by: Gordon Lawrence


Larry Barnett, Call Center Manager, comfortably ensconced in his oversized desk chair, addressed his supervisor, Brenda Martin, uncomfortably seated in the undersized guest chair, “So here comes a new program from headquarters.”

Brenda looked up, “Let me guess; we’re going to reduce the desk size and squeeze in more bodies.”

Barnett laughed, “Hey, I like that. But no, this is about Facebook.  They want you to get each employees ID and password, check to make sure it’s accurate and then send it in to HQ.”

Brenda asked,  “What does their Facebook ID have to do with their work?  That’s their data entered in their house that has nothing to do with the job.  We should push back on this. What do the lawyers say.”

Barnett wanted no part of that battle.  Brenda, “Do you think legal hasn’t cleared this?”

He looked down at the printed document, switched into his speech making voice, sotto voce, and slowly read,   “You represent us at all times, in all places – you are the company – and we appreciate you. Our new Social Media program, which we call “Spread the Word” will enable us to provide you with wonderful messages to send to your Facebook friends. And to measure the results, we need your Facebook ID and password.  We will have our first message for you to send to all of your friends in two weeks. We are so excited with our “Spread the Word” program and know that we can count on your support.  Please write your Facebook ID and password on the card right now and give it to your supervisor. We value your contributions and never forget that it is you that makes us the great company that we are.”

Larry looked up at Brenda, laughed and said, “I’m reading from paragraph two of the memo that you will read to them in 15 minutes.  This meeting is ended. Thanks for your time.”

Brenda went back to her desk, accessed the system via her iPad and changed the call flow to schedule ½ of her team for a meeting.  She typed in a message that appeared real-time on the rep’s screen and announced into her microphone, which played in the headsets of the employees, that a meeting would start at either of two times.

Both meetings went exactly as Brenda expected.  Several complaints. Several alternate suggestions. Several questions.  And in the end, full compliance.

Brenda went back to her desk, signed into the “Spread the Word” system with the special id/pw provided in the memo, and typed in each employees Facebook ID and password.  Several errors were corrected, employees were summoned immediately and revised their id or pw.  In 2 hours the project was completed.  The company system now had the ability to send out Facebook messages in the name of the employees.

And Brenda knew that the initial “Spread the Word” messages, soft, cuddly with meaningful discounts or added benefits, would actually be well received by the Facebook friends of her team.  Facebook friends would actually thank employees for the great messages / offers.

And, she, Brenda the supervisor, would be required to cover specific postings by her team members in “teaching moments” to help them “better understand the company mission.” And some employees would be admonished, put on notice and fired.

As she signed out of the  “Spread the Word” corporate website, Brenda thought of Justin, the bright college student who responded in three words when asked by a coworker what he was going to do. “Moving to Snapchat.”

Thank you for joining us on Call Center Confidential. Please invite your friends and teammates. I welcome your comments. 

Gordon Lawrence


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