The post is written by Kevin Olega follow him on twitter.
I couldn’t believe it. I was awarded Top Agent in the customer feedback category on the second or third month of my call center work. I don’t recall receiving an award before. I lived most of my life feeling stupid. I feel I have difficulty expressing myself to others. Many people say I’m antisocial because I don’t hang out with them or because I select my friends carefully.
At the company I work for they give you a bonus for getting good customer feedback.
I received this bonus consistently for almost two years.
Work is not as stressful to me as most people.
I see agents, crying, punching something in their work station, furious with the customer and eventually hating their jobs.
Mostly I see my job as a source of income to fund my goals and hobbies. I don’t have an attachment to it or see it as a source of fulfilment and friends. I see my work somewhat as meditation. I see my work as a practice to develop my problem solving and presentation skills.
I see people at my job frustrated and burnt out. When I give them advice it turns into a heated argument. They spend several minutes convincing me why they are right and why I’m wrong or why my advice is shit because it only applies to their situation. Eventually I stopped giving advice.
I’m writing this down to make the advice available to you in case you need it. You’re free to ponder it. You’re free to use it. You’re free to share it. You’re free to discard it.
What I did I do differently from other agents?
One of the common things I hear in the work place is the agent complaining about how stupid the customer is. The downside of complaining about how stupid the customer is is that the conversation stops there. The customer is stupid. I can’t do anything about it. They’re frustrated. You’re frustrated. They ask for your supervisor. You give shit customer service. They hang up. They give you a bad score for receiving shit customer service.
Is it their fault? Possibly.
Is it your fault? Maybe.
Who’s fault is it? It’s not worth answering that.
My dad taught me that as a manager. Everything will be my fault. If it isn’t my fault and shit happens it is my fault because I didn’t anticipate it.
I’m not a manager in a call center, nor do I care to be. I just act like one whenever possible because whether I like it or not, the results would be better with me in control of my head controlling my end of the deal instead of just mindlessly reacting.
Can you do anything about it? That’s my proposition.
What if you asked yourself in this format?
The customer doesn’t know what to do about the situation. How can I guide the customer to achieve the result that they want effectively in a way that they are happy and my employer is happy?
Agents who complain about how stupid the customer is are missing the point.
Agents who have a negative attitude about the customer don’t get too far in their career.
The attitude needs to be different. I’ve seen the negative attitude cause the loss of opportunity for many people. The stats go down. Their happiness go down. Their stress level goes up. They take low paying jobs again or something unfulfilling.
If you’re in a customer service job or a tech support job you are paid to provide a solution to people who need guidance.
It’s not a contest of who’s smarter.
Your purpose in life is not to prove how smart you are.
My friend told me that his biggest learning in the call center industry is how stupid Americans are. That’s not true. I work in tech support. If someone doesn’t know how to use a computer it doesn’t matter which country they’re from. If the customer doesn’t know about how to use a computer after your conversation it’s mostly your fault because you didn’t guide them.
In case you feel the strong need to prove how smart you are. Think of several ways to guide your customer effectively.
That’s where you need to go.
Is it the right thing to do? I’m not going to argue.
Is it worth it? My employer pays me an extra 20-30% to be effective at this KPI.
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