Friday, October 26, 2007

A Tough Call (Part 1)

Back in my TM days, I ran a tight ship. “Control freak” would probably be a popular nickname for me, nonetheless that strictness was elemental in keeping our team afloat. I considered training newbies as one of the most difficult tasks ever. The tenured CSRs who have endured at least a year in the team know the drill- and my policies.

I remember this particular guy who I received one fateful day from training. We will call him “Maverick”. Looking at his statistics from training, it was quite evident that he struggled, as his OJT was extended. I’m guessing they kept him for good behavior.

I started by orienting him.

“I’m Thad, and I have been the TM for Team 39 for two years now,” I began. “The first thing you need to learn is simply be familiar with how things go on the floor when taking live calls. You will be listening and doing searches side by side with tenured CSRs. I’ll make sure to spend time with you at least 30 minutes per shift, so I could train you.”

He listened to me attentively and nodded.

“Any questions?” He shook his head. So far so good.

I went back to my station. About an hour into the shift, I decided to listen to his calls, and perhaps record some of them for him to listen to them later while I critique them.

Toot toot!

Recording: “City and State, please?”

Caller: “Newark, New Jersey.”

Maverick: “I’m sorry Ma’am?” (He said, with a very thick accent)

I had a feeling this was not going to be a good call. First off, his accent made everything he said difficult to understand (even for me), second he was still inept with searching.

Caller: “What?”

Maverick: “What city and state?”

Caller: “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.”

Unconsciously, I was tugging at my hair and biting my lip. I crossed and uncrossed my legs.

Maverick: “What city. C-i-t-y?”

Caller: (Silence)

Maverick: “Hello?”

Caller: “I just want Roscoes in Newark, New Jersey.”

Maverick: (Long pause) “I’m sorry Ma’am is this in the United States?”
By this time my chest had started to tighten. It was excruciating. Maverick thought the caller wanted “Moscow!” I crossed my legs so hard, I swear one of my nuts got squished.

Caller: “Yes! I said Roscoes! You (expletive)!!”

Maverick: “Let me transfer you for further assistance.”

I stood up, caught Maverick’s eye and signaled for him to transfer to a station near me.

Maverick: “Boss, I can’t understand the caller.”

Thad: “Just transfer.”

Thad: “This is Chris (my “stagename” lol!) the supervisor, and I understand you were looking for Roscoes in Newark, NJ?”

Caller: (Exasperated) “Yes! What’s wrong with the other person?”

Thad: “I apologize for the inconvenience, Ma’am. I do have that listing on Spruce St.”

Caller: “Thank you.”

Thad: “Have a great day.”

I coached him after the call, and devoted the rest of my shift looking after him, never mind my other responsibilities.

When I got the Quality scores for the week, I had a sinking feeling in my gut. His score? 40%. A record low for any one CSR in the entire history of the center. My first instinct was to term him right then and there, but I had other plans…

To be continued.


ruff nurse-du-jour said...

Hi thadie! Thank you so much for your extremely insightful comments. I hope you wont mind me asking, are you a medical professional too? =) I'm just curious. Hehehe.

I used to work in a call center before. And I lasted for 3 er, short, albeit meaningful months. I went back to the hospital after that, and though its not quite as lucrative a job as that of the call center post, i guess my decision would suffice.

When i was a novice, I used to have a preconceived notion that I'm not cutout for a job in a call center primarily because I'm afraid that I won't develop an American accent. After the lectures, and the calls, and the trainings, the next thing i knew is that i'm speaking good english na rin. Siguro Maverick just need a little more training. More exposure I guess. And some pushing.

I just hope you wont give up on him too easily. =) Go go go thadie! And go go go Maverick too. Hehehe

Phoenix said...

@ ruff nurse-du-jour: Hi Ruff! It's a bit complicated = ) The whole call center thing- past tense na lahat yun because I resigned Feb of 2006.. Since then umuwi ako province tapos nga-aaral ngayon ng Nursing, hoping to be a nurse like you = )

Di naman kailangan ng American accent, bastat maintindihan ka lang ng mga tumatawag = ) Don't worry, I didn't give up on him.. basta I'll write it sa part 2 na.


beejing said...

When I joined the call center industry a few years back, I was doubting if i'd be able to survive, not to mention the Communications Training (lol). But then again I survived.... Now, that i'm handling people, it's really hard...but I don't just give up on them.

Phoenix said...

@ beejing: Tell me about it! As for Maverick's case.. stick around to see how the story ends = )

beejing said...

Will tell you more when I get back from my vacation. lol.


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