Customer Service Confessions

Most conversations are scripted, no matter how natural they may sound.

Not every call is "recorded for quality purposes." Often, a company will just tape a random rep conducting a call with a customer.

Often, reps will give you a fake name, which is provided to the rep by a manager. Most reps aren't allowed to give their full names or their call center location for security reasons.

Reps are judged based on how long they spend on the phone with you -- most calls never last more than 10 minutes or that rep might be penalized.

When you ask to speak to "a supervisor," you won't end up talking to one. You're more likely routed to second-level support, which are more senior reps. Also, asking for a supervisor reflects poorly on the first-level support rep and they can be penalized if it happens too often.

The higher the level of support you're dealing with, the longer your time on hold will likely be. At the first level, you may only be on hold for a few minutes, but that may increase to 15 to 20 minutes at the second level.

Reps will never say "I'm sorry." "You're required to apologize rather than say you're sorry because that might sound sarcastic," says former customer service rep Tina Parcell.