Call Centre Committee

Minutes of the Call Centre Committee Meeting

June 19-20, 2012

In attendance:  Pamela Abbott               Chairperson - RVP Pacific 
                      Jamie vanSydenborgh      Co-Chairperson - RVP, Southwestern Ontario
                      Debbie Ferguson             Call Centre Representative (Saint John)
                      Luc Tailleur                     Call Centre Representative (Montreal)
                      Kent MacDonald             Staff Advisor

1. Review of last minutes (May 18, 2011)

The Committee reviewed the previous minutes.  No further action is required.

2. Review Call Centre Feedback from Locals

The Ad-Hoc Call Centre Committee sent an email in February 2012 to all UTE Call Centre Contact persons and Call Centre Locals providing them with an overview of the Committee’s work to date and requested the following:

“Finally, the Ad-Hoc Call Centre Committee is asking that you provide us with the top three (3) irritants/issues in your Call Centre that needs fixing. This will assist us in setting the agenda for our next meeting.”

The above information was received by the deadline. The Committee reviewed each of the Locals’ issues and decided which items the Committee should discuss with the employer as part of our mandate and which items need to be addressed by the Local using already existing consultation avenues. From all of the items submitted, the following would be brought forward for discussion with the employer at our June 20, 2012 meeting:

1. “All Hands on Deck” causes the following problems :

SP 05 Senior TP Services Agents are put on the SP 04 lines – approx. 4 hours.  This approach removes technical support from the teams, increases callbacks and other workloads for SP 05’s.  It also reduces accuracy levels, as SP 04’s do not have the access for technical support.

Also, SP 05’s that are required to participate in the “All Hands on Deck”, feel that they are being taken advantage of when the opportunities arise for overtime at the SP 04 level and they are denied the opportunity to participate.

Scheduled meetings and training are impacted by the “All Hands on Deck”.  Scheduled meetings are sometimes not rescheduled which can break down communication between a team leader and the team.  Training sometimes has to be rescheduled months later as a result of limited training spaces available in certain sites.

2. Training

There has been increase in promoting self-study via online learning. Training courses on system say that the course is a hands-on facilitator led course but the promotion of self-study is done instead.   As well, recommended allotted hours for training are being reduced by Management.  The perception in some cases is the employee already knows most of it, so they do not need all the hours.  As for self-study, this does not necessarily give the best opportunity to maximize the participant’s understanding of the material in complex cases.  Training in classroom has always been the best way to maximize a full understanding of the material due to sharing of information, etc.

3. National Retention / Term Rehires

There is no consistency among call centres on this process.  There has to be a better way, which would include a standardized process for these employees.  Tests designed locally don’t always take into account the experience of these employees.  As these employees are returning, a standardized exercise would be better.  As well, any testing should be done during the work hours versus on Saturdays.  These are employees of the Agency, not a new person applying. 

4. National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program (NQALP)

This database is supposed to be reserved for NQALP team leaders and NQALP listeners.  This is to maintain the program’s integrity, data confidentiality and trust of employees into the program.   There are cases where team leaders have been given access to this database and have been using it for performance evaluations.  The guidelines for the program clearly provide that NQALP is to be used for training and learning only and not for performance management, and this needs to be stopped immediately.

5. Standardized time between calls

There appears to be an understanding out in the field that Headquarters set the times between calls.  The employer has informed us that the local offices set the standard.  The Committee believes that this time should be standardized nationally.  

Sister Abbott will be sending a letter to each Local explaining that the above items were discussed with the employer and will provide them with recommendations on what to do with their items submitted to the Committee that were not discussed at the June 20th, meeting.

3. National Quality and Accuracy Learning Program - NQALP Pilot Project

The current NQALP is in place to help the employer assess its Call Centre Agent training program. This is currently done by either remote quality listening or side by side listening from Certified Quality Listeners. The employer wants to enhance this by having Certified Quality Listeners “mystery call” agents then provide feedback as to whether the training given is meeting the needs of the agent.  In February 2012, the employer was proposing to do a Pilot Project in a few offices and asked for our support. UTE agreed to participate in a Pilot Project if we could have Local union involvement. The employer has agreed; thus, the following offices will participate in the Pilot with the following union representatives being actively involved:

Saint-John                Debbie Ferguson
Montreal                   Luc Tailleur
Hamilton                   Debbie Shields

The Pilot will run over 5 weeks with a 3-week roll-up staring July 6, 2012. Approximately 800 calls will be done over this period. As of today’s meeting, both Sister Ferguson and Brother Tailleur are satisfied with how their participation and input during conference calls leading up to the Pilot has been received by the employer.

 The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.