Inside Tech Support

An insider's view of the OOL technical support call center. I am an OOL techical support representative and I've created this blog to give you an insight into the workings of the call center as well as help you get inside the mind of the guy who is helping you.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Management's obsession - Part II

When you call in, do you ever have the feeling you are talking to a machine? That the techs all say the same thing in the same way? That their speech pauses in awkward places in their opening? Do the techs ever repeat your questions back to you as a statement or talking around an issue instead of saying no? If so, it is all because of BPA.

BPA is management's other obsession, their most important tech statistic of all. As stated previously, this stat has nothing to do with your technical ability to fix the customer's problem. In fact you can completely botch the call and you can still score a 100%! All that matters is that the tech says the proper things to the customer. This stat counts for 50% of a tech's rating.

As usual with Cablevision, on paper this looks good but it fails miserably in practice. You are monitored, randomly, 3 times a month. For Each call you are graded on the following:

  • Corporate Response
  • Uses Positive Words and Phrases
  • Upbeat Tone / Sounds Interested
  • Bridges One Part of Call to Another
  • Filling Silences
  • Offers Help Before Being Asked
  • Actively Listens
  • Acknowledges Customer/Offers Action
  • Identifies Needs
  • Takes Ownership
  • Focuses on Solution
  • Summarizes/Gains Agreement
  • Closes Call Politely

Corporate Response
The opening of all calls should techs should be the same: Cablevision, Technical support, my name is Joey, how may I help you. Sounds reasonable, right? But in practice Cablevision fucks it all up. They expect a half second pause between each phrase. If you don't pause, you get it marked wrong. I can understand the desire not to have a tech give you a run on sentence: CablevisionTechnicalsupportmynameisJoeyhowmay Ihelpyou, but enforcing a pause for each phrase is ridiculous. In my experience, all a customer needs to here is Cablevision or Technical support and they jump in and start talking. Meanwhile you are trying to finish your Corporate Response. So you're fucked both ways, you are either marked wrong for interrupting the customer or you are marked wrong for not finishing the Corporate Response. But wait, the micro managing of the call gets better.

Uses Positive Words and Phrases
This should be titled Does not use negative words. That's right, you can't tell the customer No. Or you can't tell the customer they are doing something wrong. You have to talk around it. Even if a customer asks a simple question. Does Optimum Online support IMAP? You can't say No. You have to word it so you don't hurt the customer's feelings. Optimum online supports POP but we do offer a Webmail service that holds 20 MB. If the customer doesn't really understand why you didn't answer his straightforward question and asks again, Does Optimum Online support IMAP? You have to answer the same thing again, maybe word it a bit differently: We have Webmail that holds 20 MB of email. All the customer wants to hear is Yes or No. But the morons in management feel that the customer cannot handle hearing a simple No. To show how ridiculous this metric is try this yourself, go 8 hours without saying a negative word to anyone. If there is one thing I've learned while dealing with customers is that they don't want to be bullshitted, they want a straight answer.

Bridges One Part of Call to Another
This has to do with transfers to other departments and it is one metric I agree with. If you need to transfer the call you should 1) tell the customer you are going to transfer them, 2)contact the other representative 3) put the other rep on hold and tell the customer you are going to transfer them and 4) transfer the customer. The call center rule is wait 30 seconds while trying to contact the other department, if there is a queue, then go back to the customer, explain there is a wait and then transfer them into the queue. There is nothing to quibble about here, this is just good customer service. EVERY tech should get this correct, no excuses.

I have been corrected by someone in the comments.

Bridges One Part of Call to Another This standard has nothing to do with transfers. If you recall correctly, what they want you to do here is to use full sentences and avoid short sharp questions and statements (ex: Name?)

This is almost as stupid as the next metric, Filling Silences. Tech support is all about giving the customer step by step instructions. Instructions are short, abrupt, quick and to the point. They are not full sentences. This is yet another instance where BPA fails in the real world.

