Dear Friends and Colleagues,
OK to play games, use PDAs, or cell phones in the call
center or service desk when you are working? Two
call center managers sent in these questions:
are an average sized incoming call center. (150 agents)
In the past we have been fairly restrictive in not
allowing agents to have cell phones, PDA's, handheld
games, etc. on the floor. What we are currently finding
is that many employees use their cell phones as a clock,
to know if a family member is trying to reach them or to
play games in between calls."
have had much discussion about why reading a book (which
is ok) is any different than playing a handheld game as
long as it is not distracting to others. Also, many
phones and PDA's help employees track their schedule,
trades, etc. We are wondering if it is time to revisit
our policy with the many changes in technology but are
very curious how other call centers are handling this."
"We have a representative on the phones who meets and
exceeds the daily call requirements yet she is logged
into the Internet for 6-7 hours per day, holding
personal chats, using Instant Messaging, and accessing
throughout the day. When someone is meeting their
performance reviews how do you tell them they can't be
doing these activities during work time? They don't feel
it is impacting their performance."
sent this question out to numerous people in the
industry to find out how they manage these issues.
responses are at the bottom of this issue of
personal feeling is that a cell phone should only be
allowed if a person is not distracted by it. The
world stopped for one of our team members when their
cell phone rang.
The cell phone became the priority over everything else. She
admitted it was a distraction to her too and found
leaving it in the car was a better solution.
ask our staff to leave their
ringers off. They need to be on silent or vibrate.
phone users are frequently the greatest culprits for
violating telephone etiquette. It's a distraction to others when
all sorts of different ringers go off.
People on cell phones also tend to forget that they don't
have to talk that loud.
Accessing the Internet during work hours should be
permitted as long as access is
educational or stimulating in a positive manner.
During one of my client assessments, I came across
someone accessing the Internet for stimulation but it
wasn't for professional reasons. What was displayed on
the monitor wasn't
something that should ever be permitted at work.
If you allow Internet access, be sure random
checks are done to know what is being accessed and that
it isn't offensive to others.
Bottom line: If the people are getting the job
done, meeting their goals, and not disrupting the work
environment, you may want to permit these activities. It
could be good for morale and keep people's minds
stimulated during slow times.
Until the next issue of
eSharings, may you not have to listen to everyone else's
cell phone conversations.
High Tech High Touch Solutions
JUST FOR FUN!
If you decide to let your staff 'play' on the Internet
see if they can fly this helicopter.
Be careful, it's addicting.
ONLY 20 rooms are left at the Hyatt in San Antonio.
Christine Cameron at
425-398-9292 to get one of the last rooms.
Send your managers to the
8th Annual Help Desk Professionals
Conference and Expo.
They will learn the key factors to guarantee successful
operations are designed and incredible service is
delivered by your corporate asset, the Frontline.
You will not hear the same old thing at this event.
We are going to ensure you get the tools you need to
move your team to the next advanced level of support.
Will you join me in San
September 25-27, 2006?
Sign up here!
Offers "New" Information
If you've wanted to
build a Service Desk, if you want to hear proven ways to run a Service Desk, or if you're already
begin to design a Service Desk, there's only one place
you should be September 25, 26, and 27, 2006. At the
8th Annual Help Desk Professionals
Conference and Expo, the
premier event for Service Desk Professionals.
Tech High Touch Solutions understands how important time
and resources are to our industry. Attending
conferences is not always at the top of people's lists
with so many constraints on the business and budget
considerations. And why
go to an event to hear the same thing you hear every
8th Annual Help Desk
Professionals Conference and Expo is unique. Speakers
are required to be highly interactive in their
discussions and present:
Pete McGarahan teaches
Management Foundations Certification
Covey delivers the Government Symposium and Peggy Gritt
presents the VoIP workshop, all day sessions prior to
See the entire content-loaded program details.
offers our Readers a RealityCheck!
Through HDP, you will
Simply enter your current data using promo code
DRU for an immediate Performance Rating (valued
Meet Dru September 27 in San
Antonio to have a Ďhands oní review and track YOUR
or 805 331-6284.
Will you join us in San
Antonio and be part of the exclusive group who join top
leaders in our industry for these in-depth
educational sessions, and take-home templates, handouts,
and loads of resources, plus a flash drive with all of
the presentations pre-loaded?
event partners (sponsors) to join us and make a
contribution to the exclusive community of practice at
8th Annual Help Desk Professionals
Conference and Expo.
Cell Phone and PDA Etiquette
want to consider pulling some ideas from these websites
and create your own wireless device etiquette procedures
to provide to your call center and service desk team.
(There are people in restaurants who should get a copy
Readers answering the
question, "Is it OK to play games, use PDAs, or cell
phones in the call center or service desk when you are
1. We have a formal policy document on this, but I'll
cut to the chase. Cell phones - On vibrate or no ring,
and only for emergency contact. Internet - Standard no
bad sites, no burning up toner on non-business stuff.
