Tuesday, 29 August 2017

François // Customer Sales Agent

I started to work more on weekends. I kind of liked it, since there were no bosses around. It was not necessarily more relaxed, but at least I could grab a cup of coffee or go to the toilets without killing my precious ‘personal break’ time. Since nobody wanted to work on weekends, the call center was usually working on lower capacity, with fewer employees and less noise disturbances. I could use these shifts as a playground for testing strategies for boosting my metrics.

The first experiment I applied was to become the best agent, for real. For this, I had copied and pasted comments from the most predictable outcome of a call (not available, left a message) while frantically clicking on ‘next call’ the second the previous call ended. It felt like a race to clear the most calls possible, with a kind of a gambling vibe. The discussion had to end after all the forms were filled, which let me simply click on next call clickclickclickclick! I think I applied this strategy for two days. Then I asked my supervisor to have a look at our stats, which with (or without) surprise proved me to be first… But playing this strategy implied no break times in-between calls, which proved super exhausting on the longer term. It could be sustained by drinking more coffee, but then the anxiety level is being pushed up and I was scared my mind would just evaporate off my body. Because of this, I decided that it was not a proper way to go on with this working method and decided to move my investigation towards other tactics.

Behaving as this ideal model of ‘do your best, push it to the limits’ exhausted me. Now, my thoughts were about how to look like the best, statistically speaking, while on the other end preventing myself of being in constant anxiogenic conditions. In order to do so, I applied a few tricks some of my colleagues figured. As an example, we knew that we could use certain unattributed phone numbers that, instead of recording ‘call waiting’ time, would record ‘in call’ time. By overriding automatic dialing and dialing manually a bunch of hand-written unattributed phone numbers, we could boost our ‘in call time’. By shuffling between these numbers and real ones, we could control our metrics. Ringing for five minutes one of these numbers, in a way, was like having a five minutes break since we knew nothing was to happen during these five minutes. By clicking on ‘next call’ while systematically hanging up and putting in the comment that nobody was over the line, we could clear 25 calls in 5 minutes, then ring a few ‘in-call’ giving numbers, and then repeat the process in a loop. We were assured to have good looking statistics while clearing a high amount of call with a low ‘unavailable time’ value. All this without actually handling calls.