Filling Silences
This is among the most annoying metric of all. If I am silent it is because I am working on your problem. I am probably running a variety of tests on your modem/pc/email, etc but they expect me to fill silences with babble. Even if I try to cover myself with Please bear with me while I run some tests, BANG marked wrong for not using positive phrases. We often have to wait for the customer's PC to reboot. With some of those dinosaur PC's it takes quite a while to boot. What am I supposed to say during that time? Make small talk? So, what's the weather like by you? How's the wife and kids? Got any nekkid pics of your wife?...Want some?.

Offers Help Before Being Asked
What the fuck does this mean? I don't know. My Corporate Response already asks how may I help you? What else do they want? And yes, management's guidelines on this are extensive......HA!

Actively Listens
This is related to if you ask a customer to repeat himself. I've asked a customer for his phone number, entered in our ticket tracking program Remedy and had it crash. After I restarted it, I had to ask the customer for his phone number again, explaining my program crashed. Yep, another black mark. It is also difficult to Actively Listen when the customer babbles on and on and on and on about multiple or completely unrelated issues. When you try to get the customer to clarify their problem, you run the risk of being marked wrong. This service sucks, it is sometimes static or I cannot hear the other person, and when I call my brother's wife's daughter's therapist who says his phone service from you also stinks and my PC is running really slow since I got the phone and I cannot get any voicemails and I was unable to call American Idol the other week....... Now of course all this is said before you can even ask for their phone number to bring up their account. And then you have to say So exactly what is wrong? BANG! Black mark.

Acknowledges Customer/Offers Action
Here we must emphasize with the customer. I'm sorry that you are having such an issue, I'll help you with that. What a condescending load of shit. Note that you are not apologizing. It is an empty bullshit phrase. You don't know any of the details yet, all you heard is the initial customer complaint. Apologize when you hear the full story, when you know it is Cablevision's fault. The customer doesn't want to hear empty phrases, they want action.

Identifies Needs
Doesn't the customer do this for you already? They are the ones that called up and asked for help.

Takes Ownership

Focuses on Solution
I was trying to focus on the solution but I was too busy Filling Silences with empty babble.

Summarizes/Gains Agreement
Yeah, this is a brilliant one. After a 45 minute call I'm supposed to go over what we did in detail. After you solve the customer's problem, all they want to do is get off the damn phone, they don't want to hang around to hear you summarize shit. Gaining Agreement is asking them if you can help them with anything else. Let's say I have a pissed off customer that I was unable to help. Now I'm supposed to Gain Agreement? I say: Is there anything else I can help you with? He says: Fuck you! You didn't help me with my original problem! All I know is that if I have an irate customer the only agreement that I can gain is that Cablevision Sucks.

Closes Call Politely
This is simply saying something like Thanks for calling Cablevision, have a great day. Great on paper, lousy in practice. Again, when you have an irate customer, nothing sounds more empty. Let's say you have a customer that has major problems with his phone, that we've been unable to fix for a couple of months and the problem has been escalated a couple of times. He is PISSED. After you explain to him that it is still being worked on, how about ending with Thanks for calling Cablevision, have a great day!

And you wonder why people hate customer service reps, we are forced by management to treat customers like idiots, be condescending and utterly insensitive to their situation. But hey! Just like the Status Page, this is a great thing that management can check off their list, all our techs follow standardized call metrics. Who cares if it doesn't make sense for every call.

All this bullshit counts for 50% of a tech's rating. Did he fix your problem? Did he give you good accurate advice on how to or where to get it fixed? WHO CARES!!! Not Management! Now you don't need to wonder why you get lousy technical support, all the techs are busy blowing smoke up your ass.


At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that the BPA coupled with the under ten minute rule is the toughest part of the job.

I've fixed problems in thirty seconds, only to have the call go on for fifteen minutes because of the BPA.

I also hate putting in that long pause between sentances in my greeting.

I had thought that I took my time, didn't sound like a recording and really had my greeting down. Nope, had to extend my pause between phrases.

Now I get as far as "Thank you for calling CV Tech support" and before I can say my name the sub is off to the races.

Now after a ten minute tirade from the sub I have to say "my name is... How can I help you?"

