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I have just come across your blog and have found everything you have written fascinating.
I too work in a contact centre and face very similar situations as yourself and staff (although the subject is international banking, not emergency services, although some of our clients like to think of themselves as patients)
I completely understand the stresses of this line of work balanced with the feeling of an elated sense of purpose when you help out that person in need also teamed with the feeling of loss of control when you know you can help and say something to change the situation, but are limited to what you can say due to the many restrictions, rules, regulations (and sometimes downright absurd policies ) applied to being on a phone to another human being.
I too share the pet hate of those rude and often abusive few that have become the "regulars" who never seem to actually have a purpose for calling you, other than to complain about the services and demand managers attention, often holding up calls from clients who actually have a serious problem (in a foreign country with no access to money, major fraud, etc..)
Very like when you have to dispatch an ambulance to an obvious "time waster", holding up actual emergencies due to the absurd "no common sense" approach, I too have come across the same problem where internal protocol and procedures override the application of common sense, mainly in the area of fraud A caller comes through who passes security that you have followed, turns out to be a fraudster the key give away is that they are patient and polite which is normally suspicious! and on the flip side A caller , who you know in your heart of hearts IS the account holder, fails the security procedure normally due to something trivial like human error when entering the clients personal details onto the system when setting up their accounts, which results in them unable to access their accounts, sending urgent payments, etc. so in theory the system in place to protect their accounts, more often than not just prevents the actual clients from using their own bank rather than preventing the rare case that it is a genuine fraud.
But not all is lost, like I said before, there are those few who genuinely are a pleasure to speak with, help and really restore your faith in why you were ever mad enough to choose a job where you much speak with members of the often dreaded public!.