I was hired at the end of January 2009 by West Business Services in Middleton. I couldn't be more excited since the building is absolutely gorgeous. I got off on the eigth floor and that too was absoluetly beautiful. After two weeks of training we were sent down to the seventh floor to work and thats where it got interesting.
The seventh floor is what you would picture a call center to be... jam packed with cubicles and drab-yellow painted walls (not anything like the eigth floor that I had seen since my very first interview), and the tinyest break room imaginable (7 chairs and 3 tables for a total of probably 60 people on the floor) that was always about 80 degrees. I worked for a program that did third-party outbound lead generation calls for a BIG name financial company. I was hired to an hourly (rather poor) rate but was told about HUGE commission checks. The commission structure was rather lucrative in the begining, but that changed very shortly after I started. More than half of the people I worked with didn't even recieve commissions because they couldnt reach the goals.
A quick note about how bad third-party call-centers suck: you are actually not affiliated in anyway with the Client company but you have to lie to "prospective" companies and tell them that you are. So when they start asking questions about the Client company you are really left stranded on your own.
For the first several months I was one of (if not the top) of the most productive employees. My commissions were decent and I was blowing away all of the goals that they had set forth. The client even made a comment that they were impressed with how well we as a group were doing. Then that SAME DAY, one of the micro-managers decided to "write-up" all but one of the 30 people on the program for not making enough calls. 95% of a team that was successful gets written up for not being productive enough?!?!? This is when I realized I was working for an employer that did not look after its employees, and definetly was not an employer I could spend very long with.
They then hired our old training person to be our Sales Manager. While he was a great guy and a solid motivator he quickly became the bull-whipping micro-manager that WBS has been known to breed. The best part was that he told our training class back in January that he "respected what we did, but could never stand making cold calls for a living." So WBS decides to hire him as the manager for something he said he could never do.
The Director of the program was located elsewhere and was (to say the VERY least) the MOST UNDERQUALIFIED, ANTI-PEOPLE PERSON, who would be better fit in a job where he was not required to be around people. He was their only a few days out of the week. When he did show up if you were caught: speaking to another employee (even if it pertained to the work at hand), standing up, looking around, going to the bathroom, getting water, more or less doing ANYTHING other than staring directly at your computer screen making calls... he would literally chew you out in front of the entire floor, snap his fingers at you, and point to your seat, and tell you that your phone won't call itself. He was by far the worst supervisor I have ever worked for. For example; I clocked in one day at 6:56am for my 7:00am shift, quickly checked my email and got my phone turned on. At 7:02am (and I am not exagerrating this) I stood up to walk the twenty feet to fill up my water bottle with water before making my first call when he walks around the corner and scolds me like a 10 year old saying "What time is it? Sit down and start calling, your shift has started."
While my productivity stayed well above the expected goals my aspirations were elsewhere. I DID NOT want to work for this company anymore, however given the current economic environment I was forced to stick it out doing my due diligence. While my attitude may have changed my work ethic did not.
Then out of the blue (mid-July) I get called in and put on a Step IV PIN (Performance Improvment Notice - Involuntary Termination), for taking ONE 27-minute break last Wednesday instead of the mandated two 15-minute breaks per the company handbook. So in a sense I took three minutes LESS than what they company offers, but since it was not split up I got FIRED. Now, they track this by changing your status on a constantly monitored computer program. I explained to them that more than likely I simply forgot to change my status after my break. Did not matter. They said I "Defrauded Company Resources and Time", and per company policy it was an automatic termination.
Then it hit me. My 6 month anniversary with WBS would have been at the end of this week. 6 months time of employment is required to receive unemployment. It did not take a genius to figure out I was looking elsewhere (a quick resume search on ANY website and you would have seen my mine), so why not save the company some time and money and fire me on some BS claim that I defrauded the company?!
WBS seemed like a great company to begin with. I doubt that the program I was on was the only crappy one, however, since I heard it from MANY other people within the company. I would recommend to ANYONE that gets contacted by West Business Services to SERIOUSLY consider looking elsewhere. The turnover rate is INCREDIBLE! Of the 12 people that I trained with only 4 are left (most quit on their own). Of those 4 remaining: 2 that I know of are actively searching other employment, and the other 2 are the brown-nosing, micro-managing types that WBS looks for to manage the constant employees that they beat down and burnout.
WBS is one of those jobs like in Office Space where you literally have to sit in your car and talk yourself into going into the building each day you work. It is terrible.
DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS!!! (Unless you want to see how a COMPANY can "defraud" an EMPLOYEE with their smoke and mirrors show.)