Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Saturday, April 03, 2004
  Dueling Bosses...

The accounting department has always seemed to have an attitude. I think it is common for most people in accounting to think themselves better than people in production, or sales, or in my case those on the call floor. They are famous for bringing us little slips of paper with clerical problems to fix on previous orders we entered, most of the time they could have fixed it, but seem to have a need to make us do it(that's just my perception). One of them is a redhead in her 30's that always brings problems to my direct supervisor when she wants to tell on one of the people on the floor. Lately, we have been getting some of the calls from the companies that drop ship product for us to get their purchase orders. Come to find out she enters their invoices in the system, but never advises these people their purchase order numbers. I don't really mind telling helping these people, but after they layed people off we are short staffed. Some of the business we have lost is coming back and we are getting slammed with call volume. We told our boss that we really dont have time to be dealing with these shipping companies besides taking care of our customers.

Well today the redhead came out on the floor to talk to my boss and pointed out someone's piddling syntax error. He looked at the file, then told her that if she would have read all of the notes regarding the order she would realize she was wrong, and would not be wasting his time. She stamped off in a huff. How dare he question me...

10 minutes later her boss came out, he is a 60ish grandfather type who always speaks very soft and kindly, but has a core of steel that reminds you he is not the one with whom to trifle. He explained to my boss that he had offended the redhead and that he should not speak to her that way. My boss proceeded to explain to "Grandpa" that she needs to do her job and stop bothering us and making us give purchase orders to the drop shipping companies. "Grandpa" explained that since they have lost a person due to cuts they are very busy and cant give out purchase orders. My boss countered that we are getting killed with call volume and that we lost more than they did. "Grandpa" then advised I'm not going to stand here and argue with you and stomped off too. We were all thrilled to see he was standing up for us and not backing down.

There's a sociological term called outgroup homogeneity that explains that in the group that you fail to see the distinctions of people outside your own group. Of course the most common example is when one racial group says that people from another group "all look the same to me". But it goes farther than that, this indistinctiveness causes you to not only not recognize people from other groups as distinct physically, but you also believe that this other group all have the exact same attitudes, faults and bad characteristics.

The accounting department all thinks we are ignorant cretans who dont care about clerical accuracy, we think they are primadonnas who think they are better than us, the sales department thinks that we need to do a better job following their reccomendations and instructions. Everybody thinks everybody else is wrong, and that they are underappreciated.

I will say that I work on the Research end of things and all too often we receive research requests from call center agents who appear to not know how to look it up themselves, can't type in English, or provide insufficient information for us to work from. When we come back to them to let them know that we need such-and-such information to complete the request, they flip on us.
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

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