The bad reputation of call centers
“Call centers are the reflection of life” – I heard this sentence in a podcast in which a call center agent presented his profession and illuminated both the positive and negative sides of the job.
We, too, would like to shed light on these sides and also clear up prejudices that we encounter in everyday life and on the job. Basically, however, we must admit to ourselves beforehand that there will probably always be black sheep who are responsible for these prejudices and want to make it difficult for us to actually do good work.
“They all only pay minimum wage. There you can earn nothing at all”
It is probably the minimum wage prejudice that we encounter the most and certainly the argument is not completely taken out of the air. We, too, paid the minimum wage until the end of 2021 and topped it up in individual projects. However, very few critics probably know that attractive bonus and premium models can add a tidy little bit on top. Of course, this also requires a portion of diligence, some skill and also experience – but it is always possible. So it’s no wonder that we get these figures confirmed in our monthly bonus reports. In December 2021, 99% of sales employees and 95% of service employees benefited from an additional bonus and thus earned more than the minimum wage. There are hardly any upper limits and it is perfectly possible to increase your hourly wage by 5 euros per hour. In addition to our basic wage adjustment this year to 12 euros per hour, a really good salary can thus be earned after all.
“Yes, but you can only do all that if you can stand up to the pressure”.
As in every company, there are phases in which we have to do more. But there are also phases when we can take a deep breath and have a little chat with our favorite colleagues. It’s certainly not common in every call center, but in each of our areas and locations there are retreats where drinks and coffee can be consumed, where we can play a game on the console, and where we can put our feet up for a moment and let our voices cool down. However, we must not close our eyes to the fact that we are a service provider who has to comply with agreements and contracts, and that we also have to work to achieve our goals. But even in these times, many colleagues praise the cohesion and mutual support in order to achieve the goals.
“And for the compliance then any things are sold under pressure to poor customers or contracts are foisted!”
The fact that there are black sheep in every industry and in every job cannot be denied. But a lot has also been done by politicians in recent years to make this less and less possible. Since the end of 2021, the laws and requirements have been adapted in such a way that customers must confirm telephone contracts once again in writing via e-mail or letter in order for them to be concluded. This means that it is no longer possible for contracts to be foisted – although there are no official figures on whether or how often this has happened before. But reputable clients have no interest in their image being discredited in this way, because in the end it is not the call center but the company that places the order that gets the shitstorm. It is the same with contracts that are supposedly concluded under pressure. There is no successful sales strategy that leads to success with pressure.
“But the strategy is then any scripts and predetermined answers that the customer advisors*innen have?!”
That may certainly have been the case in the past as well. But the path we take at KiKxxl is clearly different. We rely on education, good training and the promotion of communication skills. Pressing all customer advisors into a script does neither us nor the respective customer advisors any good. We promote the strengths in communication of each individual and encourage him or her to reach the respective goal through his or her character. The fact that customer consultants have notes and information on various projects and processes is not a negative aspect, but also serves to provide customers with the best possible advice.
“Why should so much energy be put into customer service representatives? They’re just numbers anyway!”
If that were the case, we wouldn’t be able to function as a company. All customer service representatives are valued, wanted and an important part of us. And we do a lot to make our employees feel comfortable. Because if you are honest, they are in the driver’s seat. Call centers are plentiful, and good agents are in high demand and find jobs very quickly. So it’s up to us to value our colleagues and offer them great benefits, incentives and offers. This is another reason why we as a company have to break new ground, create new, modern offers and remain attractive as an employer. Because that’s the only way to win and keep #TheBestColleaguesInTheCity. We are happy about every single one who is there!
“But customer service representatives don’t have to know much. Anyone can make a phone call anyway!”
Anyone who has ever had an intensive conversation knows that it is not enough just to be able to talk. And it’s the same when you’re on the phone with customers. Every conversation is different, customers have different concerns that need to be addressed. It is not enough to have a simple conversation. A successful telephone call requires empathy, attentiveness, quick-wittedness, a lot of patience and also persuasiveness, the ability to build trust through good rhetoric and, of course, good self-motivation to accomplish the tasks. In addition, customer service representatives improve with every phone call and are constantly given new skills and abilities through training and continuing education in order to become better.