The time my callcenter asled for volunteers for Christmas Day

This is not a customer story, this is a cautionary tale about different cultures, bad management and, as implied in the title: Christmas.

When I was hired, the work contract explicitely stated that it might be required to work on Christmas Day, but we were told that it was just there in case this was ever needed and that Christmas Day was the one day the callcenter always had been closed. And that actually turned out the case for the next 4 years. Christmas Day was closed but Christmas Eve or Stephen’s Day was a regular day/normal holiday with normal holiday availibility requirements.

Then, management had a brilliant idea: Let’s open the callcenter on Christmas Day. So, they decided to use the same plan they had been using for Christmas in the USA in Europe: Ask for volunteers for the 25th and offer double time (instead of time and a half), tell people that if they volunteer, they will likely be selected. What could possibly go wrong? Weeeelll, let me enumerate:

  • The American callcenters hire local people who could see their families if they had a day off, the European one hired expats in the RoI who, due to the ban on taking vacation days could not see their families anyways

  • Christianity is a Big Thing in the USA, but not only is it a lesser affair in Europe, but also ĝere quite a few of the employees Muslims

  • The big family festivities in our language team are on the 24th anyways – a day where we already had to work.

  • Ireland is an expensive place to live and visiting the family at home requires money.

So, it came as it had to: the managers were swamped with volunteers. Then, there was a huge blowup when only a small amount of the people who volunteered to work on Christmas Day were scheduled. Several team meetings were used to attempt to keep the mood from boiling over… then, the day happened. The people who did make it onto the roster arrived for work, set themselves to Available… and remained that way for more than one hour. Apparently, the fact that the callcenter was open had never been communicated to the customers, who did not expect to the callcenter was open during a federally-recognized holiday. So we got Double Time to do in the callcenter what we would’ve done at home: mostly surf the web.

submitted by /u/TenNinetythree
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Kids on the roof

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