Brian has a tough gig. He works at a call centre for an Internet service provider. You can probably imagine what his day looks like. When we spoke I could hear background noise that sounded like hundreds of other people in a tiny space doing exactly what Brian was trying to do—close the sale.
Brian spoke really fast, was trained to interrupt when he had enough information to progress the call and to offer the contract that locked people in for two years, unless they asked about the ‘no lock in’ offer. His every action and reaction was a means to a single end. He became anxious when it looked like the sale might slip away when said I didn’t have enough information to make a decision there and then.
“Please don’t call back, or speak to anyone else at [company name]!!
I’d appreciate it if you could respect my situation and the hard work I have done here today.
Let me call you back later today.” he said.
In the eight hours between calls I did a quick Google search for reviews of the company’s service (yes, this is exactly where I should have started—lesson learned). 907 one star reviews don’t lie. Brian tried to explain them away when he called back to close the sale before his long shifted ended. Even though he knew it was hopeless he didn’t stop trying until the bitter end.
None of this is Brian’s fault of course. His way of operating on every sales call is directly related to the type result and reward culture that has been created by the company. Here is a company that celebrates and rewards employees for closing the sale. It’s clear that this is what they prioritise, measure and value. The value of every caller is heightened in the ten minutes before they become a customer. Brian is doing what his boss wants him to do because that’s how he has been trained to survive. Growing the number of sales closed at any cost is how his boss survives too.
Our beliefs and behaviours define our cultures. What we value becomes more valued. What is reinforced drives everything we do, how we show up and who becomes our customer. Above all else this is what shapes our story and no marketing whitewash can stop that being reflected to the outside world.