Instant-chat woes


I am a customer service team lead in a call center. We are a relatively large retailer and do not outsource anything much more than shipping. As such, we have several departments including customer service, sales, packing, receiving, etc.

The company that I work for was purchased a few months ago by a company that owns three other similar retailers with the same departments and I was able to retain both my job and my position in the transition.

Before this, I was with my company for 2 1/2 years. There were three of us team leads whose primary job is to help the phone reps. We had a phone queue for reps to call us for help. You could only receive one call at a time (this is relevant). Somehow, I found out that I quickly became referred to as “the nice one” of the team leads, and several reps told me I was their favorite.

With the new company, there’s no phone queue, but a chat queue. And we don’t help one rep at a time, but three simultaneously. There are also 15-20 team leads total now. It’s fast-paced, and interesting, as this company has remote employees in at least 9 states (whereas the old company had most of us in one area plus a handful of employees in only one other state).

Sorry for all the backstory. Recently the new company has rolled out multiple rounds of new hires. Word reached my boss that new and old employees were complaining that some of the chat leads were rude to them, but they wouldn’t name names. After these complaints apparently went on for a few weeks, my boss set a requirement that we are to “greet” the reps when they chat us, as in “hi how’s your day going” type stuff, instead of straight to business. She thinks it will help us come across as friendly and promote team bonding.

Sidenote: I work my three chats, for the most part, in the order in which I receive them as displayed at the bottom of my screen. I start working on issue #1. I always tell #2 something like “just a sec”/”give me a minute” and #3 “couple minutes”/”few minutes” so that they’re not just sitting there wondering why I haven’t answered.

In my latest QA, I lost ten points because I “didn’t greet, just said ‘one sec.'”

I loudly blurted out,” that’s stupid!” I told my boss that it was ridiculous that I lost points – for the first time ever, in fact – for not making small talk. Nothing whatsoever related to why I was hired, why I was promoted to this position, or how I do my job. I told her that I understood that she felt the need to do something (for the most part she is a great boss and her heart was in the right place on this) but that the solution should not be to *require* us to be personally chatty/friendly on top of us doing our actual job.

I already get along well with most of the reps. I already take time to explain things that they didn’t know, walk them through procedures they’re nervous about, encourage them if they say they’re having a rough day or dealing with an especially rude customer. I have several of the new company’s reps who get excited that I’m the one who answered their chat.

I really do want them all to feel like we appreciate and support them, but this new requirement feels so arbitrary. Thoughts?


What do you think?

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Main and….?

Anyone ever had a caller call in with a weird or funny name that low key made you laugh when you saw it?