Category Archives: Call Centres

Is there something I should know?

So fine, I survived the training period, and now I get ready to get down to the serious stuff. Well, when I say survived, some might say I did better than that. At various points over the fortnight, we had to sit various assessments, and get 80% or better on them, or face a resit, and who knows? Seemingly, what I saw from others, it was never a critical event regardless. Who, me? Fine, lowest mark I got was 85%, and I averaged 89.3% over the lot, not that the average really mattered to anyone other than myself. And yes, big test, got 90%, so… But fine, the Customer Service side of it, in a training sense, other than rustiness, should never have been an issue for me, anyway.

The training for technical service, which starts in a fortnight, might be a whole different matter, but I’ll give it a go. Yes, fine, I know, but I’m more into being controlled by tech, than me controlling it lol! The one personal blessing over the next fortnight, with the exception of 1 day (next Saturday), is a slightly later start, at 10.30, so I might get slightly more sleep than now, which will be a blessing. Later finish too, obviously, but not so bad that it should affect my time to bed, with luck. Yes, a weekday off, on Tuesday, I’ll see if I can come up with anything brilliant, and different for that! Feel free to suggest, mind. Tomorrow, I’m told will be more about getting my email, and systems set up, and not taking calls, but then, on Wednesday, after our day off. dip my feet in the water again.

Of course, with luck, something else is going to come and whisk me away from there, very soon. No, not a series of acting performances in the US, I only wish! No, the preferred job in Bradford, hopefully the checks will be sorted soon, and I can move on to that one. Later start, better money, less travel costs, and all that. Fine, I’ll have to start buying my meal again, but I can live with that!

Oh lastly, a couple of things from spending a little time on the call center floor. Firstly, they use wireless headphones, definitely a new thing to me, but I like the idea of it. Sadly they dont seem to send a signal to take control of your mind, but fine, I’m probably the only one who would enjoy that! Yes, I was doing some call listening. Once it was sorted out how to let me listen in on calls, it was quite interesting. Lets say that the guy I was with Thursday, did a good job. Calls, making me feel welcome, the works! Then Friday, I was paired with a woman, and I could say that I learnt how not to do a good job of it. She couldnt understand why her probation period had been extended, but I could!

Ah well, in for a penny, and all that…The other big challenge will be making the finances balance, until the end of August, when I get the first full pay packet, but hopefully I survive?

The video. You could say that after training, this shouldnt be the case, but who knows?

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I do the street life

Because there was no place I could go. Funnily enough, the song featuring that line isnt the video tonight, gone back further in time for an old glam rock classic.

But yes, on Monday, I felt like I was a walker, doing the street life, down a street in Brighouse, in the industrial area of town. Why? Because I was hunting for the address for my interview! In the end, I found a wonderful lady (at the 3rd place I enquired), who looked up the number of the firm, rang them up, and discovered I’d been given the wrong address, they’d moved from there 2 years ago! I did get a humble apology from the guy at the recruitment agency, but anyway…

That was when I found out why the man at the firm was a bit concerned about how I would get there without a car. Brighouse, easy, no trouble at all. Greetland, one bus an hour, hmm…? I was inclined to give it a try anyway, but when on top of that, I discovered the last bus out was just after 5 pm, I saw the light, and didnt trouble anyone.

And no, I might have been street walking (lol), but the dress drops down to my ankles, and I was in low heels, not stilettos! Mind, I got one offer, but just passed by…quickly!

Still waiting to hear on my medical tests, to see if I’m qualified for the study, but as selection wont be made until the end of this week, or the beginning of next (due to go in end of next week), its not a major concern. Having said that, I may not be doing the study yet, even if selected. Here’s why.

Yesterday, I got a call from the one really good recruitment agency I’ve dealt with, Elite Recruitment, at Cleckheaton. Seriously, they are in a different league to everyone else around here that I’ve found! Seems a division of Capita, dealing with all things property wise, are short handed in their call centre, in the run up to Christmas at least. So, they’re looking for operators, to help with the tide of calls. Training this weekend, to start on Monday. No, not full training, but enough that we can deal with basic stuff, and pass on details as required. And only a month guaranteed. I showed cautious interest, given I can earn 1.5 times more (and a bit) in 2.5 weeks or so, on the trial, than I can for a month there, and I would have time to write, and things. But, its an offer…

So, this morning, I got a call from someone, telling me more, and asking details of what I’d done, and the like. Just inbound calls, nothing more, so… But, I’m still thinking, if I’m doing the trial, money wise, and interest wise, I’d prefer that. So I mention the subject, then ring the agency, and say what I’ve done. In the meantime, I try and contact my friend at the research place, to see if she’s heard any news. As you can see above, nothing definite yet.

So, when the agency rang me back this afternoon, to find out what the news was, I pretty much had to make a choice, there and then. Given that this morning, and again this afternoon, it was mentioned that with a decent performance, I would in all likelihood be kept on after the month, I’ve bitten the bullet, and said I’ll do it, take the job. Now, just waiting for confirmation officially of all this, which I should have tomorrow. So yes, you might get a bonus blog lol! Be a short one if I do, but…

Yes, I know I’m going to regret not doing the medical trial, I had really been looking forward to it, in so many ways. But practically, I’m being offered a job (maybe only for a month, but…) guaranteed, or I can say no, and hope I’m selected for the trial. So in the end, it had to be done. But you’re right, after a few false alarms in the past, I am not saying I have got a job, until I get that email tomorrow! Irony, its just around the corner from William Hill!

