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Quality control specialist overcomes odds: helps others succeed professionally

This quality control monitor in a call center has overcome poverty, racism, a broken home, and growing up in a neighborhood riddled with gang violence, and has found a career he loves helping others succeed at their jobs.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
My job title is Quality Monitor. I have been in this position for just over 5 years.

Would you describe the things you do on a typical day?
The easiest, and most effective way to describe my job is to repeat a phrase that we all have heard at one time or another:

“This call may be monitored and recorded for quality assurance and accuracy purposes.”

I am sure when the majority of people hear that phrase, it is simply regarded as some form of jargon that really doesn’t mean anything. But, the fact of the matter is that calls really are monitored and recorded for quality assurance and accuracy purposes. Each day, I pull up a list of calls recorded from the past day and listen to them for some key elements. I have access to the employees computer screen, so I can see what they see. As the call progresses, I follow along, making sure the questions are answered correctly, the right steps are taken, and most importantly, insure that the customer is treated with the utmost respect. I grade the employees performance, and send that information to their supervisor for immediate praise, or punishment, dependent upon the situation. I also take this information, and compile it for upper management for trending reports.

What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what response worked best?
Being an African American man, I had previously been discriminated against in other jobs. I used those experiences as motivation to work even harder, and become better in my trade. The fortunate part about my current position is that there is no room for interpretation. The facts speak for themselves. If an employee delivers less than stellar customer service, it is evident during the call, a fact that cannot be disputed.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?
I am extremely satisfied with my job. Of course, there is always room for improvement. Sometimes we are a bit under-staffed, which can make the end of the month very stressful. And who would complain about more money? Overall, I would give my job an 8 out of 10.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?
I learned the hard way that not everyone enjoys being critiqued. Personally, I want my supervisor to let me know immediately if I am not meeting expectations. What other way is there to know what you need to do better? But, there are those that do not appreciate being told that they are not performing up to standards. Fairly early in my monitoring career, I was approached in the parking lot by an employee that was not happy with the scores he had been given. Though the conversation started peacefully, it soon escalated to a physical confrontation. Luckily, company security was made aware very early on of potential violence, and the employee was engaged by security before he could engage me. It was a good lesson to learn, and a reminder that we each have our own temperaments, talents, and convictions, and it is important to know how to communicate with someone while keeping this in mind.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
It sure would have been nice if they had taught office etiquette in school. There are so many things you don’t learn in Corporate America until you do it wrong and someone brings it to your attention.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I ended up in this position due to my experience in customer service. I spent a few years on the phone and was considered one of the best in the company. After numerous commendations my boss recommended me for a monitoring position. Upper management reviewed my record, and agreed with his recommendation. If I had known management was looking to fill the position, I would have started working towards it earlier.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
There really aren’t that many strange things that have happened to me during my tenure. I was once approached by an employee offering to park my car for me in the morning so I wouldn’t have so far to walk if I would give him higher scores. Weird, I know! Needless to say, I did not take him up on his offer.

On a good day when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
Most days I leave the office with a great sense of accomplishment. I know that at the end of the day, I am ensuring that customers calling in are getting the same service I want when I call in to another company.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?
There are times when absolutely nothing seems to go right, and those are some of the worst days. This is typically due to system issues. Calls not recording, computers not loading, etc. When this happens I have to sit with the employees side by side and grade their calls while they are on them. This can be very distracting for the employee, and somewhat uncomfortable for both of us. Those are some pretty tough days, to say the least.


How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?

My job is mildly stressful, but nothing compared to other high stress jobs, like law enforcement or firefighters. It really isn’t hard to separate work and home. Although, if I have to call in to customer service, such as for my cell phone or cable, it can be like being at work all over again!

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?
My job pays around $30,000 a year. I have to say I feel adequately compensated for the amount of work that I do, although I wouldn’t complain if my boss offered me a raise.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?
The most rewarding moment I had in my current position came when an employee who was close to being terminated due to poor performance was awarded a certificate for outstanding achievement, and when he received it he thanked me in front of the department, saying it was because of my diligent scoring that he was able to turn his performance around.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
I am not sure if my four year degree in Literature helped me in getting this position. I do know for sure that my people skills are essential.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
I would advise a friend looking to get into this line of work to really consider the fact that people aren’t going to always be open to what you have to tell them. But, in the long run, it will be in their best interest to take what you say for what it is worth.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I tend to take about three weeks of vacation a year. I think it is enough, and I get a chance to relax, without getting too backed up.

Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
The common misunderstanding I would want to clear up about my job is, like stated before, there really are people listening to calls and providing feedback to the employees.

Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?
My job definitely moves my heart. I know I am helping to make someone’s day each time they call in to one of our employees.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
In five years, I would like to be CEO of my company. Sounds cliché, but I enjoy the company I work for, and I would love to take the company in some new directions!

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
When considering my experiences and accomplishments, I like people to know that I was actually born and raised in one of the poorest communities in the United States. I survived gangs, poverty, and a broken home, and managed to accomplish all of this!

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  • I remember making $5.15 an hour working at a grocery store in Flora, MS I often thought I would never see a better life outside that meat department because it was what I was always told. I moved to Michigan to help care for my mother and gained employment with Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. on the job I again had to face hurdles like working under supervisors who wanted to hinder your success. I stayed on tasked and through hard work and dedication worked my way up tp account manager and after being a follower I can say I am now a great leader who takes pride in the ones working under me for their success also determines mine.

  • My mom was a single mother after my father passed away when I was just 3 and a half years old. I grew up very angry and confused; I was scared to be alone and had an irrational fear of my mother dying. As I got into my teens, I started smoking, drinking and abusing drugs to self medicate. After multiple suicide attempts, I was diagnosed as being bipolar. I failed my 3rd semester in college ans felt my life spiraling out of control. I had to support myself, so I started applying for a job. I was soon hired on with my first call center.

    Being hired on in my first call center to provide technical support for Gateway computers (when Windows 98 was barely out!) gave me the opportunity to channel my feelings of no control into something I could control; the resolution to problems. I have always been a problem solver and I have always wanted to help people. Answering phone call after phone call of frustrated and upset customers, then leaving them laughing, satisfied and with their computer issues solved, gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

    I was able to successfully overcome my many addictions by channeling my time and energy into learning as much as I could about computer hardware and software. Once out of training, I made new friends at work who shared my new passion and left my old life behind. I worked as much as I could to keep myself occupied.

    Since then, I have worked in several call centers. I worked in call centers for Ameritrade, PayPal and Mutual of Omaha. I understand his passion for what he does. I always loved speaking with customers, even the irate ones! I loved solving their problems and answering questions, clarifying anything for which they had concerns. I agree that call quality is one of the most important aspect of customer service positions, because you never know what impact you may have on someone. This is a wonderful read and I couldn’t agree more that this type of job will move your heart!

  • I work in a call center for the # 1 Home Improvement Retailer in the world, Home Depot and their Retail Staffing Division is where I work as a Staffing Specialist, so I am very familiar with Quality Assessments of phone calls because we have a team that monitors us and scores us weekly to let us know how well we are doing. I have reached Platinum Status because of my Customer Service and Communication skills along with Building Relationships with the candidates I interview, the Field (Store) Management teams and internal management team. This story sounds so familiar. My ultimate goal is to ensure that every caller I encounter hangs up smiling and knowing I have their best interest with regards to their future employment opportunities with The Home Depot.
    I love my job as this person loved his job. I compete with no one but myself because only I can push myself more than anyone else ever will. I know God placed me in this field to be an encourager and builder of others who doubt their capabilities. I love seeing what God has in store for me each day and I always leave knowing I did my best. I live by the golden rule, treat others as I want to be treated and never have someone to say or do anything I am not willing to say or do. This was a very awesome post, I enjoyed reading it.

  • This career story was by far one of the most captivating stories that I read. I believe this is so because I can attest and emphasize with many of the same experiences. His background certainly hits home due to the fact that I too have overcome surviving a broken home, violence, and many other tribulations that one may face while living in under-priveleged communities. Through all of the trials that I faced throughout my childhood, I was still able to be successful. I found quality life values through each and every experience I faced.

    I like to consider myself “innovative by accident.” Growing up with just one parent, I was forced into maturity at a young age. I saw my mother working diligently day in and day out to provide a comfortable lifestyle for my brother and I. My mother did everything she could for us. My neighborhood, my hometown on the north-side of Minneapolis, Minnesota is a very unsafe and almost warlike environment to live in as a child.

