War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength

Monday, October 04, 2004

From the Archives: Suggestions for improving workplace productivity

[Like most companies, one of my former employers - an inbound customer service call center - had a "suggestion box," where employees could drop off whatever they had that they wanted "management" to receive and consider for adoption as company policy.

Now, my hunch would be that management will never see or read a word that goes into that shabby little box on the wall, and whenever necessary, it is emptied into the nearest rubbish bin.

There are good reasons to believe this. A) given the quality of your average call center employee, most of the "suggestions" will be total crap, or will have been already implemented, and fully explained, in the manual that no one bothers to read. B) The remainder of the "suggestions" will simply be verbal abuse, un-verifiable claims against low-level supervisors, and slanderous charges of bestiality against the companies executive officers. C) The final type of suggestion that might appear, if anyone in management were to actual read any of them, is the most feared of all, not for its literary content, but for its mysterious "wet suprise," which is bound to turn the stomach of even most hardened middle-manager.

The following "suggestion" can be classified somewhere inbetween categories A, and B. I have never personally followed through on a Category C suggestion, but I am umemployed, and may end up working in another call-center, so hope shines eternal that someday I may move into the upper-echelon of workplace malfeasance that is defined by behavior such as the Category C suggestion.]

Subject: Suggestions for improving work place productivity

I believe that the overall productivity of CSRs could be dramatically improved by instituting an IVR [interactive voice response] "Basic Aptitude Test" for ALL inbound callers.

The details would have to be worked out, but in theory, it would work something like the following:

Customer calls in

[IVR] - For each of the following questions please press the number that corresponds to the answer.

[IVR] - Please enter the answer to the mathematical question: 2 + 2

-Wait for response. If it is accurate, move on, if it is inacurate, explain to the customer again what they are supposed to do, and give them another different question of similar difficulty.

[IVR] - If you were to count the letters in the alphabet, which letter would "A" be?


Implementing a system like this would almost certainly cut call volume in half, and possibly by as much as 60-70%. Additionally, stress levels amongst employees would be dramatically reduced. Stress related phenomenon, such as broken keyboards, and employee altercations resulting in violence, would almost certainly be reduce if not completely removed. Finally, the company would also see reductions in their premiums for dental insurance, as they would no longer have legions of employees requiring dental reconstructive surgery due to the incessant gnashing of teeth that is the result of having to deal with exactly the type of customers that said system would weed out.

I thank you for your time, and hope that you will seriously consider this proposal as a means for improving both your bottom line, and the working conditions for your employees.

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