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Being called a pet name on your job!

 
 
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 08:45 am
Help me settle this argument. I am a patient services representative for a medical company providing life saving medicine for patients in need. I currently work from home due to the pandemic and every now and then my wife will hear me on the phone and she thinks I'm being rude to the patients or doctor office staff. We get calls all day long from them. When I answer the phone I politely introduce myself by giving my first name. No, it's not a hard first name to remember. And I ask the patient or medical office staff for their name so I can refer to them in the proper manner. For some reason the patients or office workers, for whatever reason, don't remember my name and like to call me a cutesy pet name like sweetie, hun, honey, baby, or sugar. At that point I politely say to them, "excuse me but my name is "Tom" (not really, but just for example) and I would appreciate it if you could call me that instead of sweetie, baby, or sugar." My wife hears that and feels that's being rude. Why is it rude to correct someone on your own name? If my name is Tom and you keep calling me Bill, how is that rude to correct them? I was speaking with one woman some months ago and she kept calling me sweetie, baby, and sugar so when I addressed it to her this was her response. "Oh, I'm sorry, I call my children that." You are calling a business inquiring about medical services yet you feel it's okay to call the rep you're speaking with a name you refer to your children by? On another occasion, I was speaking with a woman and she called me baby or sweetie and when I corrected me on her name this was her reply. "Oh, I'm sorry, can I just call you asshole then?" Yes, I think there is a difference between stopping at some roadside diner and the waitress comes over to your table and says, "what can I get for you today sweetie" compared to you calling a company about your medication and referring to the rep as sweetie. Some people feel it's just their way of being polite but when I introduce myself to you if you don't remember my name sir works fine or even this. "I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?" I would never call Sprint or my power company and refer to the rep on the phone with a cutesy name. I just don't think those names belong on a professional level. I would never call my doctor, pastor, a judge, or a police officer by a cutesy name just to be nice. Not saying that me as a customer service rep deserves any more respect as a doctor, pastor, judge, or police officer but I just don't want to be called a pet name when I'm signing you up for our program or checking on the status of your medication. And it's not just the patients, the doctor's office staff do it just as much. Is it wrong, when you are on your job, to expect to be called by your name and not a cutesy pet name or term of endearment? Again, this isn't the returns counter at Walmart or Target nor is it the information kiosk in the mall. I work for a global medical company assisting patients with life saving medication. Is it wrong to want to be called by your name? Some have even said that I should just suck it up and take it.
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 464 • Replies: 36
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Joeblow
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 09:06 am
@Barry2021,
You're right bearbear, at best it's unprofessional
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 09:13 am
@Barry2021,
I think your objection to this practice is totally reasonable. Expecting people to actually change their lazy habits might be unrealistic, however. People can be remarkably clueless and remain that way despite repeated protestations. Have you ever tried to change your tone of voice?
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 09:31 am
@hightor,
When you say change my tone of voice what do you mean? All our calls are recorded and you never know when the QA team will pull one of your calls to review it. How much more polite is it to say, "excuse me, but I prefer to be called by my name which is. . . . . " But according to my wife she says I'm being rude to the patient or office worker by saying that.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 10:20 am
@Barry2021,
Barry2021 wrote:


Help me settle this argument. I am a patient services representative for a medical company providing life saving medicine for patients in need. I currently work from home due to the pandemic and every now and then my wife will hear me on the phone and she thinks I'm being rude to the patients or doctor office staff. We get calls all day long from them. When I answer the phone I politely introduce myself by giving my first name. No, it's not a hard first name to remember. And I ask the patient or medical office staff for their name so I can refer to them in the proper manner. For some reason the patients or office workers, for whatever reason, don't remember my name and like to call me a cutesy pet name like sweetie, hun, honey, baby, or sugar. At that point I politely say to them, "excuse me but my name is "Tom" (not really, but just for example) and I would appreciate it if you could call me that instead of sweetie, baby, or sugar." My wife hears that and feels that's being rude. Why is it rude to correct someone on your own name? If my name is Tom and you keep calling me Bill, how is that rude to correct them? I was speaking with one woman some months ago and she kept calling me sweetie, baby, and sugar so when I addressed it to her this was her response. "Oh, I'm sorry, I call my children that." You are calling a business inquiring about medical services yet you feel it's okay to call the rep you're speaking with a name you refer to your children by? On another occasion, I was speaking with a woman and she called me baby or sweetie and when I corrected me on her name this was her reply. "Oh, I'm sorry, can I just call you asshole then?" Yes, I think there is a difference between stopping at some roadside diner and the waitress comes over to your table and says, "what can I get for you today sweetie" compared to you calling a company about your medication and referring to the rep as sweetie. Some people feel it's just their way of being polite but when I introduce myself to you if you don't remember my name sir works fine or even this. "I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?" I would never call Sprint or my power company and refer to the rep on the phone with a cutesy name. I just don't think those names belong on a professional level. I would never call my doctor, pastor, a judge, or a police officer by a cutesy name just to be nice. Not saying that me as a customer service rep deserves any more respect as a doctor, pastor, judge, or police officer but I just don't want to be called a pet name when I'm signing you up for our program or checking on the status of your medication. And it's not just the patients, the doctor's office staff do it just as much. Is it wrong, when you are on your job, to expect to be called by your name and not a cutesy pet name or term of endearment? Again, this isn't the returns counter at Walmart or Target nor is it the information kiosk in the mall. I work for a global medical company assisting patients with life saving medication. Is it wrong to want to be called by your name? Some have even said that I should just suck it up and take it.


