Kansas City Bastards

On the Front Lines: The Call Center 3 – Call Monitoring and Evasive Expections

by on Oct.08, 2010, under Blogs, On the Front Lines

Now that I have exited this job, this doesn’t apply as much, but I will keep it as it was (I’m not changing the tense just because I don’t work there anymore) while I was still worried it’d get me shit-canned.

If you have ever called a customer service line of any type in recent times, you have inevitably heard the statement: “Calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.”

And indeed, calls are monitored and recorded. Fair enough, right? There has to be some kind of way to ensure consistent quality of service across a number of people.

The primary issue is that call monitoring doesn’t necessarily do that.

As previously explained, I have two bosses. One concerned with quality, and the other concerned with quantity. It’s difficult to strike a balance between those two, but unfortunately if balance is a teeter-totter, in this case it’s a teeter-totter where the platform is bent upwards at a ninety-degree angle and suspended over a vat of boiling oil.

Obviously, the client being unhappy with a particular customer service representative can be costly to their tenure within the company. My balance has, therefore, traditionally been to have good quality at the expense of time.

This is why any failed calls come as a surprise. One or two here and there are fine – I can chalk that up to being tired and forgetting to do one of the extremely small, mostly useless things that immediately fail a call. It doesn’t mean I didn’t help someone, it just means that the call is fucked on a technicality. I can accept that, since I typically have a good track record.

So imagine then my surprise to learn that apparently every call of mine monitored a couple months back was failed. Reasons given? The same technicality bullshit that I can accept time to time. Still, when the only representation of my work is a series of calls that supposedly shit the bed, it comes as a surprise, especially when some of the reasons mentioned are so incredibly bone-headed that they don’t even sound like something I would do.  At all.

Since the calls are several months old (so there’s no way in balls I’m going to remember the exact context of the call), I figure they were monitored from recordings. Perhaps, then, I can find out who monitored the calls in question and perhaps figure out the context of the mistake – if not to call bullshit at the fact that I was doing something exactly as trained, then at least to learn what in the bloody hell I was thinking at the time and why it was wrong.  I have no problem admitting if I am wrong, so long as I can learn from it.

Can I find out who monitored the call?  No.

Am I provided a copy of the monitoring sheet that’s filled out anytime a call is monitored whether good or bad?  No.  Damn it.

Can I at least listen to the god damned recording so I can pick myself apart?  No.  Damn it again.

Can I at least get a set of criteria with which to compare my efforts, therefore hopefully figuring out the issues or at least having something to point to if I am monitored unfairly in any way?  Nope.

…wait, what?  I can’t get a copy of the criteria that dictate whether I pass or fail a call?  What the fuck?

So I ask why, as representatives, we are not all given a set of criteria for a particular technicality.

Reason given?  The criteria consistently change, and rapidly enough to where actually documenting the criteria would be illogical since it would have to be updated constantly.

“Ok,” I ask, “so if the rules have changed, were any of us at least notified of the change?  Was there an e-mail sent?”  Seems reasonable that even given the fact that there is not, nor ever will be a written record of all of the technical rules, at least if there were changes from our training, we might be able to adapt based on empirical observation.

Of course, no notification was ever sent.  God damn it.

So basically, the quality component of my job performance is dictated by the same set of rules from that damn chain e-mail about women.

Observe, as I alter the first five:

  1. The company always makes the rules
  2. The rules are subject to change at any time without prior notification.
  3. No employee can possibly know all the rules.
  4. If the company suspects the employee know all the rules, they must immediately change some or all of the rules.
  5. The company is never wrong.

So that is why I’m glad I no longer work at that soul-sucking hellhole.  By the way, kiddies, if you ever need help getting free money from the government to go to college (or help filling out a form like the FAFSA in general), per chance college isn’t right for you.  Instead, if you need help filling out a standard government form loosely based on another standard government form, perhaps grade school is more in your skill set.

In any case, as soon as I walked out of that building for that last time, the air smelled cleaner, the birds were chirping, the sun was warmer, and I felt like my soul had returned to my body.  Fuck you, Federal Student Aid Information Center (more specifically Vangent, Inc.).  Fuck you very much.


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