Ah well, doesnt look like I’ll be hypnotised either (that was Saturday morning), but at least I wont have to walk the street, looking for businesses that are no longer there!

Video, not the biggest Roxy Music hit, but an early song

The progress of technology

To say my Twitter account is an eclectic mix, would be to put it mildly.

Two main areas are obvious ones, anything relating to movies pre 1939 (or so), and vintage clothing. I have a few others relating to Irish cricket, but the one area that seems to be growing, is my collection of science ‘fact’ sites, and wearable technology. OK, fine, most of my interest in these areas relates more to science fiction, but to be honest, what we thought of as fiction at the turn of the century, is fast becoming fact!

Lets face it, answering machines, for businesses have been around quite a while now. Hey, its even got to the point where you can select your options by voice, rather than pressing a number on the phone to move to the next step. No, generally it doesnt get you any further, any faster, and besides, in the end, if a problem needs solving, you’re going to end up talking to a person at some point. Why, because automation has its limitations at present when it comes to actual decision making, and thats where the humans need to come in…for now.

Yes, there will be a time when the computers will be capable of making independent decisions, but I suspect we are still a while off from that.

But the thing is, will it just be actual machines making those decisions, or will they be making them through us, via wearable technology? Google Glass seemed to be the first step towards merging humans, with technology, but clearly it wasnt working correctly, as Google pulled it, though there is talk that Mk 2 is on its way soon, we will see.

That though would only have given the wearer the information they needed to make a decision, not to give the wearer the decision that the technology had made. But how long that will remain that way, I’m not quite sure. And though not immediately, at some point in the near future, that technology will be capable of doing just that. At which point, will it need the person at all, will it speak for itself, or will we just say what we are ‘told’ to say?

The other thing you younger folk have to worry about (more than old folk like me) is how long will it be before its not us wearing the technology, but the technology wearing us! You know, at some point, what is now externally worn, will be implanted, injected, or whatever, and become part of you!

Who, me, jealous? You bet! Not going to happen in my working life, I’m pretty sure, more’s the pity. But do you fancy being one, with a machine, hmm?

And yes, absolutely, jobs like mine, in call centres will be the first ones where the staff get automated, for sure. Yes, it will be the jobs easily done by machine that will be the first where the staff are either replaced by automation, or taken over by it!

Good luck, young folk!

The video. A modern version of a very apt Kraftwerk classic

Back to business

I know, so much for the every couple of days thing, but…

Tomorrow marks the day that I get back to business, trying to get a new job! Actually got 2 proper interviews tomorrow, of the face to face kind, quite a delight nowadays! The snag is, one is in Leeds tomorrow morning, the other one just outside Wakefield tomorrow afternoon, so an interesting logistic exercise. Oh, and the getting up before 6.00 tomorrow morning is going to be a bit of a shock too!

Both are for call centre work, both would be different for me, as they will be outbound calling jobs, albeit neither of them would be cold calling people, so fine by me. The one in Leeds appeals to me more, I must say, sounds quite interesting work, and an interesting place to work.

A company doing medical trials, basically you contact the people who have applied to take part in trials, to see if they are suitable, and if so, to check their details, and if all is fine, sign them up for the course. Only going to get fun if there is a trial for female hormones, lets face it! Of course, the sci-fi writer in me comes up with other ideas about medical trials, but lets not go down that road! OK, fine, those I might be interested in taking part in, but anyway…

The other is for an insurance company, dealing with union members, who get a certain level of free insurance, to see if they want to take up any more. I have the distinct feeling this might involve more of a hard sell attitude, which really isnt my thing, but we will see…Also, with it not being in central Wakefield (a fact I only discovered after going for this), it might be more, err, fun, getting to and from work, as a non driver in all honesty. But I can get an idea on that tomorrow, might be a no go before I even get started!

Then on Friday, that time has come when the notice period payment is up, and I have to report to the Job Centre, and sign on, to get my Job Seekers allowance. Not a fortune, but better than nothing! Ironically, they wanted to have the interview tomorrow, but were quite happy to delay it, given I had 2 job interviews lined up!

There is one other thing I’m tempted to do Friday, but its that question of how long the Job Centre thing is going to take, as to how practical it is. A salon type place over Bradford wants to have an afternoon of fun, basically a before, and after session of photos, and possibly some modelling, starting about 12.00. Now, it would be fun, but I have no idea how long I’ll be at the job centre (last signed on in 2002, different name, different gender!) or anything, so its tricky to commit to. So under the circumstances, I’ll probably pass on it, and regret the fact afterwards!

Oh right, a tongue in cheek video. Given its a medical research place, and its a 2 hour interview, I’m wondering just what will be involved. I’m just assuming that their method of finding the perfect candidate for the role doesnt involve research of the human mind? But…