9 times out of 10 the sub reacts very badly to that. Hell, 10 times out of 10.

I know that if I don't include that inanity or drop in my name later in the call (somewhere that it makes sense) I'll get writ.

I also know that if I skip it I'll get writ.

Can you say catch 22?

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking about filling the uncomfortable space when a customers anciant PC is taking its 10 minute reboot, I know a tech that got an "auto fail" on his whole score for the call because he went off topic trying to avoid uncomfortable silence during a real long reboot. He solved the problem, but failed with a zero for talking about the weather or something like that.

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ya, and how many times do you go over a call and something has to be changed in your favor, what about the ones you do not listen too?, I have had sups say a call sounded great, but BPA did not think so, or he will hear no0thing related to what they mark off...remember it's just another human being scoring you and if they make a mistake it affects your score, your raise, your's ridiculous

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want examples of perfect calls given by each one of our managers and sups, and have groups of us listen in please..then maybe they will realize how ridiculous it all is......paying a company millions for this when we were doing just fine without BPA when our supervisors monitored us. The customers see no difference or improvement in our calls and the quality of the calls if anything has gotten worse..THERE HAS BEEN NO BENEFIT TO THE CUSTOMER WITH BPA PERIOD YOU IDIOTS! But see Cablevision is more concerned with buttering up the customer because they no public perception of us is negative, and with new competition they are afraid of losing customers, so some genius thinks this is the way of retaining customers, baby talking them will do it...Just let us troubleshoot already and let us do it in a reasonable time frame, we can do that without BPA, we are all grown ups and should be responsible, thats what the customer cares about. Management wants full control on every breath of your 8 hours and god forbid they treat us like adults with responsibility.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BPA is just another deterent from us being technicians and doing what we should be doing..fixing problems, I think we can do it politely enough without sounding overly mechanic, but managemnt will decide all this for are not permitted to think for yourself.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to sound like management here- I dont like BPA either, but can you imagine everyone answering how they want, actually telling a customer what we think, in our own words?
The general idea of BPA is fine, in practice it does need some work. A standard opening and close is necessary, even if sometimes awkward.
Most of the hits we take have to do with the negative words- it should not be wrong to say "No", as long as it is a correct answer to a direct question. That aside, negative words can if fact, leave the customer with a negative impression- and that is what BPA is really all about- leaving the customer with a positive feeling about the call. There is no need to say "No, I cant help you set up your router", when you can just as easily say- "The Linksys people are best qualified to help you with that, their number is xxxxx"
The bottom line is that ANY company wants consistancy that is measurable for the corporate impression they leave with people and there has to be some method applied. I found it does get easier with time- one thing for sure, Tech monitors should be 50%, not 25% of the rating and BPA should be reduced to 25%
The real problem there is that your supervisor would have the lion share of say on your performance-that could be good or bad- at least BPA is an outsider and doesnt even know you, so they are unbiased at least.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cablevision settles workers’ lawsuit


August 24, 2005, 7:56 PM EDT

Cablevision blinked. The Bethpage-based cable giant has agreed to settle a lawsuit that accused it of refusing to pay its call-center employees for prep time.

The terms weren't made public. But previously, the plaintiffs' attorney, Robert Lipman of Lipman & Plesur in Jericho, said the class-action lawsuit could cover at least 1,000 Cablevision call-center employees in the metropolitan area and involve millions of dollars in back wages. He declined to comment Wednesday, citing the terms of the settlement.

But Cablevision on Wednesday reiterated that it did nothing wrong.

"Cablevision agreed to settle this matter to avoid the expense and distraction of class-action litigation but continues to believe without question that its policies and procedures are fair and lawful," said spokesman Jim Maiella.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Platt in Central Islip signed off on the agreement July 29, slightly more than a year after the legal dust-up began.

Lead plaintiff Robert Wolfson sued his former employer in June 2004. Wolfson worked in Cablevision's Woodbury technical-support call center handling customers' calls about Optimum Online, a high-speed Internet service.

