Off Center
Some of the most interesting news in the contact center industry often goes unreported. Below are a few recent stories you probably haven’t heard about – and not because I completely made them up. Customer care is far too important to ever joke about.

Manager Braves Twister to Save Customer Relationships

A contact center manager for the 8th National Bank of Kansas received the Congressional Medal of Honor for her bravery when a destructive tornado ripped through her contact center last week.

While all the center’s agents and supervisors sought shelter under workstations and ACD reports, Ann Belnick – facing winds of 80 mph without regard for her own safety or the skirt she was wearing – proceeded to take customer calls until she emptied the queue. She answered 152 calls in 20 minutes with a quick yet informative message: “Really windy! Can’t talk now! Try again later!”

When asked about her unheralded act of courage, Belnick, who still seemed a bit bewildered when interviewed, simply clicked her heels and said, “There’s no place like home,” and then took a long nap. While she is being viewed as a hero by most, some agents in her contact center feel that her “fearless” actions were just a ploy to dramatically reduce the center’s Average Handle Time results.  

Study Shows Color Choice in Contact Centers Can Spell the Difference Between Relaxation and Violent Assault

A study conducted by Brown University has revealed that certain colors can have a calming effect on contact center employees. The study revealed that such colors as pink, yellow and burgundy can reduce stress in the contact center, provided they are not worn together in an outfit.

Other colors were found to cause aggression. For example, agents working in a sky blue contact center were overheard saying such things as, “The mutiny is near!” and “Monitor THIS!” while throwing sharpened pencils at pictures of their supervisors.

According to the study, colors such as green and orange seemed to have no measurable effect on employees, as agents working in centers featuring these colors proceeded with their normal behavior – answering calls, logging customer complaints, and cutting themselves with straightened paper clips.

Dr. Susan Moody of Brown University led the study, but when asked to comment on the findings she simply growled, “I hate your navy blue blazer!” and punched the reporter in the neck.

Agent Inmates at Prison Contact Center Get Unruly

Yesterday in Cheyenne, Wyoming, prison inmates who handle calls for a travel company rioted for six hours, claiming it was cruel and unusual punishment to make incarcerated individuals help people make vacation plans.

One inmate agent complained, “It’s (expletive deleted) torture being stuck behind these (expletive deleted) bars, answering 70 (expletive deleted) phone calls a day from (expletive deleted) people whose biggest concern is whether their hotel in Paris or Rome offers free wi-fi.”

Prison guards were able to subdue the inmates before any serious damage or injuries occurred; however, the warden reported that call abandonment skyrocketed while the inmate agents were storming the front gate. 

If you would like to read more news stories like these… what’s wrong with you? Wouldn’t your time be better spent reading my ebook on best practices in contact center management?

10/11/2012 11:38:06 pm

I find black to be very soothing when its the back of my eyelids.....

10/11/2012 11:43:49 pm favorite color...until they make something darker.

10/11/2012 11:46:40 pm


Can you advise on the noise-canceling headset that may or may not have been heroically used in your Kansas story?


10/12/2012 12:13:39 am

Matt and Kevin, I like that you are both into dark humor. We could be friends -- that is IF I trusted people who regularly read my posts.

Kevin, regarding your question, I called Ms. Belnick to get an answer, but apparently she has quit the contact center to play Dorothy in a traveling theater company's production of "The Wizard of Oz."



Karen Wenborn
10/12/2012 06:26:28 pm

Oh! the temptation to wax lyrical on the Dorothy theme in Contact Centres. Haven't we all met a WWOTN? The cowardly lion? The Tin Man with no heart? And sitting in that office at the back, the one with the shades drawn......The Wizard himself. (Although most draw the line at the microphone and speakers - in my experience at least!!)

10/12/2012 10:14:03 pm

Clever comment, Karen. (I like showing off my alliteration when commenting on comments.)

Covering the contact center industry for so many years, I know a lot of acronyms, but I must say it took me a moment to figure out what you meant by "WWOTN". Then I got it -- Workforce Witch of the Netherworld. Nice.

Have a great weekend!


10/29/2012 01:12:48 am

How did I miss some of these comments?! Can we nominate Karen to do a write-up on her WoO/CC waxing? I'm intrigued.


9/6/2013 02:50:42 pm

Arrange and size the text and photos on the page to your liking with the select tool, the black cursor tool that you can find in the toolbar at the left. Follow the margins and column guides to give your paper an organized look.


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