Long Term Service

Is it worth staying at a company for more than 5 years? My simple answer is no. Not unless you want to progress into management and climb the ladder of hierarchy.

I’ve been at the same company for 12 years. I was asked, in the past, if I wanted to train as a team manager but I turned it down. The reason being that I’ve done the ‘responsibility’ thing at other companies. I’ve done the jobs where I’ve been in charge of other people, where I’ve been in charge of departments, jobs where I’ve had to exert authority, or where I’ve been in charge of personal details. Jobs where the responsibility meant that I needed to work over often as I needed to make sure that things got done, materials were got in on time, orders could be despatched on time, or staff knew that they were being taken care of in the company. I’ve had the nice job titles that impressed people.

It all changed when, at a particular manufacturing company I was working for, I found that the guys on the shop floor where earning more money than those of us working in the offices. What I mean is that they were earning per week what I and others were making per month. I then found a very nondescript job of entering data that paid the same money and was shorter hours, and it was right across the road from where I lived. Since then I’ve looked for the money and an easy life. 12 years ago I figured the call centre fell right into this category.

For several years I earned a lot in commission from the sales I made. It paid off big time. Then the FCA decided that agents (in any company) should not have commission as the proverbial carrot to motivate us. It was decided that a basic and a small bonus based on quality of calls was what was needed. I lost a lot of money in commission, as did many of my colleagues. However, at my age this job suits me. I feel too old for the responsibility that had in my 20’s and 30’s. I don’t want it any longer. I just want a job that I can do and then it leave at work, so I can go home free from stress.

Over the 12 years I’ve been in different departments and I’ve learnt a lot about the company. You’d think that experience would be greatly appreciated and looked after. Far from it. Those of us who have been there many years are being pushed out of the door, whether they’re trying to fire us for stupid things or whether they’re giving us a 1% pay increase, they are trying to make life difficult for us. People who have been at the company just a short while have had £500 pay rise while us ‘oldies’ have had £150 to put it in a nutshell. They’re saying that they’re trying to level out the pay structure. Experience means nothing.

I’m now in my 50’s and regardless of what the government says, companies do not readily employ older people. I just want an easy life at work but I want to be treated fairly. I want my experience to be worth something. But it seems that loyalty to a company means nothing. Unless I’m eager to climb over people, lick ass, and climb the ladder I’m considered worthless. And how many people in their 50’s want to do this? Ageism is alive and kicking in British companies regardless of what is being said in public.


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Why Work In A Call Centre?

I began to write a blog about the day to day experience of my working life. I’ve been working at the call centre for over 11 years now and this seemed like a good way of getting rid of stress and of laughing at some of the stupid things that can happen at work.

I have never mentioned the name of the company I work for – I don’t particularly want to be on the end of a lawsuit, although I sometimes think that being fired would come in very handy. I also don’t mention the names of any colleagues or customers for the same reason. Saying that I think I manage to convey what is going on reasonably well.

You may wonder why I’m working in a call centre. Well the reason is very simple. I got sick of being treated like a pack horse and being plied with responsibility while being paid peanuts.

I began my working life as an office junior after a year at secretarial college. I picked up the ropes very quickly and eight months later I landed a job as branch secretary/PA to general manager at a different company. A few years later I left to have my daughter.

After maternity I began working at a foundry as a buying assistant/materials controller. I loved it. I stayed for several years but in the end it was the pay that made me look elsewhere. Along came the position of secretary to three lawyers. After a few years there I moved on to a new company as materials controller. It was here that I had my eyes opened.

I remember one of the foreman on the shop floor complaining about his pay. He was in charge of people using machinery and would he would let me know if any raw materials were running low. He showed me his pay slip and said it was for one week but the company had short paid him. They were paying him more in one week then what I got for the month and I was far more qualified. I then found out that the guy who swept the shop floor and did the occasional delivery was on more than double what I was receiving. He had no qualifications whatsoever except a driving licence.

Well that did it. I wondered why I was working for pennies and being laden with so much responsibility. So I began to look at the job market. Guess what? I found a part-time job inputting data for the same money I was getting as materials controller. I went for it. Typing in figures and having my afternoons free. And it was a five-minute walk from where I lived.

After that I went into sales. I realised that this was where the money was and it was up to me to put the work in. No responsibility and I could double my basic pay easily every month with commission. I’ve done this now for several years.

Of course all good things come to an end. The commission was not compulsory so it could be removed at any time. Now the Financial Conduct Authority no longer want sales staff rewarded by monetary means, so the commission has disappeared.

Working in the call centre is no longer as profitable as it once was.

Mobile Phones

We’re not allowed to use our mobile phones in the call centre. It’s annoying for the staff, but it’s safer for the customers. It may sound a bit strange to people who are not familiar with the workings of a call centre.

Basically we are dealing with payment details every day. Credit cards, debit cards, direct debits. It’s a sad fact that there are some very unscrupulous people out there who would welcome the opportunity to have access to another persons bank details. Many people, myself included, have been the victim of fraud.

