Off Center
Three questions seem to be on every call center professional’s mind these days:

1)    How should my call center handle social media?
2)    How should my call center prepare for mobile customer service?
3)    What would happen if Billy Joel wrote a call center song?

I feel that the first two questions are easy, thus I’ve chosen to tackle the third. I imagine this will help you immensely in your career.

What would happen if Billy Joel wrote a call center song? Probably something like what you see below. (Sorry, I would have made a recording of me singing the song, but I have laryngitis from shouting at Billy Joel’s lawyers. Besides, it will be more fun for you to sing it yourself with your agents during slow periods, or when you've all just given up.)

“The Call Center Is on Fire”
(to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”)

High attrition, battle scars
Spikes in volume, crowded queues
Budgets that are low

Calculating all the calls
Agents running down the halls
Service Level’s all disheveled
Systems that are slow

Senior managers aflame
Saying we take all the blame
Screaming that our stats are bad
Now our call forecaster’s sad

Driving callers to the web
Doing so to get ahead
Please adhere. Need a beer
Handle times are rising!

The call center is on fire
The calls ain’t stopping
Many calls are dropping
The call center is on fire
All the phones keep ringing
Not sure why I’m singing

FCR is down a bit
Unsure how to measure it
Social care has got us scared
Abandonment has grown

Seven agents called in sick
Seven more called in to quit
Callers now are getting mean
And I don’t like their tone

Monitoring all around
Agents lying on the ground
Everyday I have to swim
Through these freaking acronyms

SL, C-Sat, CPH
AHT, I need a break
ASA – blown away
What else do I have to say?

The call center is on fire
The calls ain’t stopping
Many calls are dropping
The call center is on fire
All the phones keep ringing
Not sure why I’m singing

Skills-based routing, traffic peaks
Half the staff releasing shrieks
Shrinkage, blinking readerboards
50 calls in queue

Chat requests and emails swell
Agents don’t know how to spell
All our text is just a mess
I don’t know what to do

Coaching, motivating reps
Work-at-home or under desks
Customers now own our soul
Your call is important – hold

Twitter volume’s on the rise
Facebook too, I want to cry
Time to train? Hide the pain
Obviously I’m insane!

The call center is on fire
The calls ain’t stopping
Many calls are dropping
The call center is on fire
All the phones keep ringing
Not sure why I’m singing

For more customer care related song parodies, check out my “Contact Center Tunes” page, where you can listen to song samples and, if you feel so inclined, download full songs.  (Let me know what you think about “The Call Center Is on Fire” lyrics above – maybe I’ll record the song soon!)

4/4/2013 11:09:15 pm

This has to be one of the coolest funniest things I have seen in a while.

Greg, I love your business/pop culture connections!!!

4/4/2013 11:15:10 pm

Them there are some kind words, Michael -- thanks! Just for that, I'll be sure to send you a signed CD when the song goes gold. (Do people still listen to CDs? It's hard to sign an MP3 file.)

Thanks again for reading (and hopefully singing out loud).



4/5/2013 12:10:35 am

Another Levin classic for the ages

4/5/2013 12:18:13 am

Thanks, JR, but I worry about the future of humanity if a song like this ends up being one "for the ages".

Glad you enjoyed it, though!



4/5/2013 01:05:15 am

Call Center Entertainer of the Year! Kudos!!

4/5/2013 03:57:07 am

I appreciate that very much, Gene, but don't be so quick to hand me that award yet -- I hear Justin Bieber is coming out with a song about raising First-Call Resolution rates by providing agents with better desktop tools and training. Taylor Swift is reportedly singing back-up.

4/6/2013 01:28:20 am

too good. rhymes so well with the song...and lyrics so appropriate! Way to go!

4/7/2013 11:06:03 pm

Thank you Bhanu. It only took me a couple of YEARS to get every word and rhyme right. (Just kidding -- I actually rattled the lyrics off in about a day, but not without the help of some performance-enhancing drugs. I live in Austin -- same town where Lance Armstrong lives.)

4/8/2013 03:14:27 am

This song will surely be a hit! I wish there's also a song that will answer on how we can solve all these problems. A love song for our difficult customers or a love song to our intolerable bosses maybe? But I so love this song Greg.

4/8/2013 03:17:09 am

I'll get to work on just such a ballad, Cheyserr. Consider yourself my muse!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting.


4/9/2013 03:26:35 am

Fantastic! This should be the theme song for call centers everywhere. Sometimes it does really feel like you're swimming upstream day in and day out and it's all you can do to stay afloat. After a particularly bad call this song should automatically play for agents :)

4/9/2013 03:32:24 am

Thanks, Trish! Though I must say, I wrote the lyrics more with managers and supervisors in mind. Agents' pay is low enough for them to just quit when things get to be too much for them (you know, right after new-hire training). Meanwhile, most managers and supervisors get paid just enough to compel them to withstand the chaos and stress for years.

4/12/2013 03:38:38 am

Bravo! Encore! How about 'Miami 2017' next?

I've seen the lights go out on the boardreader-
I saw the Service Level low.
And life went on behind the Cubicles….

I’ll leave the rest to you!

4/12/2013 03:59:32 am

Amy, at first I thought you were inviting me to perform at a contact center conference in South Florida four years down the road. "Miami 2017" is not a Billy Joel title I immediately recognize.

Looks like you're off to a good start on the song parody, though.

Thanks for your comment, and your starter lyrics!

4/12/2013 05:35:47 am

Here ya go Greg! (no need to post)

4/12/2013 05:48:29 am

Way ahead of you, Amy -- I already googled the song and watched a video on YouTube. Thanks, though!

4/30/2013 10:46:42 pm

Just checked out some of your other songs...can't say it's not creative!!

5/27/2013 05:16:35 am

Impressive Greg, I never heard any call center music just now. This is a great song for all call center out there. This is a contribute to all agents, supervisors and managers who work hard. I really like the song. Thank you Greg for sharing.

5/5/2017 05:06:53 am

Thanks for sharing the information.


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