As it is with me, topic of conversation will some how lead to sports. Yesterday, I was discussing the Oklahoma football game against Oregon last week. Two bad calls has perceivably changed the outcome of the game. I was saying that it was very clear on replays that the calls were incorrect. He was saying that the replay referee doesn’t get the pretty and clear TV feeds that we see. The replay referee doesn’t get the TV feed. I can just picture some referee up in the box with a little tiny black and white 9 inch monitor. I don’t know if that is correct or not but let’s just assume that is, for the sake of arguement.
Unless, all the tools necessary are given to the team of referees, really, what is the point. If you aren’t going to do it right, then don’t do it. Half-way right just doesn’t cut it and it isn’t worth the effort.
In the beginning of 2001, I was laid off from a dot com company. This forced me to do some temp work. I was told I would be doing “some basic customer service stuff”. A small piece of advice: if the temp agency says “Customer Service” what they mean is you will be on the phones, tied to your desk by a headset and cord but I digress.
On my first day with the local newspaper, I figured we would fill out mountains of paperwork, take a little tour, meet people, and shadow someone before any training would take place the next day.
We go into the call center. Andy, our guide, is explaining the queue board. Each person is seated with a phone rep for shadowing. The queue jumps to a large number. I have only listened in on few calls. I might have been sitting with Beth for 20 minutes. Beth is trying to explain what she does, what each screen is, and so on and so forth.
The Call Center Manager tells us new temp workers, who have only listened to the seasoned team member for maybe 30 minutes, to jump on the phones and take the most complete information we can on paper. We’ll fix it later.
This poses several problems. I don’t know what I’m doing. I have never donned a headset. I don’t even have a log in. I am forced to give misinformation to customers. I don’t know how I am supposed to answer questions.
As a customer, I just want truthful and sincere answers to my problems. I don’t want someone to lie to me or give bad information. It is just common respect.
I eventually through trial and error figure out how the system works and am answering calls appropriately. Nearly 12 weeks later, the call center management team decides we need a formal training program.
Reactive management is bad management. The issues with this not-so-positive experience could have all been solved by training the temp workers first. It seems so simple. As a temp worker for this newspaper, I didn’t have the tools necessary to succeed. Had the tools been there, this would have been a much better experience.
The team of referees were not given the tools they needed to succeed either. The NCAA thought that they needed a replay/challenge rule similiar to the NFL. They rushed in and made it happen, giving themselves a gold star for making a rule change for the betterment of college football. What they did instead changed the game and not for the better.
The NCAA and the Call Center Manager believe that “fixing it later” is the answer. The reality of it is the it creates more work for other people and make the referees more hesitant to call the game correctly, taking the attitude that they would rather make it out of the stadium alive than change the call. One of the referees of the game has been receiving death threats. Would these death threats occured had he been given a complete set of tools?
The referees could have easily changed their decision given their new set of tools but the tools aren’t a complete set of tools. It’s like needing a 9/16 wrench to change your bicycle tire and only having a 1/2 and 5/8. The tools need to fit the situation and clearly here it did not.

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