Monday, February 26, 2007

Bad Connections

As a business decision my superiors have opted to run a VoIP calling center. For those of you not familair with VOIP it is the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network. It's neat stuff, but not without it's problems.

Considering my whole job is to call folks up and pitch them a high tech product (professional websites) you would think that one of our main focuses would be to come across as professional on the phone. Now, obviously, a big part of that is me. I have to come across the line with dignity and professionalism, keeping the firm respectable and worthy of the client's time & attention. This task is seriously much more difficult when the phones do not cooperate.

Sadly, this happens much more than I would like. I'll be calling and all of a sudden the phone just freaks out, and suddenly I'm talking through a fan ala Chris Farley in Tommy Boy. What's worse, I can't tell, and it's just their end of the conversation that experiences poor phone quality. I can only speculate as to how many sales or potential sales that I've lost due to this problem. It certainly doesn't portray us well, and if nothing else is just frustrating. No one likes to get a cold call, and certainly no one wants a cold call with poor line quality.

It begins to anger me when we're talking about the money I am to be making (because I do make a commission) and consequently losing as a result of this setup. To compound matters, I do have certain numbers I am to hit in order to keep the company afloat, and I get chewed out when I don't hit them. Fair enough, but if a quarter of the dials I make in a day are more or less a waste because the firm's credibility is frail from the outset due to the phone situation, that's not really my fault, is it? My bosses understand (I hope) but it's still no fun for any of us.

I guess the worst thing is that there's nothing to be done. We can't do anything on our side, and who knows what, if anything, our VoIP provider will do. Basically, I can call the tech team, have them come up and run a few diagnostics, maybe reset our router, but that rarely settles things. Most of the time I have to just wait it out and post to my blog. :P