Ep 7. Being a Call Center Agent Sucks and how we can fix it

I asked an executive if his son would be considering a job in his own call center from the look on his face, you would think I was suggesting his son take a job with ISIS!

 

He was completely disgusted with the question. I don’t completely blame him, the job sucked when I first did it in the 90s and it hasn’t changed for the better since. It doesn’t have to be this way though.

If it was just because of the low pay and screaming customers it will be one thing, but the bigger issue is the environment we have created for people in these jobs.

For starters, many organizations treat the roles like prostitution with patronizing policies and utter disregard.

You can read my post on that here and feel free to call or text me at 4059288185 if you want to chat some more on that. Today I want to talk about how to improve the day to day experience.

We can not continue talking about the customer experience without devoting the same energy to the Customer-Facing employee experience. 

Executive after executive visits their respective call centers, sit with an agent and walks away with awe, and patronizing remarks like “I can’t do that job, those people are heroes!”

The job doesn’t have to be heroic, it only appears that way because most people in call centers do their job on 25 year old technology, that seemingly moves at the pace of a pregnant whale.

They have to go from screen to screen hunting and pecking around for information, all the while getting yelled at by demanding customers. They buy time by saying “give me a moment, while I look that up.”

I am excited to tell you that there’s a way forward and I plan to lay out what the agent experience should look like over 3 separate podcasts bringing on experts in the field.

On today’s podcast I invited Chris Lawson to talk about what is already happening today with the call center agent desktop technology.

If you are an executive with responsibility for the contact center, heaping encomiums on the call center staff alone is not particularly helpful, so save them and make changes instead.

You can start by listening to today’s show where we talk about 10 year old technology that can be game changing for those heroes.

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