Sunday, September 12, 2004

More at work and around town

In my last post I discussed some funtime activities at work. My current project, the one I've been working on for two months, has been to modify the script that some of the phone people use when fielding complaints.
My company has about 500 employees. We solicit new customers via mail - we buy lists of people with poor credit, who have been denied credit elsewhere. We then mail them a very nice letter along with a phony credit card, telling them to call in to activate their card. (sorry, it's not a CREDIT card, it's a MERCHANT'S card). When they call we get their checking account number, and tell them we will be billing them for around $500, in pieces over the next few months. Most of these people are minimum wage, or less, who don't understand what they are told. Most of the electronic charges we make to their checking accounts bounce due to being NSF or closed. When some go through we then get calls from the people screaming about not being able to make their rent, or feed their kids, because of our sucking them dry.
I think the company has about 100 people on the phones in activations, talking to people calling for the first time. I've been working with Benefits and Card Services (BCS), about 100 people who take calls from when people sign up until we suck money from their checking accounts. Customer Service has about 100 people that talk to our CUSTOMERS after we have taken their money.
Our main product is a catalog, filled with nice overpriced stuff. The catalog department has about 10 people. You can compare what's important - 10 people to actually take orders and sell something, or 300 people that talk customers and potential customers into paying membership fees and yearly dues and theft protection benefits.
So I was given a new script written by one of the two owners. I spent about four days with my project manager and the company president going over the script and diagramming out what should happen. And I've spent two months programming the script. By script, I mean the words that show up on the screen. Where information and sales pitches are given, and based on the customer response different answers can then come up.
This is a small part of the flow chart we came up with in our planning meeting.

We covered up white boards on three walls, this being about one fourth of one board. We filled eight boards, and erased some to make more room.
Look like fun?
The boxes match paragraph numbers, so when a customer says "I can't afford it" the operator then asks a question, such as "don't you want to build your credit" and if the customer says "yes, I guess I do", and the customer is in a debit cycle, and they have previously called and extended their payment once then the operator then moves on to the next sales point, if they have extended their payment twice they get a different pitch, etc.. If the customer says "No, I can't afford it" then something else comes up. You get the idea.
For the around Vegas part, I took this shot a few months ago, of Wynn's new resort/casino.

It's since been topped out, and a new neon sign has been installed. I drive heading east to work every day, and this building is directly in front of me for ten minutes as I approach the strip. Sitting and traffic lights, I have become very familiar with it.
Right across the strip from Wynn's is the Fashion Show Mall. This is a rather pleasant shopping center, that has been at it's location for a great many years (Vegas years, that is). Last year it had a full makeover, being expanded and upgraded and made really pretty.
The only Apple store in town is there, and so a few weeks ago one of my fellow workers wanted to buy an Ipod, so we went there for lunch.

The Neiman Marcus store has a really great fast restaurant, where we ate. The mall has a central area that turns into a runway, and they have live fashion shows (what a concept) every lunch hour, so you can watch models when eating stuff from the food court.
You can see the 'runway' in the picture, it's the red area in the floor. At showtime it lifts up three feet, and an entire room also rises behind it, with elevators inside to bring up the models. It is an impressive architectural feat.
That's it for today's installment.

No comments: