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Quality control specialist overcomes odds: helps others succeed professionally

This quality control monitor in a call center has overcome poverty, racism, a broken home, and growing up in a neighborhood riddled with gang violence, and has found a career he loves helping others succeed at their jobs.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
My job title is Quality Monitor. I have been in this position for just over 5 years.

Would you describe the things you do on a typical day?
The easiest, and most effective way to describe my job is to repeat a phrase that we all have heard at one time or another:

“This call may be monitored and recorded for quality assurance and accuracy purposes.”

I am sure when the majority of people hear that phrase, it is simply regarded as some form of jargon that really doesn’t mean anything. But, the fact of the matter is that calls really are monitored and recorded for quality assurance and accuracy purposes. Each day, I pull up a list of calls recorded from the past day and listen to them for some key elements. I have access to the employees computer screen, so I can see what they see. As the call progresses, I follow along, making sure the questions are answered correctly, the right steps are taken, and most importantly, insure that the customer is treated with the utmost respect. I grade the employees performance, and send that information to their supervisor for immediate praise, or punishment, dependent upon the situation. I also take this information, and compile it for upper management for trending reports.

What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what response worked best?
Being an African American man, I had previously been discriminated against in other jobs. I used those experiences as motivation to work even harder, and become better in my trade. The fortunate part about my current position is that there is no room for interpretation. The facts speak for themselves. If an employee delivers less than stellar customer service, it is evident during the call, a fact that cannot be disputed.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?
I am extremely satisfied with my job. Of course, there is always room for improvement. Sometimes we are a bit under-staffed, which can make the end of the month very stressful. And who would complain about more money? Overall, I would give my job an 8 out of 10.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?
I learned the hard way that not everyone enjoys being critiqued. Personally, I want my supervisor to let me know immediately if I am not meeting expectations. What other way is there to know what you need to do better? But, there are those that do not appreciate being told that they are not performing up to standards. Fairly early in my monitoring career, I was approached in the parking lot by an employee that was not happy with the scores he had been given. Though the conversation started peacefully, it soon escalated to a physical confrontation. Luckily, company security was made aware very early on of potential violence, and the employee was engaged by security before he could engage me. It was a good lesson to learn, and a reminder that we each have our own temperaments, talents, and convictions, and it is important to know how to communicate with someone while keeping this in mind.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
It sure would have been nice if they had taught office etiquette in school. There are so many things you don’t learn in Corporate America until you do it wrong and someone brings it to your attention.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I ended up in this position due to my experience in customer service. I spent a few years on the phone and was considered one of the best in the company. After numerous commendations my boss recommended me for a monitoring position. Upper management reviewed my record, and agreed with his recommendation. If I had known management was looking to fill the position, I would have started working towards it earlier.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?
There really aren’t that many strange things that have happened to me during my tenure. I was once approached by an employee offering to park my car for me in the morning so I wouldn’t have so far to walk if I would give him higher scores. Weird, I know! Needless to say, I did not take him up on his offer.

On a good day when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
Most days I leave the office with a great sense of accomplishment. I know that at the end of the day, I am ensuring that customers calling in are getting the same service I want when I call in to another company.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?
There are times when absolutely nothing seems to go right, and those are some of the worst days. This is typically due to system issues. Calls not recording, computers not loading, etc. When this happens I have to sit with the employees side by side and grade their calls while they are on them. This can be very distracting for the employee, and somewhat uncomfortable for both of us. Those are some pretty tough days, to say the least.


How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?

My job is mildly stressful, but nothing compared to other high stress jobs, like law enforcement or firefighters. It really isn’t hard to separate work and home. Although, if I have to call in to customer service, such as for my cell phone or cable, it can be like being at work all over again!

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?
My job pays around $30,000 a year. I have to say I feel adequately compensated for the amount of work that I do, although I wouldn’t complain if my boss offered me a raise.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?
The most rewarding moment I had in my current position came when an employee who was close to being terminated due to poor performance was awarded a certificate for outstanding achievement, and when he received it he thanked me in front of the department, saying it was because of my diligent scoring that he was able to turn his performance around.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
I am not sure if my four year degree in Literature helped me in getting this position. I do know for sure that my people skills are essential.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
I would advise a friend looking to get into this line of work to really consider the fact that people aren’t going to always be open to what you have to tell them. But, in the long run, it will be in their best interest to take what you say for what it is worth.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I tend to take about three weeks of vacation a year. I think it is enough, and I get a chance to relax, without getting too backed up.

Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?
The common misunderstanding I would want to clear up about my job is, like stated before, there really are people listening to calls and providing feedback to the employees.

Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?
My job definitely moves my heart. I know I am helping to make someone’s day each time they call in to one of our employees.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
In five years, I would like to be CEO of my company. Sounds cliché, but I enjoy the company I work for, and I would love to take the company in some new directions!

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
When considering my experiences and accomplishments, I like people to know that I was actually born and raised in one of the poorest communities in the United States. I survived gangs, poverty, and a broken home, and managed to accomplish all of this!

  • Matt Shelton

    I remember making $5.15 an hour working at a grocery store in Flora, MS I often thought I would never see a better life outside that meat department because it was what I was always told. I moved to Michigan to help care for my mother and gained employment with Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. on the job I again had to face hurdles like working under supervisors who wanted to hinder your success. I stayed on tasked and through hard work and dedication worked my way up tp account manager and after being a follower I can say I am now a great leader who takes pride in the ones working under me for their success also determines mine.

  • Renae

    My mom was a single mother after my father passed away when I was just 3 and a half years old. I grew up very angry and confused; I was scared to be alone and had an irrational fear of my mother dying. As I got into my teens, I started smoking, drinking and abusing drugs to self medicate. After multiple suicide attempts, I was diagnosed as being bipolar. I failed my 3rd semester in college ans felt my life spiraling out of control. I had to support myself, so I started applying for a job. I was soon hired on with my first call center.

    Being hired on in my first call center to provide technical support for Gateway computers (when Windows 98 was barely out!) gave me the opportunity to channel my feelings of no control into something I could control; the resolution to problems. I have always been a problem solver and I have always wanted to help people. Answering phone call after phone call of frustrated and upset customers, then leaving them laughing, satisfied and with their computer issues solved, gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

    I was able to successfully overcome my many addictions by channeling my time and energy into learning as much as I could about computer hardware and software. Once out of training, I made new friends at work who shared my new passion and left my old life behind. I worked as much as I could to keep myself occupied.

    Since then, I have worked in several call centers. I worked in call centers for Ameritrade, PayPal and Mutual of Omaha. I understand his passion for what he does. I always loved speaking with customers, even the irate ones! I loved solving their problems and answering questions, clarifying anything for which they had concerns. I agree that call quality is one of the most important aspect of customer service positions, because you never know what impact you may have on someone. This is a wonderful read and I couldn’t agree more that this type of job will move your heart!

  • Shermaine Marshall

    I work in a call center for the # 1 Home Improvement Retailer in the world, Home Depot and their Retail Staffing Division is where I work as a Staffing Specialist, so I am very familiar with Quality Assessments of phone calls because we have a team that monitors us and scores us weekly to let us know how well we are doing. I have reached Platinum Status because of my Customer Service and Communication skills along with Building Relationships with the candidates I interview, the Field (Store) Management teams and internal management team. This story sounds so familiar. My ultimate goal is to ensure that every caller I encounter hangs up smiling and knowing I have their best interest with regards to their future employment opportunities with The Home Depot.
    I love my job as this person loved his job. I compete with no one but myself because only I can push myself more than anyone else ever will. I know God placed me in this field to be an encourager and builder of others who doubt their capabilities. I love seeing what God has in store for me each day and I always leave knowing I did my best. I live by the golden rule, treat others as I want to be treated and never have someone to say or do anything I am not willing to say or do. This was a very awesome post, I enjoyed reading it.

  • CaVone’ Moore

    This career story was by far one of the most captivating stories that I read. I believe this is so because I can attest and emphasize with many of the same experiences. His background certainly hits home due to the fact that I too have overcome surviving a broken home, violence, and many other tribulations that one may face while living in under-priveleged communities. Through all of the trials that I faced throughout my childhood, I was still able to be successful. I found quality life values through each and every experience I faced.

    I like to consider myself “innovative by accident.” Growing up with just one parent, I was forced into maturity at a young age. I saw my mother working diligently day in and day out to provide a comfortable lifestyle for my brother and I. My mother did everything she could for us. My neighborhood, my hometown on the north-side of Minneapolis, Minnesota is a very unsafe and almost warlike environment to live in as a child.

    Protecting my brother and I, my mother moved my family to DeSoto, Texas. New environment, new people, new climate, new way of life; moving all the way from Minnesota to Texas was one of the biggest changes I had ever been through in my life. Imagine going from the Mall of America to horseback riding and gun shows. I went from being literally all the way up North to being all the way down South. It was challenging, especially at the age of eleven. But from seeing how strenuously my mom always worked to make things work out, I too had to do the same.

