Monthly Archives: October 2010

A class system in call centers like Coach vs. Business Class

Categories: Call Center | Leave a comment

Thank you and welcome to Kuala Call Center — where our lines are always friendly. Do you have a reservation for tonight? Oh yes, I see you have a ticket for coach. No problem, just follow me please…

If you book a ticket on an airline, there are different classes where you can sit. Yes, this is “classist” but on public buses there is only one class — low class. In many cities, middle and upper class people refuse to take the bus. In India you will be treated like a sardine if you dare take the bus which is why those with a choice do not! But, what types of classes would a call center have?

You could have economy class where you get the newer and less trained call center agents. Then, there would be business class where you get agents who have a few years of experience and are up to a particular level. But, what about executive class? Honestly, if I were a busy executive and needed help with my calls, I would want the finest call center agents that money could buy — preferably with a window seat and a glass of wine.

One of the failings of the call center industry is that there are no formal gradations for the difference in quality for call center agents. Imagine how the industry would be completely transformed if some of the big companies would get together and introduce definitive standards. What if they created seven distinct levels for call center agents and then had standardized additional commentary such as how good they are at particular technical tasks or at particular foreign languages or accents? That way you wouldn’t need to interview a particular company’s workers. You would know based on their credentials how good they are.

Perhaps it would be better if an outside agency did training, testing and evaluation for agents. The agents could all get tested every quarter to see what their improvement was like. Their salaries would depend on their test results, and you can bet that they would take it all very seriously.

In the mean time, I need to get used to this tiny seat in coach. Thankfully there is no gigantic fat guy sitting next to me in the next seat over. Fight attendant? I’ll have a Pepsi please…