My company does stringent checks on people and random yearly credit checks to try and filter these type of people out. The methods used are not fool proof however, so they also try to limit the duplication methods. This includes banning devices such as mobiles or iphones that can record or scan details. We are not allowed to write bank details down or leave any type of customer details on our desks. All security measures to make things safer for the customer.

Unfortunately not every company thinks like this.

Yesterday I went into town with my parents who are in their 70’s. My mom wanted a new mobile contract. We went into a very well known mobile place. The assistants were very nice and friendly – it wasn’t at all Scary Mary. My mom chose the contract she wanted and handed over her bank details to set it up. The manager of the shop, yes I said MANAGER, stood behind the assistant and took out his mobile phone. He began writing a text while the assistant was setting up the payment details. My parents didn’t think anything of this but I was shocked.

‘Are you guys regulated by the FCA?’ I asked the assistant.

The manager answered, ‘yes. Our insurance is regulated by the FCA.’

‘I’m asking because my company is regulated and if I used my mobile phone while I was setting up payment details I would be fired.’ I pointed out.

The manager very hastily put his mobile away and tried to say it was his work phone. I don’t care if it’s his work phone. You’d think that he’d have more sense than to text while there are payment details are in front of him. Did he think that an elderly couple didn’t require any respect, or was he actually up to no good?

Make up your own mind.

I going to turn into Scary Mary, and send in a written complaint.

Customer Attitude

We’ve noticed a change in customer attitude during the last few weeks. It’s probably due to the amount of information in the media about various companies miss-selling, and several companies being fined by the Financial Conduct Authority. But the attitude is not pleasant.

Several of us have had customers coming through saying that they want investigations into their policy being miss-sold. I asked one woman why she thought it may have been miss-sold. She said it was because she had received a lot of phone calls from companies offering her various things so she didn’t know what she was doing. Is it really our fault if she doesn’t know what she’s doing? Various companies is not one company is it?

Many people are coming through and complaining about the tone of our voice, or our attitude, or how unhelpful we are. It’s usually because we can’t give them the answer they want, or we can’t tell them what policy they need. Well how can we? Seriously. We don’t know what insurance they may already have, or what they need to get covered in their house. This is for the homeowner to know. It is for the customer to tell us what they want covered. Many of them seem to be unable to do this.

They’re yelling at us because we can’t discuss someone else’s policy details with them, or because they are not covered for something they have a problem with, or because they haven’t bothered to read the documents. Yes. It’s all our fault.

We’re regulated by the FCA so we have to abide by those regulations, such as getting a policy holders permission before discussing policy details with anyone else, or stating clearly in the documents what is covered and what is not covered. We also give an explanation in the mailings that are sent out, and we run through a lot of information when setting up the policy over the phone. All of this was done by the FCA to make sure that things were done fairly for the customer. In other words to ensure that the customer can buy safely and with everything up front and in detail, so they know what they are getting. Of course it doesn’t mean that the customer will read the information or will listen to what they are being told. Far from it at times.

Maybe if people stopped paying so much attention to the media and more attention to documents that are sent to them, their own property, their families, maybe then they’d realise that things are being done with regards to their well being. Maybe if the government put more into the education of this country then more people would be able to think for themselves. Just maybe.

 

Administration…

Customer told me a few days ago that he’d heard my company was going into administration. I started laughing. I asked him where he’d heard this. ‘My wife told me,’ he replied. I asked where she’d heard it. ‘Don’t know,’ he said. So even though he didn’t know where any of this had come from, he was willing to believe it.

I explained that although we were a British company, we were international. Extremely large. Even though things are tough in the UK at present, our company is making a profit. Albeit smaller than a few years ago, but we are definitely not going under. It would take a hell of a lot to send our company down. The biggest threat is the FCA. They now have the power to shut down a company with no notice. Quite frightening that they have this power. As long as we follow FCA guidelines then we are ok. And my company goes overboard with following FCA guidelines!

Wherever the Mrs got it from, this information was incorrect. Neither one of them had checked it. Except to ask me when he’d called for something completely different. Maybe it was from the papers. We all know that some of the stories in the media should be taken with a pinch of salt. If a neighbour or family friend had told them then they should have checked.

Why is it that people are so gullible? Why can’t people think for themselves? If it’s not believing everything in the media, people believe everything another person comes out with. Religion is a prime example. You often hear people talking about cults and how they brainwash people. Well, established religions have been doing it for centuries, and haven’t stopped. Why stop a good thing? It’s called having power over other people. If you are not prepared to think for yourself, do your research, have your own mind, then you are willingly handing power over yourself to another individual/organisation. Well done.

Now, listen here…I am the most important person in the world. It was in the papers a few years ago, honest. You can get down on your knees and worship me. I can heal and answer prayers, honest. For the right payment…

Margaret Road Wednesbury WS10 7QT 07505067286 naturalmatrixtherapy@outlook.com By appointment only, so please contact me to discuss available times.