    From this big migration in my life I learned how to connect and work with all different kinds of people from all different kinds of backgrounds creating a union. Now I enjoy meeting and being able to work with people of diverse lifestyles. As such, this is the main reason ventured off for college. It is somewhat of a familiar challenge for me to once again move across America and meet new people.

    Becoming apart of a diverse college community, I continue to promote hard work amongst my peers creating an environment in which everyone has that drive to be persistent with their work and achieving their goals in life. It’s just how I was raised.

  • Cynthia Okeleye

    You’re story was compelling, one
    that I can say I have the utmost respect for. I commend you on your efforts to
    strive for excellence despite your disadvantages. I’m quite familiar with your
    job position, but failed to realize its importance until reading your story.

    I can testify to enduring similar
    experiences with discrimination/sexism both in the workplace, educational
    environment, and public. Though I witnessed and experienced the stereotypical
    comments and racial slurs, I wasn’t discouraged, but rather entertained. Born
    of African Natives, and working in a predominately white-male job and attending
    a predominately white college was an experience that promoted me to a new
    career endeavor and sent me off to a one-way ticket to a full scholarship. There’s
    always the “no you can’t” and “it’s only because you’re black” thoughts that
    make people think otherwise of their abilities, but for me…my only set back was
    letting “them” win. When it comes to talent, passion, and influence, there’s no
    color or sexual identification.

    The best reward in my line of work
    is knowing you have accomplished meeting the customer/client’s needs and
    knowing you’re valued by your company. Feedback is key in making improvement.
    Reading that your involvement effectively impacted another’s performance and
    kept them from being terminated makes me think about just how your role is an
    asset to the team. Not only do we attract others to the business, but make the
    company better. I appreciate your story. Thanks!

  • smartinez

    I had faced many hard
    obstacles in my life and thought that I would never make it but overcame many
    hardships. Even though I had a lot of difficulties working two jobs and going
    to school, I never gave up. All my life I worked hard to be where I am today.
    In 2008 I was elected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities
    & Colleges in recognition of outstanding merit and accomplishment as an undergraduate
    student at Southern Connecticut State University. I believe in hard work
    and that with God all things are possible. I am a success story because I made
    the impossible possible. I am a great role model for students who have a huge
    disadvantage in society and do not believe that they will ever make it in
    school or become successful in life. I have the ability in all that I do to be
    successful and i will love to encourage others to never give up on their educational goals or dreams.

  • Customer Service can be fulfilling for those who have a talent for it. It takes a selfless person who is compassionate and get great joy serving and helping others no matter what the form of service is. For the most part, you have to remember that we deal with people from all walks of life. Everyday won’t be a good day for some. You have to know how to humble yourself and realize nothing is personal. Some are just having a bad day and some needs someone to listen to. At the end of the day, it brings me great joy to know I have made someone’s day or serviced a customer in some type of way. When you do what you love the results show.

  • Tara Rigsbee

    You can succeed at any job as long as you take every day serious and
    treat it like it will be your last job. I have learned the hard way,
    that even if you’re in the mail room you still can move up if you show
    you want to be successful.

  • Regina2008

    I know all to well about customer service. My husband has worked at a call center for almost 5 years now. He is always stressed when he comes home from all the people cussing at him all day. But we had no other choice we married young and had two kids. We hardly see him and he works alot of overtime to make ends meet. He tries his best to please his co-workers and his managers so he can move up in the company and not spend his life being put down by people when all he tries to do is fix there issues.

  • Amartel2006

    Customer service is one of the most challenging fields to work in. You deal with people form all walks of life. the service industry has its rewards and challenges. I look forward to seeing the smile on my customer’s faces when I have made their day or helped them feel better with something simple such as a smile or thank you. It is refreshing to read about a someone overcoming their obstacles to acheive their heart’s desire instead of playing the blame game. This story is inspiring!

  • Customer Service can be quite difficult. The ability to deal with customers can be quite challenging and sometimes overwhelming. I think that customer service is very important. My job is ongoing customer service and I have realized that some people just want to hear a friendly voice or see a friendly face. Co-workers work well when there is team work and good moral. I have learned that the ability to deal with customers comes from within a person and not everyone is able to provide the necessary customer service. I enjoy helping people and feel that whatever job I do, dealing with customers helps me feel accomplished when I am able to help them.

  • Jasmine Merrick

    I too have worked at a call center, the environment was very spontaneous. You never knew what to expect when you anwser the phone for customers. I handled homeowners insurance for customers who have added more flooring to their home or have made renovations. I also had to talk to customers who had lost their homes in floods, or tornadoes.

