The Call Center: A Rose By Any Other Name

Contributor:  Jo'Ann Alderson
Posted:  02/25/2010  12:00:00 AM EST
Rate this Article: (3.0 Stars | 15 Votes)
The call center is getting a bad rap because they’ve got a bad rep. As least this is what my husband thinks. And since he’s about as removed from the call center business as you can get, I thought his insight was refreshing. This is why I asked him to continue.

“Change the name,” he said “and maybe they’ll get some respect.”  
 
I only had to think about this for a second to realize he was on to something. Something that is so obvious it’s downright brilliant.

This is what I propose: Let’s reorganize and call the call center something else. It’s not that the concept of restructuring is new. Heck, we’ve been living under the change umbrella for a few decades or more. Companies reorganize on a dime—all the time.
 
Besides, as far as I can recollect the call center didn’t start losing its status as one of the best places in the company to work until we started calling it a call center. Before technology arrived on the scene and gathered customer service, inside sales, accounting and reception into one centralized tour de force the call center had fancier, more impressive titles. Monikers like marketing specialists, customer retention team, sales administration, product and service coordinators—all of these were highly revered in the organization.

These call center representatives had the attention of the top brass and decent-sized budgets to boot. People were proud. The call center representatives, under a different name, came to work with a purpose. And that purpose was to do their prestigiously-titled job to the best of their ability. Furthermore, when you told your friends you were a client development specialist or a customer satisfaction expert they smiled broadly and asked if the company had any openings.
 
Compare That To Today’s Call Center Environment

Today the call center scrambles to get talent and they struggle to keep it. Turnover—which can be as high as 100 percent—has been an issue since the call center became a call center. Call center absenteeism is a constant plague. The evidence that people didn’t show up for the job they were hired to show up for should have been our first clue that something was seriously awry.

Look beyond and you start to realize that a call center representative wants to be recognized just as much as the next guy. So let’s do it. Let’s call the call center—and the people in the call center—something else. Let’s give call center representatives extraordinary titles. Let’s give the call center a brushing up, a polishing off and a higher ranking. I’m not a gambling woman but I’ll wager a bet that more people will be on the job every day—if only to show off their new status.
Jo'Ann Alderson Contributor:   Jo'Ann Alderson


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