redhillian: (Pride flag)
[personal profile] redhillian
or: maybe Aviva do want our filthy queer money after all...

The awesome and empowering [livejournal.com profile] oxfordgirl has received a prompt reply from Aviva's "Head of Media Relations", assuring her (and therefore vicariously, us) that her experience does not represent Aviva's ideals or policies and that a full investigation is under way, with a report to follow.

For the time being, we can probably hold off with the destroying and cleansing fire - there is a possibility that one customer facing call centre asshat is going to be skinned alive in the boardroom this afternoon.

I wouldn't recommend changing any insurance choices yet, but I would suggest being very sure of any terms & conditions as written and not as put forward by a call centre agent that may not be following company policy.

Date: 2010-03-30 06:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nattydreadi.livejournal.com
Having finally read through to the post in question on your last LJ post, I have been purturbed by this scenario. Not for the potential blatant homophobia, but for the initial response. Yes, she double checked 'civil partnership' but then in her own words 'screamed obscenities' down the phone.
For someone who used to work in a call centre, albeit for a short period of time, that response to another human being is deplorable. If you consider the potential scenarios.
1) It is company policy - in this case the agent can do nothing, they are reading from a script and as such will just hang up, and probably feel terrible for days (see [livejournal.com profile] lstn_natalie's journals for how being abused in a call centre makes people feel)
2) It was personal 'opinion' In which case screaming and yelling abuse down the phone confirms that person's intolerances, and gives them opportunity to terminate the call having impressed them onto someone.
3) The agent is actually ignorant of the term 'civil partnership' and heard 'partner' when asked of someone with a different surname could have the benefits of the free insurance. Ignorance of terminology is not uncommon, a lot of people refer to civil partnerships as 'marriage' If Oxfordgirl had asked 'what if my spouse is a woman?' would the response have been different?

Part of my job is in conflict management and resolution, and I know how to get the best out of contact centres. In this situation, as read it could be either of option 2, 3 or something else. As you say, it is unlikely to be option 1. However, that initial snap response of aggressive behaviour, to me, is something of an unnecessary snap response to an unclear situation. I understand that clarity was sought, but it does pay to remember that not everyone is as open minded, well read, educated or intelligent as you, and that every human being, irrespective of their prejudices has a right to be treated with courtesy and respect.

You do not change people's minds by violent protest, by abusing and demeaning them. You do change people's minds by careful and considered engagement with their intolerances, prejudices, or ignorances.

Once again, for clarity to anyone other than Tom who may read this, I abhor institutionalised homophobia in all it's guises, and if this person was acting in such a manner with malice aforethought then I hope that they get a ton of P45s landing on them.

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