What’s it like to make uplifting calls that change lives? Ammar Kalia spoke to the people whose job is to spread joy
For 12 years now, Anita Pires has been working at the call centre for Camelot, the company that runs the UK’s national lottery. She is one of a staff of 30 who answer calls from potential lottery winners, checking their numbers for prizes that range from £5 to the multi-millions. “In 2009, I had one of my biggest winners, who won £45m,” she says. “Even I couldn’t believe it. We only get an automated prompt just before they’re put through; it’s always very exciting. The claimants are in shock and don’t really comprehend that it’s millions in cash. There’s a real buzz in the office, with everyone anticipating who might get the call from a big winner that week.”
According to a 2016 report, more than 700,000 people in the UK are employed by call centres The work is often tough: it can be a difficult mix of monotony, stress and the emotional labour of staying friendly for hour upon hour of calls. But for a few call-centre employees such as Pires, the work is pure joy.