Things I Learned While Working as a Boost Call Center Agent

Today it finally happened.  My last day as a Boost Call Center agent. What a relief.  Beginning Monday I start a new chapter in life as an Apple Tech Support agent. Wow..life changes.

The last three months have been hell.  It has been bad enough being a call center agent and working in a position that I am way overqualified for.  It has been even worse having to work as a Boost Call Center agent and dealing with some of the individuals on the other side of the line.

First off, don’t get me wrong.  I am grateful to have a job, despite the hemmorhaging denegration that I have had to put up with.  Secondly, this is not a slight at Boost Mobile, which, as a subsidiary of Sprint/Nextel, should be considered a reputable company.  the whole reason for this commentary is to tell it like it is.
As we trudge on through this existence we experience many wonderful things.  We experience joyful things. We experience beautiful things.  We experience painful things. We experience devastating things.
In the last few months I experienced Boost Mobile from the inside…a whole new world….and it has not been an experience to be cherished.
Some facts: Boost Mobile is a Pre-pay phone service that operates almost all over the U.S.   Having focused originally on the Urban Hip-Hop group for their customer base, they found a group ready to jump on the bandwagon.  Why?  No credit checks, no contracts, no requirements for real names or addresses (in fact, when we set up accounts we always used the Boost address in California as a default address).  So, identity could be hidden very easily.  It has only been recently that Boost has appeared to focus on the mainstream population and their timing could not be better: A bad economy + an offer of a $50/month unlimited plan (including everything – talk, text, web, walkie talkie, long distance, roaming) was the right recipe for a BOOM.  While at Boost i heard more than once that the amount of orders for their service exceeded executive expectations by over 400%!
So, here are a few of things I have learned (or actually became cultivated and bred into me) as a Boost Call Center agent:
  • Chris Rock was right! — What do I mean by this?  in 1997 Chris Rock recorded a very controversial comedy routine on his Roll With The New album entitled “Niggas vs. Black People.”  (This will be the only time I use the “N” word in this blog and I am only using it as it is the title of the the track. Personally, I am very offended by this extremely derogatory term)  In this track Rock points out that the first group of individuals glorify ignorance and sloth, and brag about fulfilling any minor responsibility that normal people would just do. My experience with probably close to 25% of the Boost customer base on the phone was that many of these individuals would BRAZENLY attempt to leech off of the system, calling in to ask for credit on their account. Many of them were habitual.  You could see in their call records that they would call six, seven times a day asking for credit and were denied and denied over and over as credit abusers, but somehow still got the credit.  It is not at all unusual to see these folks with 6 or 7 weeks of going without adding funds to their account but continuing service by eventually finding the lazy or gullible Boost agent who would give them enough credit to last a couple of days more. This has astounded me. Even more astounding would be those (and many here as well) who we would go ahead and grant a credit of 50 cents here and a dollar there and they would swear at us and then exclaim “is that all you gonna gimme?” 
  • I am very naive! — Based on the comments above, I have had a very skewed view of a world I don’t know very well. Sure, I have known there was “an element” of indivduals out there that I should be scared of.  I have driven, by accident, through parts of Detroit that scared me to death and there are parts of Lexington that could be considered similarly dangerous for a white person.  But this certain element exists in all of the colors…the gang type of mentality…whether white, black, Hispanic, Asian or otherwise.  But my naivite (perhaps even ignorance) was shattered while taking many of the calls at Boost.  But, I had a virtual opportunity to step into their households.  These calls would come in and the first thing I would hear would be raging expletives of all types being spewed out of mouths of parties.  Sometimes they were so into the fighting and bickering, that they would not hear me saying “Thank you for calling Boost Mobile. This is David. How can I assist you?.”   I have heard mothers and fathers lashing out at each other.  It seems like many of them scream all comments at each other.  Loud was the quiet in these homes.
  • Boost lives up to its name! — I just learned three weeks ago that the urban slang term for steal (and/or shoplift) is “boost,” such as “I boosted this watch from the store.”  I don’t know how many times I would open up accounts and there would be voice on the other end saying they forgot the password to their phone account and I could I send it to them.  I would ask their name as I opened the account and they would say something like Reggie or Marquis or LaShonda or something, but I would see Jose Lopez as the name on the account.  (Got much of the same in other ethnic groups as well in the big cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles to be fair).  Suffice it to say that these phones pass hands frequently, and many times not by choice of one of the parties involved.

All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.

Leave a Note at my Singlewide