  • yvonne77

    I can relate with this article because I too have worked in a call center and have had other customer service positions. I like working with people and getting to know all types of people is very interesting. I came from a single parent family with hardly any money. My dad passed when I was 4. My mom raised 6 kids by herself while working part time jobs. This taught me that anybody can do anything they want if they set their mind to it. I have been a single mom myself and know for a fact it is a struggle. My mom is an inspiration to me. She does not have much, but she would give you all that she had. She and my kids are what keeps me going toward my goals. It does get hard going to school, working, and trying to take care of your family. I am the only person that can better myself. So I keep working hard and keep pushing forward. Someday I plan on providing for my mom what she could not always provide for us.

  • Raean Alleyne

    I for one know all about overcoming. Being raised by a single black mother of three called for tough times. Growing up my mom instilled the very best morals and work ethic in my siblings and myself. School was extremely important, as she was born and raised in another country she had to work harder to get the things that we were fortunate to have handed to us as children growing up in the US.

    As far as assuring great customer service, for me that is extremely important. It’s frustrating when you call into somewhere and the person on the other end of the call doesn’t have the qualities that as consumers or whatever the case may be are looking for.

    About 2 years ago my grandmother suffered a massive stroke and left paralyzed on one side and many other health issues. So I agreed to help take care of her with my mom. A lot of the weight I have to bare on my shoulders to this day. There was a point where we had no vehicle and I had to get up at 4:30 am to catch a bus to work, then I had class until 10pm.

    Imagine having to deal with that type of schedule and all that was going on at home, I had to find time on breaks at work, or in transit on the bus, to make my customer service calls. Thanks to passionate individuals like this man in the article my days weren’t always completely ruined. Some may take it lightly, but it makes a major difference when you have someone who truly cares about serving you when you have to make those calls.

  • collegestudent15

    Making someone’s day, passionate about quality, and actively
    pursuing goals – all are great attributes manifested by this worker. Employees
    and bosses would do well to cultivate these same ideals in the work environment, striving
    to meet high standards and excellence, a commitment that pays off both
    personally and economically.

    From my own experience, working with passion in the pursuit my goals
    has had the same effect, the satisfaction of a job well done, a job done with my
    heart, a job that helps others and myself succeed.

    As a first generation college student, I have had to work
    through many of the same obstacles as the interviewee, a broken home, a
    drug-centered neighborhood, and little support from those around me.

    This article is a refreshing breath and a counter-point to
    the typical scenario of those who are hardworking never getting a deserved
    break. This story gives me the motivation to continue to work toward my goals,
    my dreams. Thank you.

  • moparaji1

    This quality control specialist is a perfect example of how I like to live my life and he easiliy shares some of my most important core values. Needless to say, I can relate some of my past experiences with this person. Pleasing people and helping them to better themselves is something I would like to strongly express to the world. I believe that all people have special skills and talents, and everyone has room for improvement. I remember trying to help my friends in middle school with their English assignments because they were so obviously struggling with it.

    Growing up in an area where money/luxury were low and crime high, they indeed struggled to understand certain aspects of our schoolwork and they absolutely hated being told what to do and how wrong they were. I would never let it escalate to physical confrontation, but I knew that they needed help and I yearned to better my fellow classmates. After all, they lived in my area and if we all excelled then things would get better for us. Showing them how fix grammatical errors in sentences were easy enough, it was only times when they hated to be critiqued about their work that would make helping them challenging.
    Ultimately, perserverance played a role in it all and they never came to the point where they had to fail simple quizzes or essays. I think that’s the point this quality control specialist is trying to make. Helping others better themselves, helps yourself in the long run and that truly brings good tidings to everyone around you. I’d love to see how many others I can help in different ways with financial assistance from those at DiversityJobs!

  • steph6641

    There are many similarities that I share with a person in this article. I grew up in a broken home with my father as my only caregiver. My dad, my brother and I all lived in a rough area of town. As an elementary school student I remember that getting to and from school was a battle and sometimes could be scary. Some days my brother and I would come home with ripped clothes and grassed stained pants and this was not from playing after school sports (my father couldn’t afford those activities). Other kids would pick fights with us because they did not like the way we looked. My brother always stuck up for me (his little sister) and even ended up in the school nurses office after he was knocked out by a kid 3 years older than him.

    While growing up my father always told my brother and I that it was important to put food on the table and that having a job was the most important. Keeping this in mind I started working at the age of 17 and continue working even till this day. I tried my best to juggle work, college, and later family. Many times I failed, and found it impossible to get the resources (money) necessary to finish college. However, I always seemed to get back up and give it another shot. I am no quitter!

