My wife and I used to change each others’ ring tones all the time without telling each other. It would be a nice surprise to get a call and hear a different tune than what I was used to. Or I might get a call sometimes and hear the sound of one of my kids’ voices and that always made me happy. This time my wife had chosen a very intriguing but embarrassing ring tone.
At the time, I was working in a business credit card call center for a very reputable, international bank. We had extremely high call volumes at times. Professionalism was always greatly emphasized. The call floor was kept as quiet as possible so as not to disturb the customers and to keep from distracting fellow employees. At times the calls got very heated and they were monitored by management so I always needed to maintain professionalism on the calls no matter what the situation was. Use of cell phones was strictly prohibited on the call floor, so I always just left mine turned off because even when it was on “vibrate” it was distracting.
On this call floor, the desks were in cubicles and there were four desks in each cubicle. This meant that I had three close neighbors and when the calls were slow we always had time to chat with each other, which was nice. That also meant that other people were always there to help me out if I needed it or to over-hear my ring tone when I forget to turn off my cell phone.
I got to work early that day. I had started working hard on getting promoted so I was being super professional and wearing a nice tie to work everyday. I got to my desk and endeavored to answer customers’ questions, handle complaints, and make sales.
During my lunch break, I turned on my phone like normal and called my wife. This day, however, I made the unfortunate error of forgetting to turn it off. It was the first and only time I ever forgot to turn it back off at the end of my lunch.
I came back from lunch and got back to work. The calls started coming in faster and faster and we had a huge queue of customers waiting to talk to us. This always raises the stress level through the roof because when people call in concerned about their business accounts they are in no mood to wait on hold for twenty minutes to talk to someone.
I was in the middle of a heated call with a business owner who felt he had been unfairly billed for over $200 in service charges when I noticed that John, the guy next to me, was quietly laughing hysterically. His face was beet red and he was trying very hard to put his call on hold, but he couldn’t keep it together.
A friend of mine from the next cubicle stood up and looked over at us and was still talking to his customer and was smiling ear to ear and trying not to laugh.
That’s when I noticed the sound of a woman who was enjoying herself very, very much. The lady who sat to my right gave me a very disgusted look and the ice cold chill of realization washed over me like a tidal wave. My wife had changed my ring tone to the sound of a woman reveling in a passionate moment.
I scrambled to reach my phone which was in a backpack under my desk. I didn’t think to put my customer on hold. I moved as fast as I could to get to that phone. Still talking to my customer about his account, I fumbled with the backpack. The closer I got to my phone, the louder the passionate woman’s voice became.
Phone in my hand now, I tried to get to the volume button on the side. I was still looking at my computer screen, and couldn’t get it so I just flipped the cell phone open and then closed it again.
Then the unthinkable happened. My customer had heard the moaning and was now asking “what was that?”
I quickly attempted to redirect the conversation back to his account. Needless to say the customer was not amused. “What kind of business are you people running over there?” asked my customer, “Are you making fun of me?” After extensive rambling, eventually I convinced him that I had no idea where the noise had come from. I was finally able to end the call and decided to evaluate the damage with my co-workers.
I stood up, looked around the room and noticed quite a few people staring at me, most of them amused some of them annoyed. I decided I needed a patsy to take the blame for my indiscretion. I shrugged, pointed over at John (who was still unable to regain composure), and sat back down.
Of course the people who sat close to me knew who’s fault it was. I never did live that down with them. Luckily, they never did rat me out.