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A Modern Kind of Hero

May 10, 2013

If I was a TV executive, I’d immediately commission a series presented by the excellent Suzie Dent from Countdown’s dictionary corner, where she investigates the derivations of the endless non-sensical job titles around.

This morning, I cut through the shopping mall on my way to the bus station. An announcement came over the tannoy:

“If you should fall into difficulty whilst shopping with us today, please approach one of our customer heroes who will be parading the mall”.

Customer hero? I’d like to see the mime for that one on What’s My Line? And Kenneth Williams might ask: “Does it involve capes and utility belts?”

Later I picked up a voicemail from someone at the council asking me to call them for a brief chat. I didn’t recognise the name and she only left the main switchboard number. There must have been more than one employee with the same name because the switchboard operator asked me:

“Would that be personalised services or brokerage compliance?”

I couldn’t comply with the question as I had no idea what she was talking about. I’d love to have said: “Neither. I think she works in the cockateel sexing transition team”.

What strikes me is the assumption that we’re meant to know what all these terms mean. Am I out of touch? Are there idiot guides published on the subject? Can you pick this stuff up at night school?

And if I don’t know what anything means, how can I avail myself of it. Supposing I had fallen into difficulty in the mall – Burtons may not have had a pair of flip flops in my size; I might not have been able to locate the wall mounted brillo grips in Debenhams; I might have had a heart attack. How might a customer hero rescue me from this difficulty?

The trouble with personalised services is that they’re impersonal. If the user of the service doesn’t know what it means, it’s inaccessible. Would I have caused offense if I’d asked the switchboard operator what exactly was being personalised and could I be included please?

Here’s this week’s quiz. Twice in this post, I’ve refered to the switchboard operator but I bet, in real life, she’s not called that anymore. Your task is to come up with the most ludicrous title for that role.

I’d like to offer a first prize of a day in the company of a compliant hero but have fallen into difficulty with brokering such a service. Never mind, it’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part…….


From → Personal Stuff

  1. Telecommunications interface ambassador. (I met two ambassadors in South Africa. One was a waiter and one was a cheetah.)

  2. Britt permalink

    Telephonic Connectivity Champion ?

  3. transitional analogue communications facilitator

  4. remote customer interface enabler

  5. customer-facing communication solutions facilitation manager

  6. Helen permalink

    Correct numerical selection and transference officer.

  7. duncfmac permalink

    Under paid let the person who I’m looking for hide facilitator?

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