I was shocked and appalled learning how horribly customer service people are treated by their employers. I also learned a large percentage of people working in a call center are educated with degrees, elderly who still need to work, middle-aged people who were victims of downsizing, and younger people with no hope in life. They work in these call centers because of large unemployment throughout the country. The reality is people still need to eat, and many are working way below their qualifications and pay grade. It is humiliating to begin with for most, and then having us the customer digging the knife further disrespecting them. This is the introduction, now I will explain the inside scoop.
Call centers in a manner of speaking are designed similar too prisons. It begins with every customer service person having a security badge to get in or out. The setup inside is rows of modules with telephones, headsets, and computers. Modules are like prison cells with the headsets limiting freedom of movement. There is a control tower similar too guards looking down in a penal facility yard. This person’s job is to monitor all the customer service people on the floor. They’re watching to see if employees are on time from breaks, not leaving the floor to often, taking too much time between calls, conducting themselves properly, and not disturbing anyone else. The second tier is called quality who listen to calls, score them in using company verbiage, processes, call times, and verifying customers identities. All call centers have expectations that their customer service people must obtain. The guards who walk around the call center floors are known as Team leaders or supervisors. Their role in a call center is to be the enforcers using stats provided by the control tower and quality people. Enforcers use the term coaching not mentoring. Emphasis is more on what percentage and metrics are out of keel. If a customer service person continues to be out of adherence, they’re written-up or fired.
The average call center service person takes anywhere from 200-300 calls per day. In busy times which is most days they only have ten seconds between calls. It’s like a modern-day sweat shop. Their work schedules are all over the place days, nights, and weekends no family life. I have seen call center people scheduled 9.5 hours a day up sometimes. Our wonderful labor laws provide call center workers with two fifteen minute breaks, as well as one thirty-minute meal in a whole working day. If they need to go to the bathroom not on break or meal time then it affects their phone time percentages. They’re paid minimum wage or bit more, and if they need to use the washroom the clock stops not paid. I heard that a call center person called in sick, was told they needed to bring in a doctor note. Those who are aware of the laws know a doctor’s note is only after 2-3 days.
The benefits I was told about made no sense to me, because it didn’t provide additional income. If someone in the call center gets a customer calling back say they’re great, then they receive a kudos. After three months working they are entitled to medical benefits. Most told me they can’t afford them, nor the percentages afterwards they pay out of their pocket. At times, the call center will provide a meal, but must be eaten during the break or meal time. Many times, the call center people are asked to help with the cost paying $5. If a person works at night the food is usually gone.
I stand by my statement a customer service position is a horrible job. If we have a problem with a company’s customer service methods, maybe we should go directly to the executives instead of taking it out on a customer service person. After all these big wheels decide how us their loyal customers are treated when problems arise.