Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Is it okay if I put you on hold?

Unfortunately, I didn't get the job. That company's software uses SQL so they went with a candidate who had lots of SQL experience. It wouldn't be hard to learn, but at the moment I know nothing about SQL. Apparently I was their second pick. The VP told me if his request to hire another person gets approved he'll call me back. Meanwhile the search for a job with reasonable pay goes on.

I am adapting to the frenetic pace of my present job. I learned that due to layoffs and reorganization, a dwindling call center of thirty people is supporting the same volume of customers that over a hundred agents used to handle. No wonder I found it overwhelming at first; I'm doing the work of three people. Supposedly they are going to continue growing the staff, but the number of projects we support is growing much faster. Currently we support about 90,000 customers using hundreds of different applications.

The managers don't give a rat's ass how overtaxed everyone is. They're strictly focused on how closely we're meeting the service level agreement with the client, which means they only care that you answer as many calls as possible as quickly as possible. Statistics scroll by on overhead tickers in case you forgot about the pressure. The quality of service you provide to the customer is not even secondary, more like an afterthought. They monitor your calls, but your evaluation is based on your adherence to the agreed-upon script- i.e. did you thank the caller for holding? Whether the customer got the answer he was looking for or was treated respectfully barely factors in. Consequently, you hear a lot of people being incredibly sarcastic and rude with callers, other agents are always trying to dump calls off on you, and the resources often take forever to give you an answer your customer needs. It's your stats, not his, taking a dive while you and the caller are waiting for him to finish his videogame. And yes, I'm totally serious. As crazy busy as we are on the phones, the resources actually sit in plain view of us playing videogames.