Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Like lambs to the slaughter.

I am finally over my cold for the most part. All that is left is the damage I have done, you know, sore nose.

Last night I spent 5 hours with the new hires at the Undisclosed Customer Service Center� they were taking a final test before they hit the phones and I was sitting with them in case they needed help. I had 5 in all and the first three pretty much nailed it. The thing was, they could only ask me a question if they put the �customer� (which in this case was a team manager) on hold. Otherwise I had to ignore them. They had to take 2 fake calls and pass them both.

Number four was a little nervous, she knew her stuff but she talked a little fast and put the customer through for support on one call without verifying that they were entitled to it. So she passed one call and failed the other. No big deal, she will take another call tomorrow.

The final girl of the night started strong, I could see she was shaking a little, but she was doing well. Then she says, �I am just going to ask a few routing questions�.� And when she looked up, there were no routing questions. She got a �deer in the headlight look� and just stared at me. I couldn�t help her unless she put the �customer� on hold. She panicked, she started talking to herself under her breath and at one point said �I don�t know what I am doing.� At that point I held up a piece of paper that read HOLD, because her tears had started.

I knew she failed the call because the customer heard her say she didn�t know what she was doing. But I told her she was doing fine, don�t give up, finish the call. She was upset that now the caller was on hold.

�Leave her there, don�t worry about it. Take your time and pull yourself together.� She did and got through the rest of the call fine. She would have passed it the TM had not heard her say those words.

Her trainer, the TM and I all told her she was doing fine, but when the trainer said she failed the call she lost it again. She still had another call to do but she was too upset.

By this time in the day I had been five hours without a smoke so I was getting punchy. �Screw it, lets go for a smoke first.� I told the TM we were going and went outside. After a smoke, she splashed water on her face and nailed the last call.

The most stressful part of the Undisclosed Customer Service Center� experience is the unknown. The reason the tests upset so many people is that they know the people on the other end know what they are supposed to be doing. But the general public are not going to know if you are saying everything you need to say and doing everything you need to do. The stress level will go down when you realize this. I told the girl that after a week this would all be second nature to her. That a monkey could do the job. She was more upset that she had cried and I told her she wasn�t the first and she wouldn�t be the last. Tonight I will find her before she takes the test again and give her a little pep talk.

It is always the ones who think they will never get it, that turn out to make the best agents.

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