    My background in jobs is with customer service. I worked in retail, banks and currently working for the child support agency. I love my job knowing that I’m able to help families and especially children get the financial and medical resources they need to become healthy and functioning adults. I’m on the phones almost 80% of the time talking to families in need.

    I would like to continue my studies to improve myself and the lifestyle of my family. However, the financial resources is also a factor that is holding me back and it would be fabulous to be able to have some relief.

  • BrendaTaggart

    Having come from a background of extreme poverty and moral depravity I can understand the inner strength it requires to silence the ghosts of your past. I too, share my story of overcoming to encourage those I see struggling to shake off the programming of their youth. I have come to the conclusion that, though I live a very blessed life, my lack of education is a stumbling block to my success. That is why I am a freshman at 40. I am excited to see how far I can go when I allow nothing to hold me back.

  • Lucy R.

    I can relate to this article because I have worked and still
    working in a call center. I used to work
    in the quality control department and I experienced good and bad times. The bad times were equipment not working or
    when other teammates were caught providing incorrect information to
    agents. I remember all the good times
    and how excited I was to wake up and get ready to go to work. I got to meet many people with different
    cultures and believe. My mother passed
    away when I was 11 years-old, I was not able to finish high school, and had to
    attend a vocational school where I obtained my GED. I have been able to overcome other people’s
    prejudice because I am Mexican American.
    I know how people feel when they call a company and expect the best
    courteous service. That is the same
    service I implemented with every representative I monitored.

  • Christopher Maze

    I can relate to this persons strugle to want to help others succeed, and not being considered for the opportunity because they are not holding the proper piece of paper in terms of their degree. I spent over 18 years in my current career as a business owner, but when the housing market collapsed and took my marketing company that specialized in helping contractors market themselvs down with it, I had to find an employer. I was overlooked everytime for jobs that I knew like the back of my hand because I did not have my proper paper work. Now I am going after what I want to do with my life and intend on having all the papers and documents to back it up!

  • qwin22

    when reading this article I can relate in many ways. I have worked in call centers and they are hectic at times but fun. I also came from a broken home, poverty, and very little guidance. I overcame it all. It makes me a better person at work and at home with my children. I worked for the McKinney Municipal Courts and I dealt with different people and different attitudes on a daily basis. I had to keep my insanity by counting to 10, taking a break, and know that the customer is always right (in their minds) and that would help me help the customer process his paper work correctly when they have to see the judge and continue having a good day on the job that I loved.

  • lilp174

    I relate in a few different ways to this article. I have not exactly worked in a call center but I have delt with customer service. I think that dealing with people on a daily basis has to be one of the most difficult jobs out there but yet the most rewarding of them all, all at the same time.
    When you can help someone and know you did you get a great feeling of satisfaction, I guess that is why I am taking the career path that I have choosen. I, like the person in the article enjoy my job and like helping others.

  • John Washington

    I can relate to the fact that the level of your degree is not the thing that can lany you a job. I am a very personable person and I am in college not seeking a bachelors degree in marketing and pre law, and I have never gotten a job based on my level of education. I was worked a company as a regular worker comming in on time, doing what I had to do. I made sure all my work was done to perfection, and a made sure to enjoy everything I did, and within a month of me working there they promoted me to a manager. That goes to show as long as you have the right morals, work ethics, and personality it does not matted the degree of your education.

  • deesummer42

    This article is well off informational and it has a lot of points to it and everyone should take this information and put it to use no matter what color you are and the fact that any company you work for there will be some kind of obstacle that we all will deal with rather it’s in the workforce or in your neighborhood, but we deal with these issues every single day. You have to be happy in what you and also enjoy the things you do, with society the way it is and if you are working better hold on to you job even if you do not like your job better pretty much fake it and keep on going. I’ve been discriminated on as well but I keep myself strong and learn to deal with issues that will make my life a lot better so when I do get a decent job they will know how much I put my effort and time into the things I learned and willing to put forth. I have accomplished something in my life and still do this day.

  • Aaron Williams

    This article was very informational. This article spoke on several points that should
    be important to all employees regardless of his or her position within the
    company. Enjoying your job is important
    to his or her desire to strive within the business. Learning every aspect of the company will
    make any employee an important asset to the organization.

    The article touched on pride and a willingness to learn how
    to lead and manage people. Managing
    people is a major key in becoming a successful manager and leader within the
    organization. I also enjoyed that salary
    was not the main focus but an important part of the current and future
    goals. The interviewee did not surprise
    me by accomplishing all of these things while surviving his environment. He clearly has internal motivation to grow
    himself in any area he desires. I
    enjoyed this story.

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