Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Quality customer service is our promise to you.

Good news, everybody! I'm only half as miserable at work as I was a week ago. I've mastered the common complaints and ticketing system. I've learned most of the important procedures and protocols. I've realized whether there are two callers waiting on hold or forty, my job doesn't change and it's for someone else to worry about. I got a desk fan so I can stay conscious in the sometimes sweltering heat of the office.

Most importantly, I learned how to work the system to give myself a break. You're allowed two minutes of wrap-up time between calls to document what you did. That time is monitored and a statistics spreadsheet is sent to you weekly, offending numbers highlighted in glaring yellow. But if you can document everything while the customer is still on the line, that's two minutes to get a coffee, check your email, read Boing Boing, whatever. I can't even explain how huge that is. Figuring it out made the job bearable for me.

Making the most of my wrap time sometimes means keeping a customer waiting a few more seconds for an answer. At first I struggled with this because, as fruity as it sounds, I really do care about the quality of service I provide. But management has created the perfect storm of bad service by with low pay, critical understaffing, and utter disregard for employee satisfaction. After a few weeks of the worst working conditions I've ever encountered at a call center, I can't be bothered to care anymore if some fuckwit on an assembly line making three times my pay or some suit at world headquarters making ten times my pay has to wait on the phone for thirty more seconds. In fact, if he's rude to me I relish making him wait.

On my other call center jobs, the call management system was a PC application. You could view your stats right on your monitor in real time, see how long you'd been on a call, how long since you hung up, etc. Our office has desk phones (with actual buttons we must push- how quaint is that?) so you never see those numbers except as weekly averages. I finally installed a stopwatch application on my PC (strictly forbidden, but whatever) so I could time my wrap-up, and that was the day the job stopped sucking quite so hard.

Our company is pretty quaint when it comes to communicating pretty much anything to the analysts too- we're on a no-need-to-know basis. I found out by accident today, when I went to check my company profile online, that the twenty-year-old Urkel lookalike they trotted by the cubicles for a cursory introduction last week is my new boss.