You have 6 minutes and 48 seconds to make your customer happy. Time starts now.
Can you imagine that? If you have ever worked in a call center, you know this is exactly how it works. I once did work in a call center, and to be honest, I didn’t last very long. I didn’t even last my trial period. After 6 weeks (including 2 weeks in the training room) I was stressed, short of temper and frustrated. As a result, I did feel quite embarrassed and useless.
If you don’t know this already, Call centers work with statistics. For example, 1st call success rate, time of completion, and how much time you spent between calls. My first call success rate was over 90%, that means that 90% of my customers didn’t call back within three days of finishing the call. The average was between 60-70%. To me that sounds pretty good.
But my call completion time was under 11 minutes, far north of the allowed 6 minutes and 48 seconds. My supervisor told me: “You have to reduce the time you spent on each call, they can always call you back”
I remember customers calling in angrily and upset before we even said hello to each other. Many of them had called in the previous day and the previous day. I used to calm them down and help them, resolving their issues.
For example, on one call, I spoke to a lady. She told me she was in her 70’s. She had to reset her password. This was her second time calling, in as many days. The guideline was to tell them “Click the menu” and “Click where it says, change your account details.” And then, to (politely) end the call. In case it didn’t work, we had to tell them with a smile, the famous words “They can always call us back.”
I was named and shamed for my length of calls.
But I gained some wisdom that I have never forgotten:
Avoid the job trap by choosing your job wisely.
You might like strict discipline in your job. And that is fine. You might thrive in an environment that dictates what you can do and how long you can do it for. Including when and how long, you can go to the bathroom. Others need more freedom and flexibility. There is nothing wrong with either of those.
But, from experience I can tell you, it is truly frustrating if you work in an environment which is not suited to your way of working. It causes stress and it can make you sick.
Truly caring for customers is undervalued.
Secondly I learned that often, caring for customers is undervalued. You get judged on measurable statistics such as how much money you can save and how quickly you can complete your work, after all, statistics often don’t measure how much you care and how you look after your customers.
So here are four tips to help you get out of this job trap:
1. Be clear on your own purpose and values.
2. Understand in what environment you thrive.
3. Become aware what is holding you locked in your job trap.
4. Have the courage to make changes.
Ultimately, it is important for you not to settle in a job that makes you unhappy and where you don’t align with the organisation’s purpose and values. Not only will your health and relationships suffer, but just like everybody else, you deserve to have a job that lets you achieve your full potential in all areas of your life.