Why call centers give me a headache.

18 06 2009

The amazing thing about working for a chain of call centers you start to see a pattern. I generally like talking to people, but I nowadays would prefer a face-to-face encounter. Or “gimme your broken tech and I fix it and you go ‘oh you’re so amazing!’ and leave me alone” kind of thing.

They all seem to have a pattern to them. Those run by a major company don’t know diddly squat about how to appease the people who are in the lower eschalon of the pyramid (Which incidentally has the most people…) which are mostly us in the bottom. They fill us in with empty corporate things like “Be a Fred!” or “We can be Team 2012!”

This last one is a classification of the ignorance of most of the people working in the upper eshalons. They don’t realize that callcenters chew people up and spit them out again, normally anywhere from the day they sign the application to six months down the road. No one at my call center will last more than six months much less see 2012 in their company.

Those companies that deal directly with call centers, who create centers where a person can work already know that the turnover rate is exceptionally high. They see these people coming in and out every day. These callcenters instead focus on the person, on the turnover rate, in ways to keep the employees there. In the company based call center, you don’t see employee based reward systems. These call based call centers are reward centered.

A system not really seen in other companies except rarely in the 90 day grace-period, is the idea of ‘points’. If you know someone who has been working in a call center, you know that the person is continually worried about ‘points’. Points are the fear-based system of bad deeds that call centers employ with the most gratuity and is the reason why they go through so many employees. 

The call center I currently work in employs the point system that if a rep were to accure a point in this system, if you do not aquire another point within a 90 day period you will have the oldest point fall off. However, if you were to get one on say, day 89, you have to start from scratch with another 90 day period. If the year passes and the point is still there, it will fall off on the year anneversary. The only reward system is to gain either extra hours or overtime to knock off points.

A different call center I have worked at employed this technique instead: any points accured will fall off within 90 days of getting it. Six months if it’s 2 points. (call offs were one point, no call-no show is 2  points and a tardy is .50.). plus they had a reward system in place that would both take off points and could be used for other things.

To me, it’s easy to see which one is the company based call center and which is the call based call center.

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