For quality and coaching purposes…

I’m on hold to Motorola Canada with a question about one of their cell phones. Apparently, says the voice robot, my call may be recorded “for quality and coaching purposes.”

Does this mean that I might make some sort of highlight (or blooper) reel? Will a group of apprentice call centre staff gather together in a room, listen to my call with a coach dressed in shorts and rugby shirt at the head of the class, and then do a post-call evaluation. “See where Bobby says ‘Could I have your name?’ there? He should really say ‘Might I have your name?”.

Obviously I am from the old “if you can make conversation and have some smarts, you’ll do okay” school of call centre management.

Postscript: Motorola guy answered the phone and, believe it or not, he could make conversation and did have some smarts. I was looking for information on using iSync with the Motorola V60ci that Island Tel Mobility offers; he hadn’t heard about this iSync support yet, so I gave him the URL at Apple, and we browsed their website together. Nice to encounter a company where information is allowed to flow both ways. Just FYI, he told me that the V60i (that Apple says they support) and Island Tel’s V60ci are functionally equivalent — the ‘c’ just means “customer can install coloured covers on the phone.”


Johnny's picture
Johnny on June 4, 2003 - 16:11 Permalink

I don’t think its fair to belittle people who maybe don’t have the smarts or conversational gifts that you have. Its probably very helpful for a lot of call centre employees to hear other calls as part of their training.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 4, 2003 - 16:39 Permalink

While I claim no conversational gifts of my own, I suggest that it’s impossible to learn to be conversant in a structured “coaching” situation. You learn to converse by conversing.

Johnny's picture
Johnny on June 4, 2003 - 16:49 Permalink

I’m not suggesting that people learn to converse in a structured “coaching” situation. I’m suggesting that in terms of call center training, it would seem to me to be helpful to listen to previously recorded calls that prepare employees for different call scenarios. I appreciate the fact that some effort is apparently put in to training. Is it the recording of the calls you object to or the use of the word “coaching”?

May I have your user ID please's picture
May I have your... on June 4, 2003 - 16:52 Permalink

Regrettably, the coaching received in most call centre environments has little to do with becoming “more” conversant…in fact just the opposite. The friendly banter and other segueways which are the hallmarks of pleasant conversations in civilian life are expressly verboten, both as deviations from “script” and elevators of “call time”.

Magistarfish's picture
Magistarfish on June 4, 2003 - 16:57 Permalink

I worked in a place where they recorded phone calls and regularly played them back…sometimes for s**ts & giggles…but never revealing the name of the caller. My best caller actually called twice. His name was Joseph, and he was calling from a phone booth in Tel Aviv (with realistic background noise) He asked me “How’s the Dow doing…how’s she doing sweetie?” I told him the Dow was up 50 points. He told me he loved me and made lots of wet kissing noises into the telephone. Sexy.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 4, 2003 - 19:07 Permalink

Patience is the gift most call center employees need in order to deal with difficult callers. The recorded conversations help ensure that this requirement is delivered on a consistant basis. Ironically, this emphasis on properly handling customer inquiries is totally negated by forcing callers to wait and wait and wait for a human voice to emerge after an excessive que(all to serve us better,I suppose…)…thus making the employee patience dealing with an even more difficult(and somewhat justifiably so) caller essential.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 4, 2003 - 19:57 Permalink

There is also a problem with the taping in that they may be collecting personal data for a purpose you do not consent to. This will be required by the Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, SC 2000, c.5 after 1 January 2004 unless there is a cross border for consideration (payment) aspect in which it applies now. They will have to give you the option to not be recorded one day.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on June 5, 2003 - 10:38 Permalink

Interesting conversation with someone at Aliant regarding my mobile. I wanted to send a text message to family member in Australia. When it did not work I called to inquire. Reaching a friendly lady she said, “uh, no we don’t got that.” When I explained that I had understood that text messaging was now available she went away and came back and said, “uh, no we don’t got that in Austria”. I mentioned that is was Australia, not Austria and she went away again. I smiled gently to myself and hung up.

There was no friendly banter.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 5, 2003 - 13:57 Permalink

Well, that’s what you get for going or even wanting to talk to “the other side”, Willson!

Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on June 5, 2003 - 22:26 Permalink

I always thought that one reason they tell you they’re taping you is that they think it will keep callers on their best behavior.