But, he was not happy with what I provided him.sickphone

I wanted to make sure it won’t happen again. Never, not to me and certainly not to the others as well.

5:30 PM LOG OUT! End of my paid day.

Whew! At least I can now research in peace and check out what this new product is all about. If those whom I thought should provide us with details wont, then I will make sure I’m well equipped with information. The others on my team will be happy to get more information about  this too.

 6:20PM  Done, e-mailed to the others for their reference too.

Day 3


Sup Call.

TL Charming: Hi, how can I help you?

Woman with a falsetto voice: Yeah hi, I’m not very happy you guys disconnected my service! I never used the internet and can you just explain to me why I’m using Wi-Fi and my bill is a thousand dollars? You are ripping me off! How do you charge us for the usage? You have to prove that I used that or I’ll take you to court.

TL Charming: (Suddenly wanted to drop dead, she was trying to figure out if she had a lobotomy as she can’t seem to find which part of her brain contained the info on how to explain charges.)

Day 4

The scorching heat is too much. There goes the purple train. I should have been in it but that darned guard hasn’t opened the gates yet. Anyway I can see the Lime green train, looking like some giant bug approaching.

IMG_5142Scores of men and women in different sizes and smells attempted to get in. I was one of the fortunate ones who were able to go in and squeeze myself at the back of a fat lady while I attempted to balance my shoulder bag on my right arm and at the same time tried to hang on the railings with my left. Fat lady staggered and I thought I lost my foot when she accidentally stepped on me. Ouch! ($%#^#ing a…hole, will you kindly watch where you are stepping? ) I wanted to say but held my temper. Soon, I’ll be in the office and will be sitting in the air-conditioned room with my team. We’ll get the thread going and before we know it, the day is over. Yes, I was looking forward to that. Ok, smile, smile and calm down, be patient.

Ayala, Paseo, those who want to get down please hurry. I need not even make an effort to move as the throng of people going out carried me like a fish in the wave.

Finally, I’m here, wait for the elevator, don’t forget to wear the ID, get my purse and stuff, oh and don’t forget to spray a blast of White Citrus cologne to liven up the day and feel fresh, at least. Ready?


Girl: Hi, Customer Care, how can I help you?

Girl: Hey dude, help me out, my screen! All the letters suddenly reduced to less than a point of centimetre in height. I can only see dots!

Dude: Don’t worry let me just finish this, there.

Girl: Thanks man.

Then before we knew it, its almost time for lunch. But hey, what’s happening? Suddenly I can feel a twitch near the middle of my left temple. No, no, it should be fine, lunch is almost there and I can rest. Flashing white lights when I closed my eyes, white pain, and red heat. Throbbing, pulsating. The nerve suddenly had a life of its own. It’s ok, I should be fine, I’m fine.

5 minutes to go, last call. Tut..tutu..tut.tut. Then it was done.

The pain was too much. Bended over and eyes watery, I am nearly disoriented from the pain. The dude ran to get some pain reliever, thanks God at least somebody looked after me.

His girl got me something to drink. Took med and water. I should be fine, thanks. I’ll be okay. You guys take your lunch and enjoy.

Maybe I should go to the clinic and take some rest. Its ok I can grab something to eat once this subsides. I’ll manage. Whoa! The clinic was standing room only. Nurse Friendly was checking on a patient who went came in before me. Dr. Blondie was sitting on the bad scanning what seems to be a magazine or a brochure. Another nurse was seated on top of the bed with her.

I took the seat near the door. Doctor asked me what’s wrong; I said I’m having a very bad head ache. She asked again, have you eaten? If not you can’t take medicine. I told her I haven’t eaten yet but I took the medicine as I can’t control the pain anymore. She said oh ok, and went back to reading while chatting with the two nurses.

pain headI can feel my eyes watering, the pain is magnifying. I took refuge from the lady’s rest room. In here I can have some peace. I won’t mind sitting on top of the bowl. I can manage the pain better inside this cubicle. Now I can’t stop crying from too much pain, but then taking comfort from the knowledge and experience that several minutes after taking the med, pain will subside. Crying and releasing some tension helps too.