Wolfson said the company .refused to pay him for the daily 15 to 20 minutes of prep work he was required to perform before his 11 a.m. start time. He said he had to find a work station, log on and open about 20 programs before taking customers' calls. He also said he wasn't paid if customers' calls extended past his quitting time.

Wolfson said he came in early to prepare so he wouldn't receive a negative performance evaluation. But he said supervisors refused his and others' requests to be paid for the extra time.

The lawsuit alleged that the company violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay the hourly employees for the extra time, as the act requires, and for failing to pay overtime when the prep time lifted the workers' time on the job to more than 40 hours a week.

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BPA from Management View is “If you can’t Dazzle them with brilliants Bevel them with BULL S**T”

BPA From the techs view “I AM A TECHNICTION, NOT A Therapist, Just let me solve their problem. Sometime you have to say “NO” or it “It Won’t Work”

BPA from the Customers View is “I Spent 20 minutes on hold, the tech talked to me like In was an idiot, He would not give me a straight answer, and told me to have a nice day.
All I want is my issue resolved, quickly with out the other BS

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked for customer service in Melville for the longest year and a half of my life..."BPA" was the biggest joke ever. Once I was marked for using negative phrases because an obviously senile elderly woman asked if I was her granddaugher, and I had points taken off when told her that I wasnt! We would have to do BPA on a credit card payment call. How the f**k can I summarize and gain agreement on that? How can I not use negative words if someone asks "Did my last payment go thru" and it didnt? UGH!!! My favorite was when I was given an autofail on a call--- It was an OBSCENE CALLER - who was MASTERBATING!!!! I laughed and hung up. I wasnt about to ask him if there was anything else I could help him with! Anyway, the fat ass manager actually has me re-listen to the call and has a talk with me about it. It was held against me when I was up for a raise! What a joke! Do everything in your power to LEAVE CABLEVISION, my life improved 1000% percent once I did!

At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about those techs who used to get outstandings constantly when Cablevision monitored their own calls then began failing once BPA arrived.

Where did the PC magazine rating go...I think thats why they BPA stands for B Previously A.

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is the next employee survey?...Did they even bother reading the previous ones?

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are an absolute marvel... great at trashing other people's ideas and thoughts.

but ones again you simply have no idea what you talking about. (for ones you simply dont know or dont understand BPA standards)

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

y'all are suckers for putting up with this crap, all u can do is cry b!tch and moan on a fu*king blog site. what do u want, someone to feel sorry for u? obviously they wont change, they got an assembly line of suckers just like u waiting to take ur seat if/when u stop b!tching and be proactive - find another job!...this is especially directed to those with the technical backrounds...

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Mintie said...

It does sound a bit unreasonable from your point of view. I’ll be honest, I have never been a customer service rep, and I think that it is a pretty tough job, especially by following BPA standards.
However, I do have some understand of the BPA standards. You may argue this, but there have been positive results since CV started working with BPA. I agree that you cannot apply all of these standards to every call, since some of the subs just won’t buy this pampering. However, there have been many situations, when an irate sub called, and by the end of the conversation he/she sounded like a completely different person, because the rep was able to calm him/her down by saying and doing everything in her/his power to help this caller.

Now a bit about BPA standards:
Yes, you do have to have pauses between phrases during the corporate response. And yes, the sub is off to the races as soon as they hear Thank you for calling Cablevision . But what you have to keep in mind is that according to BPA standards, if the sub cuts you off during the corporate response you should stop speaking. You would not have to finish the corporate response later in the call (unless you want to). They would not mark you below standard for not completing it.

Bridges One Part of Call to Another . This standard has nothing to do with transfers. If you recall correctly, what they want you to do here is to use full sentences and avoid short sharp questions and statements (ex: Name?)
Transfers of calls is in the Filling Silences standard. Filling in silences has several parts, one of those is explaining to the sub the reason for the silence. All you have to say is: You will hear a silence while I'll run some test on your modem . This way the sub does not expect the rep to keep talking.
Also you should not be penalized for the silences on the customer's side.

