"May I call you by your first name, sir?"

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Old Mar 11, 18, 9:40 am
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"May I call you by your first name, sir?"

Just had to make two calls which were routed to the Indian Call Centre. Both agents asked me this question, which I've also been asked by other ICCs for Three Mobile and such like (who knows, maybe by the same agents).

Is this a term of endearment in India? I just find it intensely annoying, as I find that asking me whether I want to pretend to be their friend or a bit of a dick is both in itself a discourtesy and waste of time, and I and tend to just snap back that they call me whatever they like. This genuinely is my attitude in this matter, but I still find the question very annoying, because for the rest of the call, they either don't address me by anything at all (as a normal person would), or they insert my first name in every goddamn sentence they speak. Are they actually paid more the longer the call drags on? That would explain a lot.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 9:47 am
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Is being polite a problem? Surely if they addressed you with your first name before asking, you would have been pissed you as well.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 9:50 am
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It's not just in India. SOP in plenty of UK call centres as well. Lloyds springs to mind but had it from many others - drives me nuts.

The only reasonable justification (IMO) for it is that some people don't actually go by their first name (e.g. use their middle name), but then those people are used to dealing with that complexity more generally anyway. I doubt someone would be offended if they say their name is Olivia Smith and then get called Olivia without 'permission'.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 9:51 am
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This issue is not just with Indian call centers as I have had it recently with Sainsbury's.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by kosy91 View Post
Is being polite a problem? Surely if they addressed you with your first name before asking, you would have been pissed you as well.
As I have already said, no, it wouldn't. But the question annoys me, as my intention with making the call is not forming a long-term personal bond, but rather for the call to be as brief as possible. I'm sure the person waiting behind me in the queue to get connected feels the same way.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 9:55 am
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I simply say "you may call me my Lord". I confuses the hell out of them.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
It's not just in India. SOP in plenty of UK call centres as well. Lloyds springs to mind but had it from many others - drives me nuts.

The only reasonable justification (IMO) for it is that some people don't actually go by their first name (e.g. use their middle name), but then those people are used to dealing with that complexity more generally anyway. I doubt someone would be offended if they say their name is Olivia Smith and then get called Olivia without 'permission'.
Glad it's not just me. And I've already dealt with that one, as my given name is the third forename listed in my passport, and I'm using it in all OW bookings.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:00 am
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I know someone who would be mortified if someone on the phone called them by their first name on the phone in such a situation, rather than use their title and surname.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by 710 77345 View Post
I know someone who would be mortified if someone on the phone called them by their first name on the phone in such a situation, rather than use their title and surname.
Would they be happier to be put on the spot and asked for their preference, as opposed to not addressing them by name at all unless appropriate in the context, and then by their title and surname (a procedure which would save time for everybody involved)?
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by Passmethesickbag View Post
Would they be happier to be put on the spot and asked for their preference, as opposed to not addressing them by name at all unless appropriate in the context, and then by their title and surname (a procedure which would save time for everybody involved)?
Having seen how she treats people who make assumptions on the phone, I'm scared to ask her!

I presume there's some people who would feel that being called Mr X would respond by saying 'that's my father'.

But indeed, easier for all just to get on with the transaction.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
I simply say "you may call me my Lord". I confuses the hell out of them.
Which brings to mind an exchange between the head of my college and an undergraduate: "Don't call me Sir, call me Master". I don't imagine that the heads of colleges speak to call centres themselves though.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:05 am
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I always just reject the idea, and suggest the appropriate address is DR. Surname. Generally speaking no offence is taken.
Another daily annoyance is riff raff addressing me as 'mate', simple recipe for this issue is to ignore them as they can't possibly think I would be their 'mate'
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:08 am
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I would never use someone’s first name unless they offered, if I cannot pronounce their name I usually say sorry I do not want to mispronounce your name how do you say it, if they say call me John I inwardly sigh a relief.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by 710 77345 View Post
Having seen how she treats people who make assumptions on the phone, I'm scared to ask her!

I presume there's some people who would feel that being called Mr X would respond by saying 'that's my father'.

But indeed, easier for all just to get on with the transaction.
Indeed, I've never been asked the question by UK-based call centre staff, or indeed by the good people answer calls on AA's Executive Platinum line. They just get on with their jobs.
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Old Mar 11, 18, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by Passmethesickbag View Post
Just had to make two calls which were routed to the Indian Call Centre. Both agents asked me this question, which I've also been asked by other ICCs for Three Mobile and such like (who knows, maybe by the same agents).

Is this a term of endearment in India? I just find it intensely annoying, as I find that asking me whether I want to pretend to be their friend or a bit of a dick is both in itself a discourtesy and waste of time, and I and tend to just snap back that they call me whatever they like. This genuinely is my attitude in this matter, but I still find the question very annoying, because for the rest of the call, they either don't address me by anything at all (as a normal person would), or they insert my first name in every goddamn sentence they speak. Are they actually paid more the longer the call drags on? That would explain a lot.
My own view is your overthinking this way far too much and it's really no big deal. The agent at the other end is probably trained to say that and has to say that so there really is no point having a go at him/her and complain to BA itself. Some UK companies definitely use this one liner at the start.

This thread reminded me of this one which was quite funny in ways.

I didn't spend 6 years in Evil Medical School to be called *Mr* Evil.
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