You have not told us your name. Obviously it is not "Barry" and you seem reluctant to actually say what it is.

For all we know it may sound like "Asshole"...which may be why that woman said what she did.

If it is a name that is hard to remember or tough to pronounce, that may be the reason for what you are experiencing. But since you seem to be so insistent that those people use it...WHY NOT TELL US WHAT IT IS?
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 10:38 am
@Frank Apisa,
Are you really focusing on what my screen name is compared to what my real name is? I used Tom as an example because yes, my name is a very easy name to say and remember. I don't see anything wrong with correcting someone on your name. I'm not rude nor am I yelling or cursing. Again, all our calls are recorded and subject for review. I'm very polite when asking to be called by my name but you obviously seem to only want to focus on what my real name is compared to my screen name.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 10:49 am
@Barry2021,
Barry2021 wrote:

Are you really focusing on what my screen name is compared to what my real name is? I used Tom as an example because yes, my name is a very easy name to say and remember. I don't see anything wrong with correcting someone on your name. I'm not rude nor am I yelling or cursing. Again, all our calls are recorded and subject for review. I'm very polite when asking to be called by my name but you obviously seem to only want to focus on what my real name is compared to my screen name.


No...that is not my focus. I was interested in whether your real name is hard to pronounce, which might account for the problem. I deal with all sorts of people on the phone all the time...and MOST PEOPLE ADDRESS ME AS FRANK.

If yours is an easy name like Tom...that problem should not exist.

But you say it does.

I'd be interested if the problem is wide-spread. Do any of you here have as much a problem with this as does "Barry" or "Tom" or "Dick" or "Harry" (whatever his name is) here?
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 10:53 am
Well, as you know, Frank, my real name is Pamela and often people shorten it to Pam, which is not me. My whole life I've had to ask people to call me Pamela and they do.

When someone introduces themselves as "Pamela" or "Thomas" or whatever, they are telling you what to call them.

A Thomas is not the same as Tom or Tommy. It's a different name altogether.

But it wouldn't bother me a bit to be called an endearment.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 10:57 am
@Frank Apisa,
The problem here is not how to pronounce my name which, again, is very easy to pronounce, but the fact is that they choose not to remember it. Instead of just asking for my name again they choose to just call me a cutesy name instead of just saying, "I'm sorry, and your name again was?" I fully understand you may not remember someone's name but if I don't remember your name I'm going to ask you again instead of calling you sweetie or honey. Especially if I'm calling you to conduct business.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 11:13 am
@Barry2021,
Quote:
for whatever reason, don't remember my name and like to call me a cutesy pet name like sweetie, hun, honey, baby, or sugar. At that point I politely say to them, "excuse me but my name is "Tom" (not really, but just for example) and I would appreciate it if you could call me that instead of sweetie, baby, or sugar."


I think the rude part is when you say "I would appreciate it if you could call me that instead of sweetie, baby, or sugar."

To me that part sounds condescending. Someone should get from the first part - excuse me but my name is "Tom" even though I cannot hear your tone as someone would on the phone - the words you use hear sound condescending - in addition if your tone relays this it would across that way - I suspect too the responses you are getting (the asshole comment) probably lean that your voice tone comes across that way whether you mean it or not. I understand that you probably feel sick and tired of saying it - but that is probably exactly what is coming across -your tone is probably reeking of asshole.

Did you ask your wife why she though you sounded rude? Maybe change it up a bit and say "Sorry, Ma'am could you refer to me as Tom? I would greatly appreciate it."

And one other thought - depending on the cultural of who you are calling, those honey, sugar and so forth may just be a normal polite way of talking so you do need to consider that. For instance people in the south use this terminology and it is not offensive - it is more cultural so you might need to be a bit more open.