If you explain to the customer that your application crashed, and that you'll need his info again, you should not be penalized for asking the customer to repeat himself.

ya, and how many times do you go over a call and something has to be changed in your favor, what about the ones you do not listen too?, I have had sups say a call sounded great, but BPA did not think so, or he will hear no0thing related to what they mark off...remember it's just another human being scoring you and if they make a mistake it affects your score, your raise, your job...
As you said, there are probably humans sitting on the other side, who are monitoring these calls, they too can make errors.
Your supervisor should be going over EACH of your calls. This way if there is any error or misunderstanding of a standard, BPA can correct the error or explain the reason why the call is marked below standard for a specified area.

A question to all who complained about summarize and gain agreement . How many times have you been marked below standard for this? I think that you haven't.

Did my last payment go thru The answer would be Actually the last payment we have received was on .....

After reading all of the comments, I have realized that there is a big miscommunication between CV supervisors and BPA. It seems that the reps are just not familiar enough with the standards. Either the supervisors or the reps are not getting the appropriate training. If BPA standards are so important to CV, then it should be their goal to make sure that each rep understands these BPA standards.
It is also important to understand that if BPA employee humans, then there should be expected errors on their side as well. It is important to have communication between the supervisor and the rep, as well as the supervisor and BPA.
I’m sure that there are situations when BPA has to give a benefit of the doubt for a standard. And I’m pretty sure they do, and if they don’t there should be a proper explanation to why there is no benefit of the doubt given. For the example that has been written above by a former Melville employee, I’m sure that if escalated back to BPA, they would have given you the benefit of the doubt for using a negative word. Also, if the customer disconnects before the rep get a change to say the closing, BPA would give the benefit of the doubt for the closing.
I also believe that not everyone can be a customer service rep. Aside from being technically competent to do the job, a person who is hired to be a rep should be very patient and polite, and have great communication skills. This person should be able to stay quiet while the customer yells, and be able to reply without sarcasm. This person should be good enough with words to phrase sentences in the way to make the customer feel at ease. Instead of saying this service is not available in your area yet , rep could say we are currently working on that, we will be happy to notify you when the service will be available in your area . Instead of hearing this phrase from TSG This is not our problem. I cannot help you with this I’d like to hear The best people to help you with this is Microsoft, I can give you their number if you’d like.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

but he wont read that, he'd rather bitch and moan that everyone is out to get his sorry ass...

Just like the guy 2 comments above said, stop crying and get out if you hate it so much

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I won't leave... it's more fun fighting you pathetic idiots and this ridiculous company run by bafoons.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything you are trying to justify above can be done without BPA and another company monitoring us, the program is a joke, if you want sweet talk..let the c/s reps do that...we as technicians, and are here to fix problems...period, as long as it is done in a pleasant tone, it will make everyones life much easier and make everyone happier including our customers who often just mock us or laugh at us for sounding robotic...BPA has to go......

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mintie knows an awfull lot for never being a service rep huh?

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I don't think that name-calling is necessary here. It just shows why you need to be monitored by BPA. You're unable to communicate your thoughts without putting other people down.
And no, I'm not a CV supervisor or manager. And I definitely am not a customer service rep. But you're correct; I know an awful lot regarding the process.

The best thing that I have read here is the fact that if you don't like the job, get a better one! Or speak to your managers, instead of wasting your time by trashing CV.

Signed Mintie

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man, now I feel terrible about thinking that the tech I got was a total idiot. I can't believe Cablevision really thinks that customers will prefer this load of bullshit to a more human tech support. You can be rude as hell to me, just fix my damn connection.

This blog is pretty damn funny. Nice work, I love it.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... the person who posted what we should say if the custmer asks "Did my last payment go thru?"
The answer would be "Actually the last payment we have received was on ..... " yes, I would say that and the customer would say " yeah but what about the payment on ..." and I would have to repeat myself like a robot "Actually the last payment we have received was on ..... " and the cust would say " yeah but what about the payment on" as this goes on the cust is getting mad for being spoken to in that manner, instead of us just answering the question ... So instead of just saying, "No that last payment did not post".. so a 5 min converstion is now taking 20 mins. As far as being marks off for summarizing and gains agreement, yes I had been. In melville they slammed you for everything, esp if management didnt like you! BPA is a total waste of time, most of the reps that were good at it wouldn't even be fixing the custmers problem and they would have to call back!

