Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
  "The Warning."

I've often talked about how there is not a great deal of discipline in our call center. Reviews, enforcement of policies and memos, and real discipline is not enforced very strongly, if at all. I know there is not just one answer for this, and that I can't lay the blame for everything on the General Manager and my direct supervisor Larry. But they are responsible for a lot of it. I know they don't want to rock the boat, they have no carrot to give, so they can only use the stick so much.

Two weeks ago something happened that sort of forced their hand. Here's how it happened...

One of my coworkers named Sonya is an incredible worker. She excels at everything and I like working with her. That said, she has a problem with losing her cool from time to time. Sometimes a customer or another worker will push her too far and she just loses it.

This particular day Sonya realized that one of our customers had exceeded their escrow account and was not current in their account. She realized this after the customer had just called with a large trade. She called them back to explain why we could not help them until they were current. When she called back she could not get the manager that called it in, she got his new assistant.

This guy is a piece of work. He's ignorant,haughty and does not listen to what other people have to say. I've dealt with him before also. He's fresh out of some almost-ivy-league school, and has decided he is more than an assistant, he is an extension of the authority of his boss. The best way to describe him is a recently promoted crew chief at a fast food restaurant who takes everything way too seriously.

When Sonya explained this trade was not possible at this time. He said,"Well, you'll just have to increase our escrow account!" (which is impossible, unless his company sends the money into us). Sonya kept trying to explain why they had to send us money and this moron just kept saying,"I don't see why you just can't handle this and we will send you money in the next billing cycle." Finally Sonya just blew up and explained to him that his company was a bunch of deadbeats, and if they did not get current, we would take their escrow account to cover their bills. Then she slammed the phone down and stomped out of the room.

We have a new supervisor named Gladys that was taking over for Larry during the during this incident. She came from another division of our company in another city, because of our staffing problems, I think she's going to be sort of a swing-shift supervisor. Well, after Sonya left for the day, the actual customer that placed the order called back after his weasel of an assistant told him what Sonya said. The customer is very angry that treated his assistant so poorly and acted so unprofessionally. Gladys wrote up an verbal warning and gave a copy to H.R., the GM, and Larry.

The way Sonya described it, the warning wasn't a big deal. She was given a copy, but she said it seemed like Larry and the GM were just going through the motions, and that it Gladys that was really the driving force behind it all.

As much as I hate to see Sonya wrote up, I'm kind of glad it happened. Sonya went over the top, and it wasn't professional. Maybe this is the start of more discipline. What concerns me is will it be even-handed. Will we be allowed to slack off for a while and then be overwhelmed with harsh discipline? Employees like to know that right is right and wrong is wrong. They want consistency and they want to know where they stand.

Thanks for reading,


Sounds like a new sup trying to make her bones. Once, as a CSR, I had a supervisor for only 2 days as I shuffled between teams. She put me on a warning for attendance -- yep, all two days I had missed that year! Apparently, she slapped anyone with more than 1 absence with a warning.
It's hard being a new supervisor and having to try to figure out how things are done.

Sounds really more like your GM and Larry are taking the easy road, trying not to piss anybody off infear of them leaving the company.

Gladys did the right thing. A verbal is really just a slap on the wrist and no big deal. Your GM and Larry should follow Gladys example and clean up the ship before it starts sinking!

The thing is: You can discipline people and give them verbal/written warnings without pissing them off, by simply making sure they understand what they did wrong. I only piss employees off with my warnings if I really just want them to leave!
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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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