TOP 10 signs your call center will be laid off soon

Here at IRQportz, we are sensitive to the recent transitions made at AOL. We wish nothing but the best of luck for those who were let go, and that they have strength during the uncertain road ahead.

That being said, we want to help our fellow techs by sharing our analysis of this process. There are warning signs that your call center may be closing soon. If you see them, it is best to make preparations early, and not be caught off guard. In no particular order:

# 10) A new call center opens in India. Company spokesmen are abuzz about the new "world class talent", that will "take the product to the next level."

# 9) The local news mentions a new Walmart will be built, its address is strangely similar to your call center.

# 8 ) At the weekly raffle, instead of giving away Game boy advance, the prize is a month's supply of Ramen.

# 7) You catch your supervisor surfing monster.com.

# 6) You catch your site manager surfing monster.com.

# 5) Some important exec says the company needs to "streamline its infrastructure."

# 4) Your site manager sends a mass email assuring you everything is ok.

# 3) When you go to your workstation, you find a rotory phone and a spiral notebook where your computer used to be.

# 2) The company fails to throw a big party on employee appreciation day, instead, the main event is a janitorial staff talent show.

# 1) The company issues a press release stating they do not respond to unofficial rumors.

Again, if you see any of these signs, it may be time to check into some alternatives for employment.

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Disclaimer:  This site is not endorsed or maintained by any company or corporate entity. The opinions herein are solely those of the authors. Topics on this blog consist of a wide variety including but not limited to Internet technology, and bladder control.

8 responses to “TOP 10 signs your call center will be laid off soon”

  1. Joe M. says :

    I personally find this post un-called for. No job is 100% secure or guaranteed; and if people’s attitudes continue to dwindle down, like what you’ve showcased here; then obviously the service center will close. In response to a few “reasons” that you cited; which are incorrect:

    #10: There was not a new call center that opened in India. The misconception; was that Premium Services was relocated to Phillipines, which was a fairly long transitioning process. First was Tucson, then Odgen (UT). We did well as a site, all aside the politics.

    #9: Coincidence.

    #8: Pathetic. Those prizes did cost money; and no (for those not there) there was no giveaway of Ramen. Did you pay for them, no. Maybe if you realize why they must give incentives you wouldn’t be criticizing the process.

    #7 & #6: You would kidding yourself if you dont look ahead the horizon. Its okay to remain competitive in this akward IT/Tech market lately. You and I work in a call center. Lowest man on the corporate totem pole. Everyone should have a Monster account. Don’t forget about HotJobs too 😉 Lets take the phrase “Its not if your computer will crash, but when it will”… that can apply to this. Its not IF you choose to leave AOL, but when. We don’t expect to, but the possibility is there whether we admit it or not.

    #5: Communication is imporant in times of uncertainty, especially the time when our friends at Retention were informed of the disappointing news. If you run a business the bottom line is what it is. “Streamlining” is what must be done, optimizing their resources. Do I personally agree with the decisions – no. As far as a business decision – Yes. Call Volume is down; (either/or) due to less members, or they are becoming more self-sufficient and savvy.

    #4: Ditto.

    #3: Funny.

    #2: That’s very disrespectful. First off, EAD’s cost money believe it or not. Thats money they don’t have to spend, but they pull it from the bottom line to reward you for working in that center and company. Second, the custodial staff does an excellent job maintaining the cleanliness and sanitariness of the building.

    #1: Incorrect. No press releases were released regarding that. AOL does respond to media inquiries (whether fact, rumor, or otherwise).

    My opinion is that someone (out of a group of you) have the tenacity to remain professional and informed especially when you choose to talk about company business. Maybe I took this comment to far, but you didn’t explicitly state the intent of your posting. As I stated, I find this posting very offensive.

  2. Irqportz says :

    Joe, this top ten list was not aol specific, if you notice the names of the positions were generalized. It is for any call center employee to read and potentially identify with.

    I thought that was obvious with the rotory phone comment.

  3. irqportz says :

    I’m with my fellow irqportz’er here. It was something that we generalized. We posted this in the style of hyperbole than fact. We know a call center in India didn’t open but that is where the jobs tend to go when such issues arise. Ramen, janitorial talent shows, and the like were meant to be exaggerations, hence “hyperbole, which in our opinion adds humor.

    I feel bad for those who were laid off and we do wish them the best but being in call centers ourselves it made us realize that our jobs could be in jeopardy as well, and that maybe… just maybe… we’ll be on the “call center hit list” with a Bengali sniper armed with a headset, college degree, and the name of Paul.

    And yes the janitorial staff rocks the hizzy to no end… in more ways than one.

