The Call Centre Olympics


With only 7 days until the Olympics opening ceremony I thought I’d get in tune with the Olympic Spirit; I present to you the inaugural call-centre Olympiad. This will consist of three call-centre games:

1.)  Call centre hold’em:

This game utilizes both the telephones hold button and an agents fine-tuned judgement, and though it comes from a work of fiction, the book eight minutes idle,  the writer Matt Thorne himself worked in a call centre so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that this game was once played for real.

The protaganist Dan explains the rules:

Keeping callers on hold is a fun game, if a hard one to judge. The temptation is to hang on as long as possible, but then if they hang up you lose all your points, and as we’ve got an open-ended competition running between our team, it’s sometimes safer to settle for a run of small scores. Ade has the record for longest single hold (43 minutes 18 seconds), but in the overall competition I’m leading with an accumulative score of nearly two hours.

2.) Word-sneak:

This game comes courtesy of JL who was one of the interviewees for the call centre interview series. The object is to write a word down on paper and then “sneak” that word into the conversation without raising the customers suspicions.

To make this into more of an Olympic style event the rules have been codified to include a points system with the most challenging words attracting the highest number of points.

3.) Mute button hold:

This is my personal addition to the call centre Olympics. The mute button hold is loosely related to call-centre hold-em, but has a number of key differences with the main difference being that  in the mute game you simply take the call with your mute button on. The challenge is then to hold-out for as long as possible without being noticed by management. It is a test of nerve. The prize for winning is 10-15 seconds breathing space and an improvement to you call average for the day. On the other hand losing can mean your averages go up as the mute time is added to your call handling time.

Again for the Olympics a few rule changes are needed. The format for this will be a knockout with agents facing-off against each other. Both answer on mute with the winner being the agent who holds out the longest. Bouts can also be won by achieving a hang-up.

Let the games begin.

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3 thoughts on “The Call Centre Olympics

  1. Pingback: Combining work and play; Can working in a call centre be fun? | The Secret Diary of a Call Centre

  2. Lol!! So funny!! I’ve either done myself or seen all of these!!
    My friend & I started putting the really rude customers on hold–in the same way that a parent will give a screaming child a “time out”. Sometimes the customer calmed down enough so they could actually be reasoned with. Most of the time they just hung up. Then on to the next call. Not much in the way of “service”, but when you deal with almost constant irate customers, it does get tiring. And we werent allowed to do anything to really help them anyway. Another case of “policies” taking precedence over the poor customers.
    No way would I do this at my current call center though. I’d get spoken to for sure, and plus at this place we can actually do quite a bit to help customers. Makes a big difference.

    • I think that’s the key really. If, as an agent, you can help it’s far easier to deal with the difficult customers. If though you are prevented by policies, or system limitations then you’re stuck in a position where customers get frustrated, agents burnt out and no one wins – basically the Toxic Call Centre

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