Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
  Desperation around me...

"AC, You exceeded your goals for the last six week period. There has been a thirty-six percent increase in calls answered and total transactions completed. We are very satisfied with your work to date here at Anonymous Investments."
My new supervisor reached out his hand and took my hand firmly and shook it. I was kind of shocked. This had never happened before.

"Thanks...I'm..I'm glad you're pleased."
"We'll talk more in a month or so. Keep up the good work!"

I walked out of the conference room a little dazed. Sure, I still had not seen any kind of real raise, but I had real praise, and that meant something. My euphoria was short lived as I got a fresh cup of coffee and headed for the cubicle farm again.

Like prairie dogs when there are no coyotes or rednecks with varmint rifles, the employees had popped up their heads and were kibitzing back and forth while it was slow.

"I got a written warning for my performance again."
"Its never enough for these people. I could do cartwheels and they would say they weren't high enough!"
"None of my extra work counts, none of the things that can't be measured mean anything to them!"
"I hate this place!"

I really felt bad for them. I had spent years feeling that way, and now I was the one that was actually doing well. I just made my own little victory kind of hollow. I know we can't all be winners. A call center is not like the Special Olympics. We don't get praise for trying our best.

That said, call centers, even good call centers, have this ability to make you feel alienated from your work. If you do what makes you feel human, you don't make them happy. If you do what they want, you can't always feel human.

Sometimes, its just a huge crap shoot. You never know what kind of callers you're going to get, its like playing cards. Some day you get customers who like you, who are easy to deal with, and other days you get these freaks that crawl out from under a rock and have nothing but the stupidest, most esoteric questions that are never answered to their satisfaction and never help your numbers.

Thanks for reading,

AC

Anonymous Cog

 
Comments:
In my call centre, it doesn't matter how good your stats are, they will still find something to criticise.

I have come to the conclusion that this is policy and that they are scared that if they tell you you are doing OK, you will stop making any effort.
 
Wow...great job, AC! You MUST be doing well to please these guys! :)
 
You mean there are good call centers?

Did you fall and hit your head? ;-)

I worked in 3 over a 13 year period. They all sucked.

I'm glad I found your blog though.

Amazing what you find when you Google "Call Centers Suck". ;-)
 
Thanks for stopping by, Scott.
AC
 
I am a supervisor in a call center. I didn't just happen into this job i worked on the phone for 4 years prior. I know it absolutely sucks. I try like hell all the time to try and point out my peoples good points. I don't really need to point out where they aren't making their goals because I know their not stupid.
 
I am a supervisor in a call center. I didn't just happen into this job i worked on the phone for 4 years prior. I know it absolutely sucks. I try like hell all the time to try and point out my peoples good points. I don't really need to point out where they aren't making their goals because I know their not stupid.
 
You're right...and you're wrong.

Maybe you have a better group of people than I do. Maybe your company does a much better job of training than mine does. Maybe you actually take the time to work with your people, instead of letting the "tyranny of the urgent" drag you hither and yon.

But, sometimes, the pool of smart, intelligent people has been drained and there is not much to choose from. I have seen people that have been trained, tested, and repromanded, still have that deer in the headlights look when they get canned.

I'd be the first to say it can't be all management's fault. In my center though, management seems to take the Lion's share.

AC
 
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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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