PCs - Refrain from downloading the world. Don't download
games. Set temp files to clean.
PDAs and other technologies - If it makes noise, or
your not working, it doesn't work for us.
Here is where I deviate from most other call centers.
For the most part, I really don't care if youíre on the
Internet when I'm walking by. My policy is "At the end
of the month, your stats are yours to own. If you are
performing, then I have no beef with you. If you are
not, I'm going to ask you why you are on the Internet
when your stats are in the toilet. Also, we are rarely
slow enough to have time to read books or surf online.
If we are this slow, I start pulling people off the
phones to perform other duties including cleaning the
marketing materials reference cabinet, re-writing
training manuals, answering letters from Consumer
Affairs, or other.
The noise restrictions are simply to keep the office
2. I would be happy to share our thoughts on the
issue with [name withheld]. We do not allow cell phone
use in the call center. However, we allow games to be
played as well as Internet searching allowed
(appropriate sites). We don't allow cell phones as we
don't want a rep getting a call while on a call with a
consumer and then try and put the consumer on hold to
answer the call. However, they can use their cell during
breaks and lunches. We do ask, however, that they leave
the call center area when using their phone so as not to
With game playing and Internet searching we allow it
as long as it does not in any way impact quality or
efficiency. If someone's wrap and idle times goes up, we
may look at the person's Internet activity. If it is
high, we'll suggest this could be a reason for the
If we are noticing while monitoring that a rep sounds
distracted or is having trouble listening we again
research to see if the issue is game play or internet
(or book reading or whatever else). If we find in our
conversations with reps that it is negatively impacting
consumers, we would agree that game play or whatever, be
suspended until performance improves. We have seldom had
this be an issue.
Note: this response is from Nintendo
3. We do not allow this kind of thing. No cell
phones, PDA, Walkmanís, Games. In fact we donít allow
anyone to be on the Internet except for business use.
4. Because we wanted to foster a supportive
environment (family life balance) at both xxx and here
at xxx, we let people have cell phones as long as on
vibrate, with a few policies: not allowed to put
customer on hold to answer phone or leave meeting to
answer unless urgent. However, I told them my family
"code" of <if I don't answer first time calling and it's
emergency, call back again> - and suggested they use the
same thing. I found it better to have my staff focused
on the job knowing their family could get a hold of them
when necessary. In turn, I found they respected their
work time because I allowed this freedom. Also, we found
it cut down on calls through the xxx switch reserving it
for customers and long distance charges too.
As far as PDA's - I encourage my staff to use
technology. Partly because of the nature of xxx's
business but also because they could keep their schedule
synced on it so they wouldn't have excuse to be late.
Additionally, keeping them excited about technology
tends to foster the excited about solving technical
If they chose to play game in their own break time
(vs. reading a book, go for walk, etc), that wasn't
something I felt I had right to ask them not to do. It's
their time. I considered it a brain-break. As far as
doing this between calls, they typically had enough to
do that it wasn't a problem.... We assigned project work
to everyone whether it be reviewing/writing
Knowledgebase articles or internal training procedures,
5. We do not have a policy around cell phone usage
although I believe we have "unwritten" rules similar to
what [name withheld] has at xxx.
We do however have a strict policy about playing
games at work and the answer is it's not allowed -
period. We do not even although this to occur during
breaks or lunches at an employees desk. We have found
that there is a huge perception issue when playing
games, even if on your own time. It never fails that
this is when the VP's walk through the department. We
then are put into a position of explaining why we need
as many people as we have (which is never a good
conversation to bring on in a call center environment).
We currently do not have a lot of employees with
PDA's so this is not an issue for us at this time.
6. We donít allow things that make noise or that
distract people like games or cell phones when they are
in the work area. We ask analysts to return personal
phone calls on breaks or lunches, and all analysts have
direct extensions to help eliminate the need for a cell
phone. Silent games, books, web surfing are allowed when
analysts are on break/lunch in their work areas, and
anything, noisy or not, is allowed outside of earshot.
We also have a foosball table in a nearby room for
HELP DESK PROFESSIONALS CONFERENCE AND EXPO
Have you signed up yet to attend? Because if you
haven't there are only two weeks left to get the early
bird discount and the phenomenal hotel room rates we
have arranged for you.
The HDP 2006 special room
rate at the Hyatt Regency is $179.00 per night, a
savings of $180.00 off the regular room rate of $359.00.
Please see the detailed program.
You won't want to miss this.
hope you enjoyed this edition of
Feel free to reprint this
newsletter in its entirety with our copyright
subscribe visit our website at
or reply to this copy with
subscribe in the subject line. To unsubscribe click
the link at the bottom of this email that says
will contain links to sites
on the Internet, which are owned and operated by third
parties. High Tech High Touch Solutions, Inc. is
not responsible for the content of any such third-party