I remember when we opened an office in Texas - we would either deal on the phone with the Texans or even on business visits. My boss used to get upset when they called her Ma'am. Being from the northeast it is used more for older women so she was insulted. But in the south it is a sign of respect for women of any age.

Could you be a cultural difference since you say that you work for a global company? And maybe you should be a bit more open?

In other words it is not rude to ask them to call you by your first name and not another sort of thing like Sir, honey, etc. but it is rude if you do so in a condescending manner. There is a polite way and a rude way. And also to have a little patience with cultural differences as your manner of what you feel is proper business etiquette may be different than in someone in a different part of the country or the world.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 11:22 am
@Mame,
Mame wrote:

Well, as you know, Frank, my real name is Pamela and often people shorten it to Pam, which is not me. My whole life I've had to ask people to call me Pamela and they do.

When someone introduces themselves as "Pamela" or "Thomas" or whatever, they are telling you what to call them.

A Thomas is not the same as Tom or Tommy. It's a different name altogether.

But it wouldn't bother me a bit to be called an endearment.


I had a good friend named Pamela...and a cousin with that name. It is not a name I feel comfortable abbreviating to Pam. Both of them were always Pamela to me.

My younger brother, Michael, is called Michael by everyone in my family...including all cousins. I would NEVER call him or refer to him as anything but, Michael.

My name, unusually, IS Frank...not Francis or Franklin or anything else like that. People call me Frank...except for my golfer regulars, who mostly refer to me as Fairway Frank.

Not sure why this guy is having the trouble he is...nor why he has not simply said what his name is. But...to each his/her own.

You seem like a Mame to me...and I usually use that. Jonathan IS a Jonathan...and I would have lots of trouble referring to him as Joe, because of his screen name.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 11:29 am
@Linkat,
One other thing - do other people in office have this same issue? Or is it just you?

Maybe you could ask your manager how you should handle this situation - what would be considered the proper business etiquette from your company's perspective.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 12:26 pm
@Linkat,
A cultural or even a regional thing I can understand. But still I do not see it as rude or condescending to correct someone on your name. Our calls are recorded I'm not giving any type of attitude for fear of losing my job. The woman who called me "asshole" was just being a difficult patient.

And to piggy back of something you also said, I was speaking to a woman some years ago at another job, again, on the phone, and I said something to the affect of "yes ma'am, let me see if I can assist you." Do you know that woman cut my head off because I called her a ma'am? She was from up north and I guess calling someone ma'am meant that you were saying they were old. She demanded to speak to my supervisor. My supervisor took the call and then responded to me later to say not to even worry about that. I'll call you ma'am even if you are younger than me. Again, respect for the caller. Again, I meant nothing by it and I'm sure the callers who choose to call me a cutesy pet name also mean nothing by it but is it wrong to correct someone on your name?
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 12:28 pm
@Linkat,
As stated in my OP I am working from home so I can't say they also have a problem with it. Some may not. I don't know. I just know that I prefer to be called by my name and not by sweetie, honey, or baby, especially from someone I don't even know.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 12:54 pm
@Barry2021,
Barry2021 wrote:

A cultural or even a regional thing I can understand. But still I do not see it as rude or condescending to correct someone on your name. Our calls are recorded I'm not giving any type of attitude for fear of losing my job. The woman who called me "asshole" was just being a difficult patient.

And to piggy back of something you also said, I was speaking to a woman some years ago at another job, again, on the phone, and I said something to the affect of "yes ma'am, let me see if I can assist you." Do you know that woman cut my head off because I called her a ma'am? She was from up north and I guess calling someone ma'am meant that you were saying they were old. She demanded to speak to my supervisor. My supervisor took the call and then responded to me later to say not to even worry about that. I'll call you ma'am even if you are younger than me. Again, respect for the caller. Again, I meant nothing by it and I'm sure the callers who choose to call me a cutesy pet name also mean nothing by it but is it wrong to correct someone on your name?



Exactly so you can see your point of view but not the other. You called her ma'am she took offense to it. But yet she is supposed to understand you did not mean offense to it.

They call you sugar and you take offense to it.

It is not wrong to correct them but doing so nicely will benefit you.

Your calls may be recorded - however, different people interpret tone differently and cultural norms differently - so it may not cause any red flags on your call service while it could still come across as condescending to those on the other end of the phone line.

You cannot change other people, but you can change the way you handle things. If you ask nicely and simply say short and sincerely - oh, sorry but could you please call me by first name Tom, I really prefer that and would appreciate it. If you are actually sincere and say it like that - you are 100x more likely to get them to approve. Being overly kind about it will reap much more (whether you are in the fault or not).

