February 11, 2015

Shouldn't Be This Hard

Hmm, that applies to a lot of things. This, however, refers to my experience working as a call center operator.

The opportunity to make a little cash on the side was inviting.  Who doesn't need a little extra "sumpin'-sumpin'"? So the option was a good one.  After all, I am not in the market for a full-time position; I really like being able to do what I want, when I want. And, answering the phone can't be all that hard, right?

Now, a positive to this venture is that you're also able to work from home.  Requisites are: No crying babies; barking dogs; excessive noise, etc.,  I have a dog; therefore working out of the center in Ripley was necessary.

I won't name the company but they have a million ways to ensure that you FAIL to achieve their goals and yours. Scripts are way too long; there are too many upsells (additional offers for the uninformed); dropped calls; no calls.  Did I mention that you only get paid for the number of minutes that you are on the phone? So you may have been available for three hours but only received one call which may, or may not, allow you to get paid. Shall I continue? This venture is solely for the purpose of buying the "wants," flowers, cigs, etc., so, the miserly check for two weeks' effort dampened my enthusiasm for showing on a regular basis.  I had other things to occupy my time rather than carve out time, dress and travel to the center, and sit waiting for a phone to ring. I went AWOL from July until December.

As usual, the bulb went off belatedly (as in late December).  Patches is asleep during the midnight hour.  Why not install an extra line and take calls while he's safely locked away?  I can roll out of the bed, take calls in the comfort of my home, and still have my day to do with as I wish. Line installed. Hmm, only $2.00 extra?  Surely, I can cover that expense. Naturally, a specific phone set and headphones were needed but, hey, I'll make that back, right? Sounds like a plan.

Mid-January, and I'm back to work.  The first few days saw limited calls.  Is this worth it? Then I noticed, in my jammed inbox, a notice to all agents that they needed to be recertified to take calls.  35 minutes later, I'm certified, and waiting.  The calls are rolling in and I'm happy, happy, happy.

But I should have known that Murphy's Law would strike sooner than later and more than once.

First strike:  Received a compliance event for talking too long.  Before you jump to conclusions (because you know that I like to talk), the elderly caller became totally confused and I had to keep repeating the terms and conditions.  She definitely needed the product that she originally called in for.  What to do?  Hang up?  Try for the sale but make sure that she understands?  Well, girls and boys, I tried for the sale which she ultimately turned down. And, I talked too long.  Sheesh. I was in deep depression for the entire day.

Strike two:  Patches appeared by my side during a call.  What the what?  I'd let him out to relieve himself and in my fog (we are talking 4 a.m.), I forgot to secure the latch on his cage AND close the adjoining doors.  You can imagine the prayers being sent up that he wouldn't bark. You can also envision my hustling him back to his quarters at the end of the call. 

I noticed that the computer moved slowly so have started shutting it down the night before.  Checked it around midnight the night before and realized that there was NO service: internet; cable; phone.  Oh, Lord, help me Jesus. Service returned just before I was to log in at 4 a.m.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

But that was only the prelude to what was to come.  This morning, up and ready, coffee, cigs at hand.  Booted up the computer, internet is working fine.  Logged in.  Service is fine and then, POOF. The internet is DOWN!  Are you kidding me?  Run for the mobile jet-pack and it is not working.  Oh, yeah, need money and time added.  Verizon asks: "When is the last time that you used it?"  "You'll need a new sim card, as well."  Lawd, have mercy.  The minutes are ticking and I am missing my commit time. STRIKE THREE!  

One hour and 50 minutes later, service is restored. I have missed one hour and 50 minutes of an opportunity to make money.  AND, I am going to be penalized for not keeping my schedule. Did I mention that I hate Time Warner Cable?  Not my fault, you say? The call center company's viewpoint is that it wasn't their equipment that had a problem.  Point.  Can't be argued.

Lawd, I'm only trying to pick up a little cash on the side.  Shouldn't be this hard.

Be Safe. Be Blessed.

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