  4. Irqportz says :

    Hello, I double second that with my irqportz colleagues. The situation was generalized, not aimed towards AOL’s direction in particular. It seems to be a trend many corporations are following nowadays; they start up a few centers doing scientific research, call centers, weapons manufacturing, etc. Once the numbers “look good” then they open up establishments in other countries. They begin to test the integrity of the overseas establishment, and look at numbers, costs to operate, and profit margin and compare it to the establishments already in our country. When the event horizen of foreign transgression is complete, the chronic plague of layoffs begin in America. During the last dark days of their American employment, the wholesome employess will no longer worship the fertile god, Amun-Ra, they will worship the shoddy god, Amen-Ramen, hoping for salty noodle prizes instead of decent paid vacations to exotic spots in the world.
    The truth is out there. It’s looking for you and it will find you, if you want it to.

  5. SL says :

    The top 10 reasons! LOL I love it. It’s funny how some people get so offended by something so light hearted. Geez, get over it people… you’re the reason the workday is more stressful than it should be. Lighten up, lay off the caffiene, or hell… perhaps get laid? Do it not just for yourselves, but for everyone’s sake.

    The post was funny but also thought provoking…

    I am not one who regularly advocates to question “the man” or bite the hand that feeds you. However, during my tenure I have always come to question the routine corporate “double speak” that occurs on a regular basis. Call it being an instigator or whatever you want but a lot of what was in the press release and internal communications did not make much sense considering the moves that were made. If you beleive in something it is more than understandable to emotionally defend it. It is best, however, to have fact to base your opions on.

    Remember this? This little snippet was taken straight from the internal memo sent out after the layoffs happened:

    “Most importantly, these are not merely cost cutting measures. Rather, return on investment and call volume reductions that can be attributed to the greater stability of our client software and the successes of our multi-channel and self-support efforts”

    My questions are this:
    1. Member savvyness and self-help:
    So members are more savvy and they utilize the self-help portions of the service in greater numbers. OK. That would explain a necessity to procede with a layoff in tech… not necessarily retention. The last time I checked, it is still not possible to cancel your account online. Savvy or not a member still has to call a phone numer to cancel.

    2. Lower Call Volumes.
    How much ‘A’ time have you had recently? Statistically speaking, AOL is losing members in record numbers. 24 million members to under 18 million in just over a year… numbers like that don’t incinuate lower call volumes in saves, but higher. AOL Tucson Saves was the recent centerpiece in the New York investigation and eventual settlement. That site had the lowest saves rate company-wide. Once the settlement was reached those numbers got worse. Coincidence? I think not. Return on Investment? Bingo.

    3. Stability of our client software
    You’ve got to be kidding me, right? AOL is the king of releasing updates that either (1) kills a portion of its own service or (2) kills a part of the client that requires a DNR… the malware “issue” , the ACS bug that requires a full DNR to replace ACS, the recent email problems? Stable my backside. It would be stable if those tinkering monkeys would just leave well enough alone.

    I have always considered management here to be incompetent, and nothing they’ve done recently has convinced me otherwise. I don’t say that as a blanket statement. The fact is, most of the corporate justifications for actions taken are either ambiguous or don’t make any sense. In the actual memo sent when the layoffs happened I believed about 10% to be true. I have come to the conclusion that my original assessment was about right. The official reasons given for the move, when you closely examine them, are contradictory.

    flame away… 🙂

  6. Dawn Davenport says :

    American call centers will be completely obsolete by 2012. The average salary of a customer service representative in the U.S. is $25,000 while the cost in the Philippines and India is $2,800 and $1,600, respectively. Companies hope to reduce incoming call volumes by purposely routing calls overseas, so that cosumers become frustrated by language barriers and hesitate to call at all. Companies do not care about providing “service” to customers, they only care about profits.

  7. Vince says :

    Hmmmm…Dawn’s got a quite scathing report on the corporate dynamic there. It is no secret that companies are trying to cut costs and make a profit. Isn’t that the point? Everyone acts as though they wouldn’t do the same thing, but when the shareholders are looking to you (the board) to secure their interests AND the company’s future, well, you gotta make a couple of unpopular decisions. The problem is the work ethic and wage demands by every slack jawed, messy haired, MTV cribs wannabe out there who feels he or she is too good for the job or isn’t getting paid enough and thus refuses to put out. Hey! You want more money? Then out-perform! Make our numbers yours, and own the company’s success. Then we may not necessarily need to outsource everything to countries where people are actually content to work for lower wages so we can cut costs and stay afloat in a turbulent global society. Sure, align yourself with a company that has a strong foothold in the market, but take credit for its success’ and losses. AOL was a pioneer in its own right. But most of the pioneers didn’t survive either!

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