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Theo - The Call Centre Employee

Call Centres: One of my KPIs was to take my breaks at the right time

Theo scored his job 6/10 ten being the most enjoyable job you can imagine).

by Daniela Andrei

Theo worked as a call centre operator at a major health insurance provider in Australia for almost two years. His job involved taking incoming calls from members about new and existing policies, as well as claims. When we interviewed Theo he had already left this job after being offered a different position in another company, but we used this opportunity to obtain another perspective on working in a call centre environment.

One of Theo’s greatest challenges in his role at the call centre was the lack of control (job autonomy) over his work. He felt his work to be very repetitive, with very strict rules around engagement with customers and how much time is spent on the phone, between calls or on breaks. The lack of autonomy became a greater challenge when combined with a lack of ability to have an input into his KPIs and how he might achieve those. For Theo, the call centre role was the first job where he had not had the opportunity to have input or autonomy over how he spends his time at work and how he achieved his targets. Moreover, Theo reported great amounts of emotional labour in his job, as one of the most important part of interacting with clients was maintaining a calm, patient tone, which he found to be very difficult when it was not matched by the customer.

“Probably the hardest part was that I didn’t have much control over what I was doing at work. I had to follow very strict rules about how to engage with the members, how much time I spent on the phone, how much time I had to spend in between phone calls, how much time I spent on my breaks. There was a lack of flexibility, and for me an additional challenge was that I didn’t have much of an input into what was required, my KPIs, what we needed to achieve and how I contributed to that.”

 “The workday was very repetitive. So, every day I would have the same schedule. I would know exactly the times I would have my breaks, to the minute. One of my KPIs was to take my breaks at the right time.”

“The hardest part was to work in a place where I didn’t get to go outside, or to walk around. I didn’t see daylight most because there weren’t any windows uncovered. So basically, all day we were under artificial lights.”

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