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Work-related ethics question.

Old 02-25-08, 08:51 PM
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Work-related ethics question.

Let's say you work at a call center, and every once in a while a call comes in that is a dial tone. There's a button combination (simple one) to press to reconnect to the caller. You keep doing that and get a caller each and every time. The other people just do the whole "can't hear you right now please call back," don't press the buttons, and hang up. No one says anything, and the most they can ever tell you is to do the button press in the future (no getting fired, for instance, nor disciplinary action). Because you actually handle those calls, your talk time is higher, and it affects monthly bonuses and yearly raises, as well as how your performance looks on a monthly and yearly basis (for the worse). You keep doing it (getting the caller back) because you know if you were that caller, you'd want the call taker to press the buttons for you. But it makes you mad when you hear others doing the whole can't-hear-you (which happens for real maybe once a month, that you do get a caller you can't get back) on a weekly basis, sometimes daily basis.

What do you do? Do you do the can't-hear-you or keep pressing the buttons and getting penalized in your stats and bonuses, along with yearly raise?

BTW, the people that -do-disconnect on the caller knowing there's a button press are the ones getting the awards, accolades, and congratulatory letters from superiors, and their ranking is in part helped by this behavior.

Last edited by GatorDeb; 02-25-08 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:56 PM
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Do whatever gets you the most money.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:57 PM
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Quit working in a call center.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:58 PM
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That's not one of the two options. Please play again.
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Old 02-25-08, 09:00 PM
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Do whatever you feel ethically comfortable with.


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Old 02-25-08, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by GatorDeb
Because you actually handle those calls, your talk time is higher, and it affects monthly bonuses and yearly raises, as well as how your performance looks on a monthly and yearly basis (for the worse).
Does not compute.
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Old 02-25-08, 09:41 PM
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I thought you had been working at a call center for years. And you are asking us - people that likely don't work with you - this question now?
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Old 02-25-08, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by GatorDeb
What do you do? Do you do the can't-hear-you or keep pressing the buttons and getting penalized in your stats and bonuses, along with yearly raise?
If you work for a company that awards this sort of behavior, then do whatever makes life easier for you. Sounds exactly like the center I used to work for though. Award short-talk-time for reps, with most of them doing whatever it took to get someone off the phone as quick as possible.

My job was strictly taking escalation calls. The only thing I thought about all day was what I should do to try and go home without a pounding headache.
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Old 02-25-08, 09:54 PM
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I believe the question Deb is asking is as follows:

She handles every call that comes in to her, and if someone gets disconnected, she reconnects them.

Her colleagues move on to the next call if someone gets disconnected.

As a result, Deb gets through fewer calls per hour, and her compensation is therefore lower.

What should she do about this?

Answer: Talk to your supervisor.

Last edited by JasonF; 02-25-08 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 02-25-08, 10:11 PM
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Ethics. Call Center.

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Old 02-25-08, 10:48 PM
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I worked for Royal Caribbean for year, and I often had long call times (yet some days, I'd have very short ones). It just never passed the buck and it showed some days. Despite my call times I was once employee of the month because I had a couple of customers call in or write to my supervisor to tell her I'd solved some big problem.



Seriously, call time isn't everything. The lady in my department with the lowest call time didn't get promoted once because her call times were too LOW. Yeah, she looked good on paper, but everyone knew she was purposely dropping calls or telling people to call back if they had difficult accounting problems to solve.

If all your center cares about is call time, I would think it's time to look for a new job.
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Old 02-25-08, 10:55 PM
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Do whatever gets you the most money and enables you to leave the job behind at day's end. Don't stress about the caller. We callers have accepted the fact that customer service and technical support are a crapshoot at best, and the call center people are doing the best they can to untangle the messes created by product designers, technical writers, salespeople, the weather, customers themselves, etc. etc.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:00 PM
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BTW JasonF has a good summary

It isn't as much the # of calls as the total talk time. If you do a can't-hear-you-call, that's a 10-second call, which lowers your average talk time. That's why people like them. The worst is when they brag they got 5 or 6 in one night (and we handle mostly lost/stolen, so there's potential for money lost because the customer didn't get handled on their first call).

One thing I don't do is talk to supervisors about stuff like this. I'd only go to them for stuff like stealing and fraud.

Last edited by GatorDeb; 02-25-08 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by GatorDeb
One thing I don't do is talk to supervisors about stuff like this. I'd only go to them for stuff like stealing and fraud.
This is "stealing and fraud". Your cow-orkers are paid to follow procedure explicitly. Instead, they're violating procedure and lying about it, then fraudulently accepting bonuses and such. By not reporting it you're just playing the "Don't Snitch" game, and that's not very ethical, now is it?
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Old 02-26-08, 08:07 AM
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why do they want short call times? Doesn't that show you aren't working as much as people with long talk times?
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Old 02-26-08, 08:10 AM
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I had no idea GatorDeb lived in India!
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Old 02-26-08, 08:13 AM
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Old 02-26-08, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike
This is "stealing and fraud". Your cow-orkers are paid to follow procedure explicitly. Instead, they're violating procedure and lying about it, then fraudulently accepting bonuses and such. By not reporting it you're just playing the "Don't Snitch" game, and that's not very ethical, now is it?
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Old 02-26-08, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Lunatikk
why do they want short call times? Doesn't that show you aren't working as much as people with long talk times?
It's supposed to show you handle problems quickly and get people off the phone. I worked at a call center while in college, and the claim they made is "it costs $5 for every call coming in and once it's connected, $5 every minute". Theoretically, the average call time they aimed for was around 6-7 minutes IRRC, and for tech support, it mostly wasn't feasible. You either had to do a crappy job and get them off the phone knowing your solution might not work, or cut corners with the scripting and specific steps you were supposed to take. You either got longer average call time or got nailed by QA if they happened to listen in on the call you cut steps on (even if you knew right away what the problem was, skipped to that step, and fixed it). I always had slightly higher than average call times b/c I did follow the steps correctly and made sure the problem was corrected, thus had a few "talking to" moments at weekly or monthly reviews, but my QA results were always good.

Then I moved and graduated, and thank goodness. No way I could do that longer than I did. Roughly 90% of calls were results of "user error". "I dropped my remote in water, now it won't work. Why?" or "I unplugged my TV and other equipment when I rearranged the room, now I don't get anything. No, I didn't reconnect everything exactly as they were. coax cable, what's that?" or "I don't have TV picture anymore. What's changed? Oh, the dish is laying on the ground. I'm having a new roof put on right now and they had to take it down".

If I were you, I'd actually talk to my supervisor about it. Why have you not done that yet????
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Old 02-26-08, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike
This is "stealing and fraud". Your cow-orkers are paid to follow procedure explicitly. Instead, they're violating procedure and lying about it, then fraudulently accepting bonuses and such. By not reporting it you're just playing the "Don't Snitch" game, and that's not very ethical, now is it?




However, you MUST bring this up with your supervisor.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:45 AM
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what kind of call center is this?
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Old 02-26-08, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by GatorDeb
That's not one of the two options. Please play again.
I'm curious how continuing to work in an unethical environment, and being forced to compromise your own ethics for the promise of career advancement and monetary gain is a better option than finding a different job to you.

Last edited by DVD Josh; 02-26-08 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 02-26-08, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
I'm curious how continuing to work in an unethical environment, and being forced to compromise your own ethics for the promise of career advancement and monetary gain is a better option than finding a different job to you.

That's what I was going to say.

You want to be ethical. But your company promotes unethical behavior.
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Old 02-26-08, 01:50 PM
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I say, become unethical, work your way up, and change the system from the inside. That is the only way to win!!!
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