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a sorry ass company and job you guys have here, complain to your manager..I am afraid that won't work in most places pal....sounds like your managers want complete control over every aspect of your shift/ do you people tolerate that? It's like living with your mother in law and all the nitpicking that never ends...seems like a horrific place to work where they don't even trust you going to the bathroom on your own and actually time you. I don't think I would last too long, and would probably quit after 1 hour of all that nonsense. I would tell them to shove it and move on.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand what you're saying. But the problem is that very few people understand the way BPA works. They will give you a benefit of the doubt if you have to use a negative phrase.

And I have also said that it's a tough job to be able to help the customer and at the same time paraphrase every thought in a positive way.

You're right, unfortunately, most of the CV reps would either speak in a pleasant way to the customer or treat them like dirt, but help him/her. And yes, if I was the customer I would pick the second, but if I had a choice I would switch my service. You are the face of the company. You are the only communication between the customer and the company. That's why CV is so obsessed with what kind of service you provide.

But if it so bad working for CV WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING THERE? There are plenty of IT positions out there today. And I know that some of the TSG employees are over qualified for their positions.

Signed Mintie

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes but why does it have to be yet another thing we have to keep on top of...was I scored properly? Did I deserve that score?...and why does it have to affect your raise and status as much as it does for giving a straight answer and handling a call that gets you compliments from the customer but a fail or just meets from BPA..and yes that has just sucks and should not affect my paycheck or chances for a promotion when I am doing my job the best I can.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to know alot about BPA, you say that BPA gives you the benefit of a doubt? I was AUTOFAILED for hanging up on an OBSCENE caller! I cannot even go into all the times I was marked off for insane things... It does not come down to either being rude or doing BPA. I was very polite and had tons of compliments from customers. The majority of the people on my team would just BS the customer, "Yes it will work in 5 minutes" etc. and get great BPA. I understand being polite and following some format is important but BPA is just an insane and distracting system.....

I think before someone sings the praises of BPA they should try and actually use it for 8 hours a day on the phone, nonstop, with irrate screaming callers. See if you can remember if you filled your silences properly as your trying to reboot and type a remedy at the same time!!!

Anyone that still works at Cablevision ( not many.. what is it a 90% turnover now?), try your best to find work somewhere else, go back to school, anything ...I promise nowhere is as bad as Cablevision!!!

