Customer Contact Channels C3 Employee Review
Customer Contact Channels, or C3 for short, is a call center that is contracted by large companies to save money on their customer service workforce. I worked in the Twin Falls call center, which is relatively new, and they had a health insurance company, Fedex, and Cox contracting them. I worked in the Cox section. At first you are put through a month of training before you are thrown into the workforce. These are my experiences working for C3.
Why I applied to C3
In the location that I live it is mostly a rural area. Most jobs either require a lot of physical activity, pay minimum wage, or require experience or a degree. Being a young man I have no experience, am unable to do a lot of physical activity, and am currently working towards my degree so my options were limited. C3 offered me $9.75 per hour and an opportunity to have my school partially paid for while I worked for them. This was very tempting and a really good offer for someone like me so I took the opportunity.
Before we started anything the first day was all about signing paperwork. This first day was unpaid. Their goal was to basically hand you so many papers to sign that you would not have enough time to read through them. There was over a dozen papers that required signature and the workforce administrator only briefly described what we were signing. It contained things like your benefits, paid days off, sick days, your deposit for headphones, an agreement that they would drop your wage to minimum wage ($7.25) if you quit without notice, and other documents basically agreeing to the rules of the building and privacy documents. The way that they went through it was very shady– it was meant to try and avoid people from asking questions. After we signed we went on to take a drug test. At this point in time I was on prescription opioids and steroids so I thought for sure that the drug testing stick would detect it but it did not so it makes me wonder if it was even functional or if it doesn’t pick up opioids or steroids. Once done with the drug test and signing we were led to the exit and given a schedule to begin training.
One of the main attractions to a job, aside from being a dream job or having a good wage, is having good benefits. This job had some mediocre benefits when I started working there but they improved decently by the time I had quit 3 months an a half later. Workers are given a bronze health plan, which is overpriced with a very high deductible. They are also offered a dental plan that is so limited that it’s only appeal is getting two checkups and two cleanings per year at a $25 deductible. There is also an eye benefit which its only attraction is its discounts in some eyeglass stores. C3 also offered to pay your tuition which is by far the most attractive thing to me. When I started working there they would only pay for classes that would lead you to a degree that could improve your career with C3, which as business degrees. However, through the months it changed so that it paid for any major in the CSI (College of Southern Idaho) campus or in an online course. If I would have stayed with the company it would have been because of this benefit because I am someone trying to get my first degree.
Training is given to every employee in order to prepare them for the real job. This is required training by the parent company. In the classroom I was trained by a friendly and dedicated instructor. I was trained with a group of people with ages ranging from 18 years old to their 50’s or 60’s although most people were in their mid or early 20’s. The scene of this classroom was very familiar to that of a High School setting. As you already know high school classroom settings are not always professional. The classroom had a lot of people who were very loud, disrespectful toward others including the trainer, emotionally unstable, had no prospect in improving their life, and often forgot that they were at work. My guess would be that 80% of the classroom was spent doing absolutely nothing, 10% of the classroom was spent learning, and the rest was spent practicing. I ended up making several friends and I ended up getting top of the class for my attitude and perfect attendance.
“The floor” is what we called the area where people are on the job taking calls and being productive. After about a month of training we are sent out to the floor to start practicing on the job. Of course, with the poor training that we received the learning curve was very steep. After a week and a half on the floor I already knew how to solve most things within five to seven minutes with the exception of some customers who required a lot more patience while leading them through troubleshooting steps. The job was actually very enjoyable because you spent all day talking to wonderful people from all over the country. I loved the job because I felt very confident that I was able to help customers with most issues that they ran into. However, one of the aspects that put me off was that there was so much focus on sales that it made your job a nightmare. A lot of your performance is based on how many sales you do and that requires bombarding distressed or angry people with advertisements to buy things that they most likely do not need. It is taken so seriously that you have to lower your standards when troubleshooting with a customer in order to fit an upsell somewhere in the conversation. Its just something that you don’t expect to be so big when working in the technical support side of Cox.
In order to make up for the poor training provided by C3 there is always supposed to be someone available to answer your questions in cases that you’ve never encountered before and do not know how to proceed. However, the people in charge of helping you are either busy or not on the floor at all. So you have to try your best to help the customer with the little knowledge that you do have. This usually ends with 15 minute to 50 minute calls. And when you start to pass the 10 minute mark you keep hearing your name being referenced over and over through the walkie talkies. What happens first is that your name gets called along with a line like “Sulfen is 15 minutes on a call, go see what he’s doing”. Someone comes check on you, looks at your screen and leaves. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they ask you if you need help, and if you’re unlucky they start to rudely question why you are taking so long on the call without offering help.
There is also another type of support called the Human Resources department. There is one guy in charge of the human resources department and unfortunately he’s not a trustworthy person and so I never trusted to come to him but let me explain why. In late 2013 I was in college studying in a break room when suddenly a man approaches me and compliments my intelligence for simply studying. I gave him my attention to not be rude. He proceeded to try and recruit me for a scam company that tries to lure college students with the promise of wealth and a secure future. They then tell you that you have to travel hundreds of miles to another state to get training first, and in this case the training was about how to sell security systems. Luckily I didn’t get caught into this with family advice but I do know some people that did get caught up in it and ended up losing money and valuable time. The man that approached me is the man that is currently holding the position for the human resources in the Twin Falls C3 building. You can probably tell why I didn’t trust him to begin with.
Moving up in the company
Before I started working for C3 I knew a couple of people that were already working here. One of them had been there for a year already. That person happened to be one of my best friends. I hadn’t seen him for a while because he has been dedicating his life to this company. Unfortunately for him, it cost him his education for the promise of moving up in the company. He went from being an intelligent, self motivated person to someone who looks up to the higher ups for permission before moving a finger. He pretended I did not exist while I was around when other higher ups were around. I’m a very proactive person so I had already had one on one conversations with most people people in positions higher than mine so I didn’t understand why he was ashamed to talk to me while they were around. However, I finally found out from other people who I’ve met while working at C3 that the only way to move up in the company is to basically demean yourself to the higher ups… basically, be a teacher’s pet.
Why I quit
Even though I loved the job, I was making decent money, and I was planning on having them pay my school tuition, I had to quit for a couple of reasons. The main reason was the stress caused by the higher ups in the company who, by the way, only showed up once or twice per week for a couple of minutes on the floor. They push sales and they acted like they were too good to help you. And I started to notice that the longer that I worked there the more overtime hours that they tried to force on me. I soon realized that by the time that school started I would be too burdened with my job that I would end up taking 3 years instead of 1 to finish my degree. Even though the burden of how bad the upper staff behaved really put me off I quit more because my education is more important than this job. And that’s saying a lot because the staff at C3 cause a lot of stress. I had a heart transplant 9 months ago and I did not have any complications until they started to push their stress onto me. The job itself, even while dealing with angry yelling customers, was not stressful. I really do feel that the staff need to be trained a lot better to handle their stress without pushing it on to their employees.
Would I recommend C3?
No, I would not. To reiterate, this is a contractor company that promises to get a lot more done for lower wages. So they expect you to do more with a lot less rewards and benefits. It’s not worth the stress for the lower than average wages for a call center and for very poor promise to move up in the company.