Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Thursday, May 19, 2005
  "They've Created a Monster!"


Several weeks ago I started noticing something odd about one of my coworkers. Wilma has been there almost as long as the Larry, the floor supervisor. She still smokes Lucky Strikes, drinks more coffee than I do and has that I-don't-give-a-damn attitude that I've always liked.

At least that's what I thought...

But lately, it seems like she went off the deep end. She became obsessed with her numbers, she would take eight new transactions before she would start completing them. She would leave her phone on all the time and never turn it off when she had too much to do. Then, she'd only take calls that would increase her numbers and pawn off all the informational calls on the rest of us.

The bad thing was, her production went up and her accuracy shot way down. She started making costly errors and the rest of us would either get caught with our pants down or start lying through our teeth to cover her sloppy work.

I was really starting to dread working with her. Before this change in her work habits, she was a really level headed agent. I went to her when I had questions and respected what she had to say. But after this Jekyl and Hyde transformation I just didn't like her anymore.

I mentioned this to one of the other agents who's tight with Wilma, and she explained what happened. The GM and Larry had called Wilma on the carpet and told her that her numbers needed to improve.

She's not too far from retirement, so it all made sense. It also made me mad. She's given many years to this place, they've always been able to count on her. She knows more about this business than any man here, and this is how they repay her, by hounding her in her last few years here.

Look, I know business is about numbers and profit. I also know that she could be a slacker at times. But this short sighted obsession with numbers is killing any chance we have of ever making this company profitable. There are times our mistakes have cost us all the money we made with those big numbers, but besides that, we're pissing customers off when we think its better to piss all of them off with crappy service than to satisfy as many as possible with quality service.

Thanks for reading,

AC

 
Comments:
Hey Cog,

Been reading your blog. I am a Joe like you, on a leash to a phone.

They have created a monster - it isn't fair - but the situation can be equitable. Balance it out - talk to her and make sure she doesn't bury herself at her expense to their benefit.

Profits are like a virus - they need something to live off of to grow.

Keep writing.
 
I really enjoyed this guys outlook. Since being a corporate whore I found my life out of balance. I started spending more time with my family and have evened WAY out.

Gotta keep sane.

Rage On,

Sinned Often
 
It sounds like management just approached her with "OK, this is wnat you need to do:", rather than "We really like what you've been doing for us and the fact that we can rely on your expertise and knowledge, but we've noticed that your numbers are below average. Why do you think that is and what can we do to help you post beter numbers?"

That's what I would have done.
 
Hey..
I do tech support, and I know all about the numbers. I am an agent now so I can go back to school but I used to be a team supervisor. The client (because of course no tech company does their own tech support), the business manager and the SDM only look at the stats. They saddled us managers with so many agents (because an MBA at corporate determined the ratio) and so many other responsibilities that had nothing to do with coaching the agents suffered. The most I had directly under me was 45 agents, on varying shifts, some I saw for maybe 10 hours out of the week. One day I sat there in my little grey box, a pile of stats to deliver, a hundred voices within a 50 ft raddius and said screw it. Walked into the college and signed up for environmental.
 
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.
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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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