Off Center
I’m continually looking for ways to improve my credibility and reputation as a contact center author, journalist and researcher – and not just because of the court order to do so. I enjoy setting ambitious goals for myself, working toward them, and then blaming the fact that I didn’t achieve them on global warming and the economy.

What better time of year to set personal and professional goals than right now – when all the alcohol from holiday parties makes me feel brave and invincible. So, here are my career-related New Year’s resolutions for 2011:

1) I will take overflow calls for any contact center for free. For years I have sat upon my high horse acting like I know it all when it comes to contact centers and customer care. But the truth is, I haven’t officially worked in one since the early 1990s. I feel it’s time for me to once again truly immerse myself in contact center culture and madness; thus if your center is in need of an extra hand on the phones during peak periods and you don’t mind that I work from home and am naked most of the time, then I’d be happy to handle calls for you for free.

I can’t promise that I will provide the level of service that your customers have become accustomed to, or that I’ll adhere to my schedule even half the time, but I can promise that I will do my best to not hang up on callers I dislike, and you can rest assured that I won’t get mad during coaching sessions – as I’ll likely not be listening.

2) I will learn how to tie a tie to gain more industry respect. Having worked from my home since 1994, and being obnoxious enough to not get invited to any weddings, I have lost all tie-tying capabilities. This, I have found, has hindered my ability to garner the level of respect I feel I deserve in the contact center industry. Regardless of how much insight and wisdom I provide while presenting on expert panels at conferences, being seated next to peers who are dressed to the nines while I’m wearing my flannel robe and Winnie the Pooh slippers sometimes costs me in terms of recognition as a subject matter expert on customer care. (Don't let the photo of me on this website fool you -- that guy in the suit is my stunt double.)

I wish people could just see past my pajama bottoms (well, not literally) and rate me based on the sharpness of my mind and full understanding of all things related to contact centers. However, if all it takes is for me to put on a collared shirt, a non-clip-on tie and some pants without a drawstring to earn a place among the customer contact elite, then I’m willing to go to Target today.

3) I will stop punching people who are in search of “industry standards” for everything. If I had a dime for every manager who has asked me for the (non-existent) industry standard for service level, abandonment, handle time, cost per call, or (insert the name of just about any other metric you can think of), I’d have enough money to finish building the dungeon I’m currently constructing to house all such managers.

Am I proud of my aggressive and violent treatment of these well-meaning professionals? Well, I don’t know if proud is the word, but it does feel good to go ballistic on a guy who is looking for me to tell him what his and every other contact center’s email response time objective should be. Nonetheless, I acknowledge that verbally and physically abusing relatively innocent managers and supervisors is not only wrong, but ineffective, too; most continue their futile search once they recover from the insults and injuries.

So, I promise to stop taking it upon myself to teach these poor contact center novices a lesson through violence. Instead I’ll have a trained and certified goon from Chicago’s South Side deliver the lumps that have for years left my hands swollen, thus hindering my typing efficiency.

Note from Greg’s conscience: Greg is of course exaggerating in this post for entertainment purposes. He is not building a dungeon to house inexperienced nor incompetent contact center professionals – it’s more like a large cage.