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, the one thing I can "guarantee" is that working at Cablevision was the worst job I ever had, I have never been treated with such disrespect and lack of trust in all my working years. So much petty nonsense. They just don't trust 'anyone' in doing their job, they need to predetermine everything for you and watch your every move...even what you can and cannot say..sounds like one of those communist countries. We did just fine without BPA and we were just as polite. If it sounds like we are trashing the company...maybe we are! and we have that right to let people know how insane and horrible it is to work their. You say we are the face of the company, so that justifies all the crap we have to do, the comeptant customers know damn well you are just a tech doing an 8 hour job and the real cowards are hiding behind the scenes, get me a manager now! But our managers are afraid to speak to even one of them, or a sup never call them back as promised. These true employees are letting people see the real face of the company, You should not carry that burden for you all have enough to worry about. Your managers create the policies and conditions that piss people off and we are just punching bags for our customers and expected to be therapists on top of techs. So let us put some clarity into what really goes on, I think this blog is a great idea. This is why it takes so long for your problem to get fixed, or this is why it seems like the tech you spoke with was speaking in circles. Every ridiculous expectation of this job is another ridiculous formula, and this company has formulas and stats for everything, someone came up with in controlling ASA. They are the only 3 letters management cares about. Yes nmany have taken the advice of leaving or just giving up until they are terminated because they could not tolerate anymore, and I love how that is the only solution all the geniuses can come up with. So we just let this horrible company run by incompetant people and tyrants continue their ways, just squeezing employee after employee, then making them look like the one with problems. In some case it may have been true, but in many was not. This is what happens when an employer steps on the toes of so many, we just wanted a job with stability and fair conditions, but as someone stated I guess I should have known it was just going to be a 3 year position and that I would have the burden of looking for another job again, putting all that stress on my family. Now if I would have known before hand, I would have never taken the job. At first it was a better place than it is now, but it continually downgraded to this deplorable place with an obsession to control eveything and yes the quality has degraded. Do you honestly think all this is needed because people can not be trusted in what they say or how they do things? well maybe it is the people they are now attracting and hiring, for no good tech in their right mind would take this job. Do not blame the worker..blame the people in charge and take some responsibility already.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, and what the hell are you all still doing there, the IT market is opening up...I guess you are comfotable or are not capable of anything else so you are willing to put up with it....exactly what they want. We can partially blame ourselves for what this place has become and doing nothing about it. The great people I now work with would never tolerate that and let things slip so badly without speaking out and most people in real companies would say the same.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for this blog- I started working at Cablevision right after I graduated with my BA. The job market was dead, they were laying off people all over the place. I needed a job with benefits, and I bought into that whole " We promote from within!" lie. I was so into working for Cablevision , I though I was going to start a career there (hahaha). Well, a year later, I was still there. Why? BPA! That was the only reason the manager of that damn call center said he wouldnt let me tranfer out. I would interview with other departments, they would want to hire me, and that fat ass manager wouldnt sign off on the transfer BECAUSE OF MY BPA !!! I was never late, always did my work, had great "Stats" It was just BPA. Oh, I went to HR about it, who did NOTHING. HR actually went to him and told him I was complaining about him! Well, it turns out HR has a high turnover too! I was so motivated by how bad it was to work there Im back in school getting my masters degree. If you can work there you can make it through ANYTHING.

At least use Cablevision for the tution reimbursment- HR doesnt even look at what classes your taking. They dont care. They paid for many of my teaching credits! Use them! Get out while you still can. Trust me, 2 years at Cable does not look good on a resume!

Thanks for the great blog! Its all true, and a great reminder of why I left!

p.s. Not one person from my training class lasted there for more than 2 years... I guess we were all lazy and not Cablevision material huh?! haha

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an ex-tech that has moved on to much better in the IT field, and yes all this is true. I have already moved up twice in a year at my new company. At TSG I was hounded constantly for one thing or another and left to rot because their is so much to maintain and good techs are setup to fail. I was denied transfers also, went as far as trying to change my shift or taking a cut in pay to get out...all denied. It was a horrible place to work and you realize this "when" you leave because nobody will end up staying. It was so demoralizing seeing good techs that would have made great leads or sups being denied and seeing someone who was clueless fill that position. I am so happy I got out and dread even thinking of my time their, Good luck in all that try to make it a career and try moving up...again most, if not all, will fail becuae the whole sytem is designed to have you fail in some category.

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, worst job ever, etc......
I do recognize the shortcomings, some pretty poor quality techs, leads, and supervisors- all in representative portions- even many piss poor policies and practices- but to indict CV as the "worst", these people must have fairly short resumes in the first place.

The skill set for this job does not require a rocket scientist- if you are, then you are in the wrong place. This is, believe it or not- customer service with a splash of tech involved.

This is a large utility company that needs people to "hand hold" the computer illerate masses. Get it? Thats what we do. Its all about leaving a good impression. Problem solving would be nice too, but it comes second.

This not for everyone, and admittedly, it will add little to your resume by itself. There are many techs that dont get that the communication skills you develop on the phones is the most valuable tool you get here and will need to advance anywhere. That include the "kiss ass" mentality of any large corporation. Did you miss that class?- brown-nose 101?
Worst place ever?- not close-
Paid medical, dental, life, 401 + the CO paid plan, free cable, etc., and a decent pay rate especially for a first job in the field (it should be), plenty of OT in a GROWING part of the business. I have had my balls broken far more for far less.

