Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
  We know what's right, but we don't feel its really necessary to do it...

"Just stop being so damn picky!" Larry growled at the wide-eyed man with the crewcut. The man gathered some strength and shot back, "You will not curse at me! You and the GM agreed we would follow these policies! Do you want to lose this account or what?!". Larry turned away and didn't respond. The tall crewcut bowed his head, turned and stalked down the stairs finally disappearing from sight.

One of our larger corporate customers that manage several large investment funds have advised that they aren't pleased with the way we have been handling things lately. I've seen management worried before, but they are truly losing their cool about this.

They have been firing off memos faster than a belt-fed machinegun. More serious than that, there was a company wide management meeting lately, and they chose one of the people from our vast customer relations department to oversee every transaction and trade by this customer. This new "Customer Service Czar" will either shoot you an email nastygram or physically come to your desk and tell you if you messed up the trade, or mis-handled an informational call, or screwed up the billing on a transaction with this very important customer.

The thing is, the Czar is not trying to make us do something new. All of the things that they want us to do are already on the books. They want us to fill out all of the fields, keep the customer informed about the cost and what happened after the trade, and to protect ourselves, management wants us to get the names of people that we deal with in case they contest any charges.

Larry, my floor supervisor, and one of the guys that has been there a long time, appeared to be towing the company line at first. He was yelling at us when we did not fill out fields or do something half-ass. But he is not used to this kind of precision in handling calls, it's causing things to slow down and take twice as long. After a nastygram and a personal visit, he finally snapped at the Czar.

Before this, the old-timers were used to taking calls non-stop and handling them as fast as they could without stopping to get the details straight or really find out what the customers wanted done exactly. The idea was to answer the calls and let the details take care of themselves. Customers didn't complain that much, because there weren't as many options then, we were one of the only games in town.

Besides Larry finally rebelling against this need for real customer service, all of the other old timers are complaining because their call volume is down because, GASP!, they actually have to do things correct the first time. Cry me a river. They have been getting patted on the back for too long by management for doing things just half-way. Finally, maybe they are going to see the idea that quality and quantity are not synonomous.

Signing off for now with a smug look on my handsome face and a stained coffee mug in my hand, I remain the protector of truth, quality, and utter humility here in Call Center Purgatory,

Yours sincerely,

The Anonymous Cog.

Thanks for reading...

Quality, not quantity? There's an idea!! Sarah
I sense a trend here. The same kind of thinking has happened at the "uber office" lately. Us old hands were whispering that the powers that be wouldn't have the guts to see it through when their quest for "real" customer service led to a slump in call figures . Time will tell as it's still in the honeymoon stage.
i've always believed that although quantity is a very important factor when working in a call center, you always have to remember that you have to give it your best shot and make quality calls as well.

that's why i chose to be a part ofthe quality assurance department. =)
Quality is in the 'eye of the beholder'
(or the ear of the listener when being monitored)
When a mad person can be turned around to a happy person with just a few kind words mixed in with the real purpose of the call...THAT'S quality....but 'oh no!' don't forget to tell them about a payment option...then you've got yourself a BAD call that goes down in history with your stats for the month.
I love people and I love to talk AND I'm intelligent...can't I get some recognition for THAT!
Can ya tell I had a BAD day?
uh huh - but I bet they're getting grief about the stats on top of all this... gotta love those stats, number of calls handled, average length of call (try and keep them to around 250 seconds or less)start and end with the company name, use the corporate greeting, ALWAYS do a warm handoff, make sure the callback sheets go to the right department, even if you know their fax machine isn't working...
Oh and above all - make sure you sell them another product when taking a complaint...
Fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into the call centre world. Keep it coming!
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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.

Email:anonymous.cog at

"One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better." -Blaise Pascal

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By Rage Against The Machine

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