    Protecting my brother and I, my mother moved my family to DeSoto, Texas. New environment, new people, new climate, new way of life; moving all the way from Minnesota to Texas was one of the biggest changes I had ever been through in my life. Imagine going from the Mall of America to horseback riding and gun shows. I went from being literally all the way up North to being all the way down South. It was challenging, especially at the age of eleven. But from seeing how strenuously my mom always worked to make things work out, I too had to do the same.

    From this big migration in my life I learned how to connect and work with all different kinds of people from all different kinds of backgrounds creating a union. Now I enjoy meeting and being able to work with people of diverse lifestyles. As such, this is the main reason ventured off for college. It is somewhat of a familiar challenge for me to once again move across America and meet new people.

    Becoming apart of a diverse college community, I continue to promote hard work amongst my peers creating an environment in which everyone has that drive to be persistent with their work and achieving their goals in life. It’s just how I was raised.

  • You’re story was compelling, one
    that I can say I have the utmost respect for. I commend you on your efforts to
    strive for excellence despite your disadvantages. I’m quite familiar with your
    job position, but failed to realize its importance until reading your story.

    I can testify to enduring similar
    experiences with discrimination/sexism both in the workplace, educational
    environment, and public. Though I witnessed and experienced the stereotypical
    comments and racial slurs, I wasn’t discouraged, but rather entertained. Born
    of African Natives, and working in a predominately white-male job and attending
    a predominately white college was an experience that promoted me to a new
    career endeavor and sent me off to a one-way ticket to a full scholarship. There’s
    always the “no you can’t” and “it’s only because you’re black” thoughts that
    make people think otherwise of their abilities, but for me…my only set back was
    letting “them” win. When it comes to talent, passion, and influence, there’s no
    color or sexual identification.

    The best reward in my line of work
    is knowing you have accomplished meeting the customer/client’s needs and
    knowing you’re valued by your company. Feedback is key in making improvement.
    Reading that your involvement effectively impacted another’s performance and
    kept them from being terminated makes me think about just how your role is an
    asset to the team. Not only do we attract others to the business, but make the
    company better. I appreciate your story. Thanks!

  • I had faced many hard
    obstacles in my life and thought that I would never make it but overcame many
    hardships. Even though I had a lot of difficulties working two jobs and going
    to school, I never gave up. All my life I worked hard to be where I am today.
    In 2008 I was elected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities
    & Colleges in recognition of outstanding merit and accomplishment as an undergraduate
    student at Southern Connecticut State University. I believe in hard work
    and that with God all things are possible. I am a success story because I made
    the impossible possible. I am a great role model for students who have a huge
    disadvantage in society and do not believe that they will ever make it in
    school or become successful in life. I have the ability in all that I do to be
    successful and i will love to encourage others to never give up on their educational goals or dreams.

  • Customer Service can be fulfilling for those who have a talent for it. It takes a selfless person who is compassionate and get great joy serving and helping others no matter what the form of service is. For the most part, you have to remember that we deal with people from all walks of life. Everyday won’t be a good day for some. You have to know how to humble yourself and realize nothing is personal. Some are just having a bad day and some needs someone to listen to. At the end of the day, it brings me great joy to know I have made someone’s day or serviced a customer in some type of way. When you do what you love the results show.

  • You can succeed at any job as long as you take every day serious and
    treat it like it will be your last job. I have learned the hard way,
    that even if you’re in the mail room you still can move up if you show
    you want to be successful.

  • I know all to well about customer service. My husband has worked at a call center for almost 5 years now. He is always stressed when he comes home from all the people cussing at him all day. But we had no other choice we married young and had two kids. We hardly see him and he works alot of overtime to make ends meet. He tries his best to please his co-workers and his managers so he can move up in the company and not spend his life being put down by people when all he tries to do is fix there issues.

  • Customer service is one of the most challenging fields to work in. You deal with people form all walks of life. the service industry has its rewards and challenges. I look forward to seeing the smile on my customer’s faces when I have made their day or helped them feel better with something simple such as a smile or thank you. It is refreshing to read about a someone overcoming their obstacles to acheive their heart’s desire instead of playing the blame game. This story is inspiring!