I just suspect - whether actually warranted or not - that these women are getting offended on how you are responding. It may not be your fault and there may not be anything underlying of what you are doing, but if you want good results, quite honestly you may have to bend more.

But it is really up to you - if you really want them to stop and call you by your first name - being kind about and in part blaming yourself (sorry I know it might be weird but I really prefer to be called Tom) it is more likely to get them to do it.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 12:58 pm
@Barry2021,
Barry2021 wrote:

As stated in my OP I am working from home so I can't say they also have a problem with it. Some may not. I don't know. I just know that I prefer to be called by my name and not by sweetie, honey, or baby, especially from someone I don't even know.


Why don't you ask them? Or do you not have any contact with your manager or co-workers. Do you not have any team meetings?

Seriously - no reason not to be up front. Just say this happens to me - I feel it is more professional to call me by my first name - how do you feel about it? Do you have a suggestion on how to handle that?

Also have you asked your wife? She heard you speak - ask her why she thought it was rude? You might get some insight -

Personally I would just look at it is as a way to improve in my job - how to influence others.
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 01:19 pm
@Barry2021,
I'm with you, Barry. I HATE being called sugar, baby, sweetie and the like, especially on the job. You have every right to call people out on the rude and condescending behavior. Please treat me with respect and I'll do the same.

Having said that, good luck trying to get people to change their behavior. It's ingrained and they don't feel it's as bad as all that. So, pick your battles. If someone really grates on your nerves, please tell them. Most of the time they will be receptive. If not, who cares? Or mostly ignore it, you're only on the phone with them a short time anyway.

Now if they do it just to piss you off, then all bets are off.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 01:32 pm
@Linkat,
The difference is I didn't call her ma'am to be cutesy. That was just a respect thing. Calling someone baby or sweetie isn't about respect. To me that's more condescending than anything else. That is an attempt to lower you as to elevate themselves. No, I can't change other people but I can correct them at that moment. They can hang up the phone after that and call everyone they meet whatever cutesy name they want. But for the purpose of my interaction with them I do prefer to be called by my name. Is that wrong?

The funny thing is this. As you stated, "sorry I know it might be weird but I really prefer to be called Tom". I've said that and others have advised that that can come across as condescending and rude. No, there's no real correct way to address this because what you suggest someone else can say that's rude. Whereas what they suggest, you may say is rude. The issue is not what to say but that it's said. This is my normal phone greeting. "Thank you for calling (name of company). My name is "Tom". How may I assist you?" Typically they get that but the few times one does prefer to call me a cutesy name I'll politely say, "excuse me but I would prefer you call me by my name." Most of the time they apologize and make an effort to correct themselves. And yes you do have those one off like the rude lady who gave the "asshole" comment. I just don't think it's wrong to want to be called by your God given name. You can correct them a million different ways and every other person will probably say, "well, say this" or "instead say that." There may not be a right or wrong way to do it. But I'm just saying is it wrong to do it?
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 01:35 pm
@Linkat,
My wife doesn't and has never worked a customer service or a customer relations job and she says she never would. She doesn't like talking to people. She just feels that I should just take it and not make a big deal out of it. However, she has a name that is a little hard to pronounce and she hates it when people call her the wrong name or doesn't say it correctly. Which to me I would think she would lean more to my side given that people call her different names all the time.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2021 01:37 pm
@Linkat,
Barry2021 wrote:

And to piggy back of something you also said, I was speaking to a woman some years ago at another job, again, on the phone, and I said something to the affect of "yes ma'am, let me see if I can assist you." Do you know that woman cut my head off because I called her a ma'am? She was from up north and I guess calling someone ma'am meant that you were saying they were old. She demanded to speak to my supervisor. My supervisor took the call and then responded to me later to say not to even worry about that. I'll call you ma'am even if you are younger than me. Again, respect for the caller. Again, I meant nothing by it and I'm sure the callers who choose to call me a cutesy pet name also mean nothing by it but is it wrong to correct someone on your name?


I was always taught that 'sir' and 'ma'am' were polite forms of address. We don't if that woman had a bad day, wasn't raised the same way, or is from another country where they'd find that an insult.

I never bother correcting anyone I'm going to see once or twice, like a bank clerk - it takes up too much energy, and for what? Some people's families are full of nicknames, but ours isn't. Janet is Janet (never Jan), Sally is Sally, etc. I'm sure people don't mean it in a harmful way and they possibly don't care, or even think it's friendly, to call you Tommy or hon.

I think you should just take it the way it's meant and not be bothered about it. Unless, of course, you're in a lot of contact with them, in which case it's a matter of respect on their part to address you how you've stated.
 

 
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