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think these people are adding warehouse or deli jobs when referring to worst job ever. I know I don't add them to my resume, but as far as a corporate job with a media giant, it is quite horrible..and it's not so much what you get, but in the way employees are treated, held back, extreme expectations, stressed. What good is all they offer if their is a dismal chance of growing with the company and you will not see it through? Just make TSG an intern assignment in that case, and indicate it's a starting job in the field only and growth within the company is non existant. It does not have to be that way. Verizon techs as well as Time Warner unionized techs doing a quarter of what we do are treated very well and do have the chance to retire with the company, it does not have to just be a starting position, and on top they encourage certifications so you can advance and get a better position if you do decide to leave...don't you get it, I guess not because you just take things the way they are and refuse to make a stand on anything. Yes I do have a personal vendetta against this company and many I guess it's a widespread reaction to many of it's former and current employees. Things can change for the better if you try, and without trying ,nothing will ever change for the better...especially here.

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not again. I totally agree with a guy, who posted 6:35 pm. For most its a starting point. for some its a job between jobs. Hey even when market was falling, CV was still hiring. Economy is much bettern than it was few years back. I agree this job burns along with BPA who have no idea of what we have to go through. Its time to get another job in another company.
If you cannot change it, move along or change job.

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have moved on after 5 years at TSG, and do have a much better job, but I have to disagree. A job does not have to be a starting position in a field, as stated above that is called an internship. That is just their way out for all the crap they do. What is with the perception of everybody has to keep moving up? keep leaving jobs until you are an engineer or whatever. People make that decision to move on, the company should not do it for you, especially one as big as this. If someone wants to advance in his field they make that decision, but that has nothing to do with earning an honest living with honest conditions in the meantime. I think workers should demand better if a company such as Cablevision treats it's employees the way it does. The only reason why this company keeps hiring is because of the continual turnover. Do you think Verizon or even the well compensated Time Warner techs suffer the same fate...they do not, so they are doing something right. People should demand the cahnce to earn a living or what will we have in this country... nothing but contracted jobs and interships? If ever a place needed representation, this is it.

Qote from a Comcast tech..sound familiar;

If I had the same job I have now but at VERIZON--I would have have made an additional $249,600.00 over the last 10 years. The best raise I ever had at Comcast was $0.62 p/h. Also, Comcast took away our pension plan. Sure I get free cable,internet and phone. I'd rather have at least $4.00 more an hour (I think this is fair) and pay for the services myself. I love how we get taxed for anything we get over $25.00! I've never worked for a company that did this before. After 10 years; thank you but I've seen enough. I'm looking elsewhere. If ever there was a company who's employees needed representation; this is it. I'm tired of being stupid-time for the employess to grow up and stop sucking up. What would you do with an additional $249,600.00?

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you OOLTech you are my Hero I would like to give you all my hard earned "Stars"

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard earned...LOL, Stars....what are you in kindergarten, oh ya, I forgot you love being treated like a child, Any pizza parties lately? What a good little boy... Keep sucking up dribble, your precious company can do no wrong in your eyes.... you have no balls, but you do have a nice brown nose.

ps, I am not OOL tech, but I know who you are clown.

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about liking what OOLtech writes means that I sucking up? I never said that CV can do no wrong I just see how unionizing will be better.Oh yea I forgot spewing union bullshit increases ball size. I enjoy this blog its smart and well written and wish all the union bullshit would stay off

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you see, our infamouss ool tech is a sympathizer and realizes that the only way we can get a voice in making some much needed changes is to organize. The only option we have besides leaving is to request representation that will finally listen to our concerns ....If unions provide so many people with a better standard of living, why is it not worth trying in a place that desperately needs it, things would get better, and I am willing to try before I leave. I am willing to call their bluff...If we do not come to an agreement, then I am willing to walk, but at least we tried to make it a better place... get it, I guess not.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labor Day does not mean the end of the summer, or back to school sales. It is a hard fought and well earned day, a gift that was given to the American people from the good people of organized labor - the American Labor Movement. We should all be proud of who we are and what we stand for and enjoy this holiday weekend. It is our holiday so remember to be safe, be happy and be proud to be union! God Bless all workers and support the troops abroad and their families.

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