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Not Even Remotely A Good Job

, , , , , , | Working | April 13, 2022

Many years ago, I worked first-line tech support for a satellite TV company. I usually like working in customer service because I like to help people and make their lives a little easier, but this place had terrible working conditions. It was an inbound call center, and the only sort of quality control they were concerned with was how long our call times were and how much stuff we could sell to the poor customers who were calling in asking for help with their equipment. 

The fixation on call times was ridiculous. If my average call time exceeded two minutes and didn’t result in a sale, I would be called in to have a serious conversation with my managers. 

One day, I received this call.

Customer: “My remote control stopped working again. This is so stupid. You need to get better quality equipment. Can you send me a new one?”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. Did you try to change the batteries?”

Customer: “No, I’ve never needed to change them before. They just send me a new remote. How soon can I have it? I want to watch the game on Sunday.”

Me: “Sorry, no one asked you to change the batteries before? They will run out after a while, you know. If you open the little hatch on the back, you will find a compartment there. Most remotes run on double-A batteries; you can get them at the grocery store.”

Customer: “You mean I could get this working today?”

Me: “Most likely, yes. Listen, why don’t you try that first, and if it doesn’t work, you can give us a call back? Make sure to check what kind of batteries are in your remote and get the same kind.”

Customer: “I’ll do that, thank you!”

We ended the call and I took a look at this customer’s call history. He’d called about having trouble with his remote control twice before. Both those times, the associate who had taken the call had just ordered him a new remote without even trying to resolve his issue, most likely to keep their call times down. Since it was within the warranty, it ended up costing the company money.

Yes, my call time was over two minutes for this one. Yes, I got chewed out for it. Within three months of working for this company, I was completely burned out and ended up having to quit.

When I say, “quit,” I mean, “fell into a big, black depression hole”. My doctor strongly encouraged me to have a talk with my managers and find a way to accommodate my medical issues. My managers strongly encouraged me to quit without offering any other alternatives. I did quit since I couldn’t bear working another day there, only to find out after I had already signed the paperwork that since I technically quit on my own demand, I would have to wait three months to be eligible for unemployment benefits. Those were three very hungry months. Yes, I should have known better, but I was young and the union was practically non-existent in that workplace.

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