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What gets into their head?

We have a new project at work and I’m one of the trainers responsible to ensure all metrics are within the margins.

Now, I get it. We hate metrics. Many of them at least seem arbitrary, some are arbitrary and many are outright unreasonable.

But this project is a call center agents dream: you only get rated by stuff you can fully control!

It’s a project where people can call to get pre sales information from the manufacturer of dome very high end technical gimmicks.

There are no call handling times, every minute spend with the customers is fully paid. No one gives a damn how long it takes. The only thing rated is the quality of the call.

People usually don’t need to give any personal information to have their questions answered, they just ask questions like: is x compatible with y? What colours are available? Can I use this to do that? Where can I buy it? Almost everything they want to know is easily accessible in one of the best databases I’ve ever seen and we even have a store finder which lists all partners who sell the products and there are show houses where people can go and test the products.

No sales on the phone! No need to upsale because we’re working for the producer who has no way of selling directly. The shops who sell our products have their own hotlines and don’t ever call us! It is also strictly pre sales services. We have the ability to forward people to the technical service lines if they have technical problems and that lines are reachable. They have next to no waiting times.

Really good boni for fulfilling the metrics.

Those are the metrics:

Greet every customer with the general greeting-one point

If the customer volunteers their name use it at least once, if they don’t you get the point anyway assuming you would have if he’d said it.-one point

Listen to the question and confirm it. If you don’t understand the question ask for further information- one point

Look for the right answer and tell them. If the answer isn’t in the database, tell them that and make a note so it can be added by second level. Offer them a later callback or mail and take their number or email in the note if they agree. -One point

Ask them if they’re satisfied now and follow up if they have more questions. One point.

Thank them for their call and say goodbye nicely. One point.

Being overall friendly and sounding cheerful gives an extra point.

So you can get 6 basic points and one bonus point

If the caller hangs up anytime during the call you automatically get all the remaining basic points assuming you would have done everything required if you’d just gotten the chance.

If the caller is abusive you are allowed to hang up on them and get all the basic points.

If you have an average of 6 points at the end of the month you get a bonus, if you get many bonus points and are even higher you get another bonus payout.

Isn’t that our wet dream? What could possibly go wrong?

Somehow our metrics, after two month of perfect scores, pummeled since last week.

CA’s don’t use the names if people tell them. They answer the phone with inadequate greetings. (The demanded greeting is ‘welcome to (company name). My name is (my name) how can I help you?) People just rattle down random information and don’t listen to the actual questions or take their time looking for the right equipment for the requirements the caller has given. They also never ask back what the caller wants if it’s unclear. People don’t confirm the caller is done. They sound rude and in a hurry, if I where the customer I’d think my call was inconveniencing them somehow. They don’t offer callback or mail if the customer has a very specific question. They badmouth the products! It is a great line of products! Very high quality and well liked by the customers!

When asked why they don’t follow the instructions they claim they can’t keep the nonexistent call handling times! There are none! I have no idea where this nonsense comes from! They claim the customers yell at them and are unfriendly if they follow the steps which they’re clearly not. I let them listen to the quality recordings and there is nothing! Absolutely nothing wrong with the customers! I’ve never heard such nice people in a service line before! Even the CAs can’t point anything out if confronted with the recordings of low point calls.

We immediately took some people who where too sloppy off of that project and the rest got scared and all of a sudden the metrics go up again. The people we took out are now back in the cruel grinding of common technical service lines where you loose any chance of getting boni if customers don’t like a policy or complain about you breathing too loud and the upsale quotas are ridiculously high with equally ridiculous commissions that are no match to the boni offered in the other project. Better so though, we where in dire risk of loosing the contract due to the absolutely shoddy work some people did.

Why would anyone blow such a chance? What reason can anybody have to become so lazy and sloppy in such a project? I’m in this line several hours every week and it’s really enjoyable. The topics are interesting, you get to chat with the people about their ideas and projects. No pressure, no expectations beyond being nice and using common sense. The steps for the points come to me quite natural during a call in this line. They’re not stiff or unreasonable and all of them did it just fine for two months! I don’t get it.

What do you think?

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Customers not hanging up

“I expect you to to pick up in 30 seconds!”