Working in Accenture’s Call Centers – One Insider Leaks the Details
Anti-Accenture Movement’s note: A while back we received a story in our inbox. It’s the story of someone who works (or worked) at Accenture’s call center in Manila, The Philippines.
Naturally, we are fascinated with people’s experiences at Accenture so we decided to publish it. So, without further ado, over to our insider man (or woman):
Bad decision by WG. Let me describe the working situation for us here at Accenture.
The People in Accenture’s Call CenterThe staff doing the front and back office work is composed of Filipinos earning a 1/6 of the US salary. The call center, which has been in Manila for almost six years, has an extremely high turnover rate. Accenture is continually hiring Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) for the WG account.
The WG account is on its fifth year, and hiring is already on wave 27 as of December, 2012 (so that’s hiring about five times a year).
Since the turnover is high for this account, people from different walks of life come and go.
- The wise: immediately sensing that there is no future for their career when they start/stay on this account, leave immediately after training (approx. 2-4 months).
- The wiser: well… they leave after a few weeks.
Accenture hopes to prevent this high turnover rate by slapping a bond amounting to PHP 100,000 (around US$2,400) to all new hires if they do not stay with Accenture for a year; which is illegal, but don’t worry, they don’t chase you for that when you quit.
The unfortunate but wise ones (who; through just sheer bad luck got assigned to this god-forsaken WG account by Accenture’s ignorant HR) choose to ignore this bond, choose to quit fast rather than die young, and then go on hating Accenture for the rest of their lives.
The CultureOffice politics, incompetent management and favoritism have ravaged the working environment at the WG account at Accenture’s Manila Delivery Centre (MDC). It is toxic and more rotten than an open sewer.
On your first day, your team leader will say, "Oh, office politics, which company doesn’t have that?"
If you kiss ass and agree with the team leaders and managers then you will become their favorite, and you will become like them.
Inappropriate sexual relations among the team leaders, managers and Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are rampant.
Some CSRs have managed to get out of the account and even got promoted by providing sexual favors.
However, years of favoritism, office politics and sexual discrimination made the good people leave Accenture’s Delivery Center.
I say sexual discrimination because one of Accenture’s Operations Managers (OM) was a lesbian. She had a female protégé and their relationship was no secret. Then after a couple of years, the OM got promoted and left for another account, so naturally her protégé rose to become the new OM.
However, it turned out that the protégé was a heterosexual, hyper sexed female who drooled over handsome men. So, now that she became the “Queen B”, almost all of the supervisors and the team leaders are mostly handsome young men promoted by no one else but her.
This new OM (“Queen B”) is unmarried; but no matter how hard she tries to hide it, it is no secret that she is in a sexual relationship with one of the supervisors who is around 5-7 years younger than her. She insists on scheduling parties, town-hall meetings and celebrations on Sundays and holidays without any regard for the situation of married people who have families. This is not very popular.
Performance Management – Accenture StyleApparently, management is concerned that it’s always the same teams that become the first or second ranked team every month. So with their flawless critical thinking skills, they concluded that the composition of agents among the teams is unfair, and to solve that problem they decided to break up the teams and shuffle the agents.
Instead of putting the time and effort and train the team leaders of the bottom-ranked teams ("losers" in the eyes of management) to become better at their job, management decided, "Ey, you know what? Let’s just shuffle the agents, hoping that the best performing CSRs will be randomly distributed among the teams so that it won’t be unfair to those losers whose teams always rank last every month."
Meanwhile, everyone else wants you to stay in the account and be a CSR/slave forever; the team leaders, managers and your pathetic co-workers constantly feed you bullshit every day. They would even badmouth other existing accounts at Accenture MDC just to make you believe that the WG account is the place to be in the world for a "hopeless person like you who’s too fat and lazy to find a better job".
Soon after joining Accenture, I felt like I was failing miserably in life. So my advice to my co-workers: get out while you can. Unless you’re ok with feeling horrible day in and day out.
Performance Measurement – Accenture StyleOddly enough, Team Leaders have been emphasizing customer service, but customer service is not a metric used to assess the performance of the CSRs.
Accenture and WG have decided that their performance will be assessed every month using the three measurable metrics:
- Average Handling Time (AHT),
- Call Quality and
- Service Order Accuracy.
So, the CSRs just focus on meeting the required scores every month so that they can keep their job. If they fail to pass the required scores for the three metrics, they will get fired.
The AHT target every month is 300 seconds/call. How in heaven’s name can you do anything for the customer in five minutes?
Monthly performance assessment of call quality is a joke, out of the more than 1,700 calls you take every month, they just listen to three calls.
The only reasonable performance metric of these three is Service Order Accuracy.
Customer service is not part of the training the newly-hired employees receive.
Instead, they train the CSRs to be tough on their customers.
The CSR is more concerned with his/her performance as an employee. Customer service is the last thing on the CSR’s mind when he/she is taking calls.
The HR PuppetsThe quality of the employees hired for this account is unstable. Put a big FAIL sign on Accenture’s big, dumb HR for hiring employees who lack the skills and the drive required to be effective on this job (English communication, critical thinking, etc.)
Don’t get me wrong; some people here are good at what they do. And I don’t want to talk bad about the workers; in fact, many of them are my friends. The thing is, people have different talents and not everyone is suited to work in a call center. If you’re great with kids, you should work in a kindergarten. If you’re creative you should work in advertising, not in Accenture.
HR assigns the newly-hired employees to the account wherever manpower is needed without taking into consideration their abilities and educational/employment background.
And yes, high turnover on the WG account means that it is always understaffed and HR is putting innocent, gullible new hires to take on this job.
The deceitful recruiting is why people with the "wrong" skills end up working here at Accenture.
The HR Representatives are there to supposedly supervise the account; however, they are nothing more than puppets of management. They mean well, but they’re weak and stupid.
ConclusionOffice politics and mismanagement, flawed metrics and poor employee quality are the reasons for Washington Gas’ horrible customer service.
Washington Gas has a 10-year outsourcing contract with Accenture. The WG account has been going on for almost six years, regrettably. CSRs who are unfortunate enough to have been working in this account have not much of a future left in their careers.
– Washington Gas spokeswoman K. Greer, June, 2007 (Source: Washington Post)
The job of the Customer Service Representative at the Washington Gas account at Accenture’s Manila Delivery Center is nothing more than a paycheck.
The contract is worth US$350 million to Accenture.
Note: We normally advices contributors to not give specific details that can help Accenture find out their identities (like which specific project or account they work on).
In this case, we have discussed the anonymity issues and the contributing author feels secure and confident enough (perhaps also defiant enough) to write what he or she does. Kudos!