Jim Ryan (otherdoc) wrote,
Jim Ryan

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Selling Out

Well, things sort of came to a head for me at work this week.

(And, BTW, for any who were wondering about the eviction issue, we're kind of in a holding pattern at the moment, but my roommate says he thinks we've pretty much dodged the bullet on that one -- I'll know more after he's had a chance to talk to the people in the front office again, so no new news on that front yet).

So, my supervisor sat me down and hinted strongly that she would not be able to "protect me any longer" if the amount of money I was making for the company didn't increase to the level at which I'd be making a bonus. Now, in my opinion this would be somewhat reasonable in a wide number of companies -- if, for example, we were in a sales or advertising department of some kind. Or telemarketing, for that matter (anathema though the idea of telemarketing is to me at this point, having done it once for the better part of a year). The problem, however, is that my job is supposed to be in customer service. The overall idea of contracting out someone to do customer service work for you would, I think, be to have them DEAL WITH PROBLEMS that the customers are having. Our company, however, somehow manages to convince its clients to pay us by the number of calls we receive -- and that's it. No payment from the clients for performing WELL or anything like that, just for sheer volume. It's quantity over quality. Sure, each department does have ONE quality control rep (and I can tell you from having talked to a few different people we have in that job that with that setup there's no way they can really monitor us all effectively), but I've a feeling that's just to help sell the clients on the idea that we care about call quality. At this point, though, how good a job we do at handling customers' issues doesn't really seem to factor at all into how much we are paid.

So, this means that my company was having issues with the fact that I didn't answer enough calls to make them a significant amount of money. Again, not something I'd give a second thought if it were telemarketing or something sales or collections based (which is probably closer to home than you'd think since I believe there are departments in the company that are contracted out as collection agencies), but it's CUSTOMER SERVICE. Most of the other reps in my department are very focused on trying to earn their bonuses so as a result they try to rush their customers off the phone as quickly as possible without really doing much to help them -- and as a result, those customers call back angrily trying to get their original issue resolved AND the new issue of receiving poor customer service. This is a problem for our clients, I'm sure. It is not a problem for OUR company, though, since that generates more calls and means that we get paid more. Of course, our clients are probably saving money using us anyway, since we don't get paid all that much in the first place for what we're OFFICIALLY supposed to be doing, so I doubt we'll be seeing an end to this system any time soon.

In the mean time, in order to keep my job I realized that I would HAVE to compromise my professional integrity in some fashion. So I finally have. I lasted three and a half years there without doing it, but at long last it looks like I was finally about to hit that brick wall at the end of the tracks. So I swerved to avoid it (not sure how to do that when running on tracks, but let's creep quietly away from this metaphor before it consumes us, shall we?). ;)

So, I've basically stopped writing much in the way of notes on people's accounts after the calls (the notes that are supposed to be there to tell other reps what happened during the call) and am now writing the bare minimum. For those of you familiar at all with my writing (or even who have read this far into this entry), I'm sure you realize that this seriously bothers me.

But it works.

This past week I shot from around last place in the number of calls being taken to somewhere in the top ten. And, I'm pretty sure after having had to deal with the lack of notes from other reps before that what I'm doing now is pretty much what everyone else in my department does. So I now probably have a bit more job security (aside from issues of having been out sick a lot lately, but that's a different story) at the price of only the tiniest sliver of my humanity.



Ah, well. Rant over. Have to go to bed and get up early for work tomorrow like a good drone. Resistance is futile, after all. :)
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