Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Friday, July 15, 2005
  My Numbers

"Some days your numbers will be down..."

Its a fact of life here in call center purgatory. Some days you will be a poop magnet and not have any calls that go well. But other days your numbers will be good and you will produce more.

That maxim is mostly true. But for me, it isn't as true as I would like it to be. I know my numbers are not as good as other people, and it worries me sometimes. But I have only been directly spoke to about it one time, and then I responded to check out the rest of my numbers and how I am more accurate than other people. That was over a year ago. I have not heard anything since then. There have been some other indicators and comments-but only the one real direct talk. I have never been given an official warning of any kind. It has been several months since my hire anniversary after five years here. I still have had only two reviews in that time.I come to work every day, and am on time at least 95% of the time. I stay over if I think they need help and I can. I really keep my nose clean and my head down most of the time.

I've figured out why my numbers are low, its both a good and a bad reason. The good reason is I won't take more calls on than I can handle in a timely manner. If you take a trade, but you are late in processing it, then people lose money and they get pissed. But we don't get money unless we take as many transactions as possible. I take the time to complete every trade within a certain window of time, if I see its getting old I don't take more new calls.

What is bad is that if I see calls are backing up, but I have to get something documented, I've found "methods" that make me look busier than I am so they don't notice I'm not taking new calls while I get everything documented and straight on my own work.

It's pure passive-aggressive behavior, I realize that. I don't want to argue with them about my phone being off while I make every trade perfectly documented. But other people don't do that. They just do things half ass and do more calls. Meanwhile, call volume has increased while memos and policies increase.
"Must notify every customer of significant changes in value..."
"Emails and faxes must not be failed to be sent..."
"Authorizing parties must be documented..."
on and on and on it goes....

You have to see my dilemma here. If I do big numbers half-ass they can yell at me for not following policies. If I do big numbers half-ass, I make my customers angry, and have to lie to them when they ask if I will let them know if something goes wrong. But if I don't increase my numbers, I'm not being profitable to the people that pay me. But if I do what's profitable, I could make a mistake in my speed and lose the company money through an error. I can't win.

The system here is broken. They want high numbers and accuracy, but won't provide real leadership or standards to get either. Since I don't receive any real personal instruction and leadership about my work, I'm really forced to listen to my conscience. I want to treat people the way I would want to be treated. I can't live with myself not caring about the job I do, and just cranking out shoddy service. When I look in the mirror, no matter what the numbers say, I know that I was accurate, and I was courteous, and I finished my customer's service in a reasonable time. That is worth more than bragging about high numbers on a computer screen any day. If they don't like that, they can work up the courage to write me up or issue a verbal warning, or fire me. Either way, I have a plan to leave here, just have to bide my time until it all comes together...

Thanks for reading,

It's good to be back in the saddle again.


I work in a call center too. It's a numbers game for sure and I don't play. Just do what I can and do it with as much accuracy as I am capable of at the time. Day by day.
Sounds like you're doing ok to me AC. Listening to your conscience and treating people the way you want to be treated.
Welcome back, AC. You were missed!

In my experience (5 call centers in almost 20 years), most call centers come to this point eventually; when the push for quantity is greater than the desire for quality. What I've seen happen is can reach a breaking point where the level and severity of the complaints (or violations) is hard for the home office to ignore. The director may be fired, and they'll bring in someone from the outside who will "restructure" or "realign" the place. It'll be better for awhile, but the cycle will begin again. I have personally seen this pattern at three separate organizations, and have heard of it happening at several others.

Staying under the radar for so long is a real accomplishment. If this happens at your call center, and you can find the strength to ride out the storm, you might find it easier to work there. Or you could go play the game somewhere else. Stay aware, and you'll know the right thing to do.
We have the same problem at the Undisclosed Customer Service Center™, I ignore the bullshit metrix and do just what the job discription is. Customer Service. Management can bite me.
Thanks for the comments everybody. Its great to be missed. If any of you have not done it yet, click on the link to Miss Manager's website. Its great stuff.

Why thank you, blog wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for you and that article in Call Center Magazine. Someday I'll figure out how to create links to other blogs, and yours will be first on the list!
I feel the same way about being accurate and helpful, but it does raise my numbers. If you can believe it, I am being told at work to "stop caring about the customers so much and just get them off the phone".

???? I thought that my job was to help them?
I've been there before-"stop wasting time and trying to help customers!"

How can we have any loyalty from our customers if we treat them like shit?

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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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