A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I Expect Great Things!

Today one of my best employees left the Company. She's close to graduating from the nursing program and she found running a family, interning, classes and working were just too much. She was the quintessential employee: dependable, maintained great attendance, volunteered to assist her peers, of the highest integrity. When she gave her two-week notice she began crying but I told her what joy to realize a dream!

I thanked her for her work here and praised her for the legacy she leaves. Whenever we mention her name I'm certain warm, appreciative thoughts will follow. This is the type of employee legacy I want to leave. I want to be remembered as someone who did just what she was supposed to do. None of this griping and complaining, personal-life-always-in-turmoil kind of legacy.

I wish I had twelve more employees just like her. There are some to be sure, but none like her. She wasn't trained to provide good customer service, it was a passion of hers. She wasn't bribed or praised to perform, she did it because she expected great things. I know she'll have great things happen in her life because she's leaving the corporate world to give more personal help to others who are ailing.

It's easy to find the people who are passionate about doing their best because they show up for work on time, they are dressed neatly, they care about their peers and how their work will reflect upon their leader, they reach out to assist whereever it's needed, they still believe the adage, "One for all and all for one!"

Working in a call center is hard work. We're dealing with the public who can't understand simple accounting, those who don't want to be held accountable for maintaining their accounts, people looking for a free ride and to hell w/anyone who dares to tell them no. People who honestly believe they can call an 800 number and be rude, boorish, obscene and vicious and the rep on the other end has to shut up and take that crap. They don't understand that their actions simply highlight what we know: they're cowards hiding under the cloak of an 800 number.

Call center workers have to know SO much information about SO many products and we have to handle inquiries in less than 2 minutes. Most of us want to help, but just knowing that we are at the mercy of the above-mentioned drains on even the saintliest of saints.

I expect my employees to possess a large amount of patience and I coach them to remember that it's only one call and we'll probably never have to talk to that caller again, God willing. I expect great things from my employees and they expect the same from me. I lead by example because they can see straight through me if I'm lying and they'll get in my face and put me on blast if I don't act right.

Want to be a good customer? Here are some helpful hints. They may sound simple because they are simple-just good old common sense. Here's what we need from you:

1. Have your information ready. We don't want to wait while you shuffle through pages of papers looking for that $19 charge receipt. Our jobs depend on low handling time. You don't like waiting and neither do we.
2. Put down that crying baby! We have to wait for you to find the receipt and listen to hollering Jr? Please call when Jr's asleep or there's someone to help until the call's over.
3. Don't pretend you're someone else. If your name's not on the account, please don't say "It's a joint account," or "I handle all the bills." It's not your account so stop fronting.
4. You are important, but cursing, screaming, threatening and being a bully won't help you get better service. We're just like restaurant workers: We may not be able to spit in your food but we can "accidentally" restrict your account.
5. Give a compliment once in a while. If someone's gone the extra mile ask to speak w/their supervisor or leave a msg on the supervisor's phone. It won't kill you to be nice.

Finally, to all of my call center counterparts out there: be strong, be nice and remember, it's just a call:-)


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