Apparently one colleague didn’t know that I was the one occupying the locked cubicle, she thought that something has drastically happened to the person inside. Pain was controllable now. I can feel it’s going to be over in a while. Relax, breathe, breathe again and control yourself.

Shit, time to log in. I approached TL Middy and advised her of the issue, she was very sympathetic, I was surprised. Perhaps with my nose as red as Rudolph, and eyes swollen as if I had cried pools of tears, she may have guessed that I wasn’t feeling well. She asked me if I wanted to go back to the clinic and I reported to her what I have experienced and witnessed in the clinic. She told me to update her.

Knock knock. I went in and the Three Stooges were still busy in their own worlds. As ever, I knew I could at least rely to Nurse Friendly to look after me. She got me some Iced Compress and told me to lie down. It was subsiding.

crazy nurseSomebody was shaking me. Apparently due to severe pain I have fallen asleep. Another nurse told me to get up and get back to the floor as the time is up. Work force will question them as she claimed. So even if I was nearly dying from pain, I still have to get worried about “THE WORKFORCE”. I was almost hysterical when she said – you can bring the ice bag and put it on top of your head. She then said, you’ve got a headset right? She seems to be insinuating to put the ice bag under the headset and on top of my head!

I was staring at her in disbelief. While taking calls, my right hand on the keyboard, headset on top of my hand, I was to utilize my left hand by holding the ice bag near my left temple, all at the same time. What a very nice suggestion to relieve my pain.

TLMiddy said to take some more time if I was not yet ok. Then my Avaya rang, I told TL Gia that it will take me some more time and then I’ll take calls after. I knew I’ll be in trouble if I dare take more calls now as looking at the screen will certainly trigger another bout of severe pain. I asked if there was anything else I could do for the remainder of the day in lieu of taking calls, nada.

One, two, three calls, TL Gia kindly checked me and told me that if pain starts again, then I should take a break and look for her. Wow, that seldom happens unless it was my own sup. I was thankful. They seemed to understand what was going on.

Twelve, thirteen, 4 minutes before the last break, it started to pulsate and get alive, OMG watch over me. I was now getting worried what if the pain attacks while I am alone going home? I do not want to have a repeat incident when I cried like a child inside McDonalds due to the sudden pain. I had to call friends nearby to get me. No, I don’t want that.

Break. Rest. Auto IN. I really can’t do it. Do they think we’re automated? Able to withstand illness and pain?robot 2

I was already embarrassed to ask for more time off as people may think I was loitering. But then, I knew I can’t stand looking at the computer. My eyes are nearly watering with tears again. So, I again approached TL Pleasant and she said take more rest. 20mins., 30mins., … TL Fairest Among them All approached me to advise I need to go to the clinic once more and see what they will say. Nurse Friendly again gave me some meds and told me to rest for 15mins more.

Workforce only allows the 15mins. How the hell did they establish a time frame for getting well?

I went back to TL Fairest Among them All, he was talking to a shrieking woman on the other line (it was the OM),

I said, boss, Nurse Friendly gave me med and told to rest 15mins.

He told the shrieking woman on the other end about the 15 minutes, they were on speaker phone.

My eyes saw red when the shriek voice shrieked – 15mins??!! She has been on rest for more than blah blah blah….

I left them and logged back in immediately and took calls. Even knowing that this can result to probably severe headaches, I took payments barely seeing what I was typing. I checked what’s wrong with the customer’s bills barely seeing the numbers.

I know that some of the sups assisted me. I was thankful for that. But they belong to an organization which I thought I was a part of. Peers and my sup know me. I am never selfish with my time – paid or not paid I can be counted on. I was never selfish with any knowledge or skills that I may have – team mates or not, I am there.

robot call centreI thought I belong to a place where I get treated as a person, valued as a person, and not as a mere head count.

I don’t want to go back. The place has burned me. If I go back, that will be to say goodbye.

I’ve had enough. I am human. I breathe. I live. I want to remain so. Staying there will either kill me or transform me to something like them. Inhuman.