On The Phones: ⃝ LIVE.
The cool, calmly proficient and nice boss watches our competitiveness with amazement. The newly-made manager had expected to be given the newbies. The dregs. And to slowly work from the ground up.
But no. We are another breed of newbies. We rock.
The bonds formed in that training room are stronger than steel. In that room of doom, where the broken air-conditioned was set to bone-chill in the windowless cell, we had seen brave members fall (ill) and we had rallied around them. And we had seen the sacrifice of members lost to the God of Profit at the Altar of Stats. If temps don’t show, they’re cut off. Like picking off the weak in a herd. Inhumane, perhaps, but that’s business. It’s nothing personal.
Stats are very important. They are in the form of a chart, a row for each team member, and a column for each tier of stats: and the most important are the number of calls taken in the day, the time spent on each call, and the % of calls put through to the sales department. And every second, every move you make in every second, is measured. Monitored. Watched.
An audience that is waiting for you to fall?
Bring it on.
“Hey s’up you’re through to The Leekster and we have our live audience listening in, anyone you’d like to give a shout out to on this sunny day in London? Summer really is here, you are so right mister And I think it’s time for some TUNES.Z So, mister, now I’ve got your details up on the screen, what tracks can I mix up and bust out for you today? What a great choice, you’re a man with taste sir, LET’S GO!”
The emphasis on stats and sales had only brought the remaining members of my team closer. We’d braced ourselves together. And once we were out of the training stall, we made a mutual, unspoken vow to never look back. After four weeks being groomed for the job, at that fine point between broken-in and fully-trained, we were equipped with all the passwords and passes needed to qualify as One Of Them. The predecessors. The senior horses we’d seen racing past the fence every time we walked through to our training stall.
Now it’s muscles coiled, chomping at the bit, given our own territorial desks and a full 8 hours ahead of us, it’s the first big day.
AND THEY’RE OFF!
It’s 9:01 and everyone is off to a great start on their first call… all their stats are showing in green and they’re all well within target… but Red Rose is caught in a brambly call, is she ever going to catch up?… and Grey Ashes is streaking well ahead of the game, galloping past the first posts without relenting… Leek Green is falling behind with her stats and Grey Ashes nudges her up “just say! Is there anything else? Then go go go!”… and Silky Shar needs help, and we can’t see a senior member of staff anywhere, Leek Green gets up and shouts around… can they make up lost time?… Coffee Copper pounds the ground with smooth transitions between calls but trips up when he has to deal with a serious complaint that he can’t do anything about… And it’s ten minutes till break time again and Daring Danny is rounding the bend with effortless running in the green… and the Jumping Jockey is giving it attitude as Electric Blue shoots the hoops for the sales… Electric Blue makes a breathless gain in the green as Leek Green flounders as she’s feeling the need for her morning coffee… and it’s STOP!
And it’s back to the stalls, for round two. Hour Two. Day Two. Week Two… and into months… and with plenty of detours and dialogue and snippets of conversation to keep you amused, here’s the concept of On The Phones, a new fly-on-the-wall series (with my own strange and excitable take on things) featuring the real life world of The Call Centre. I hope you enjoyed the Pilot. There’s more to come. As I accumulate experience at my job and make my own Eight Hours of Entertainment A Day.
But what’s the good of entertainment if I don’t share it?
P.S. Race-horse-esque illustrations to be added for greater effect, later.