Friday, June 17, 2011

Resume Parts & Pieces, Work Experience: Alltel Communications

Alltel was my experience in retail and my last work experience in the Midwest. The company was spread out in several call centers at that time in the Midwest and Southeast, with limited coverage in the west, and I worked as a customer service representative for customers who had questions about their contract and pre-paid billing statements. I also assessed cell phone bills from customers and made recommendations on products and services that Alltel offered that might help the customer make better use of their cell phone or getting better value for their usage.

When I started at Alltel I had just resigned from a training instructor position at Bass Pro Shops, and my primary reason for resignation was compensation. I had the opportunity to receive greater compensation at Alltel as a front-line associate on the phones than I had received in a position of leadership at Bass Pro, and I had full potential to move up within Alltel to a similar position of training or leadership that I had exercised at Bass Pro. Indeed, the first few months that I was with Alltel I adapted their company vision and processes so well that I was asked to help train and mentor new associates, even though I was a relatively new associate myself. It was gratifying to me as a trainer of the industry and empowering to me as a new associate to know that my efforts mattered.

It was at Alltel that I honed my skills in a call center setting and truly understood the fundamentals of call center performance in relation to customer satisfaction. Alltel's scheduling process was such that we shared call volume with one or two other centers across the south, but only if something overloaded systemically or if call volume inexplicably went up. We knew when to expect more calls and when to expect less, we learned how to budget our day so that customer plan changes and documentation could be completed within the day without down time and without overtime. And we learned that learning these lessons of efficiency would reward us. For instance, tenured employees with Alltel often received the highest pay and the longest amount of vacation time, but the best performers received vacation WHEN they wanted it and had the opportunity to bid quarterly on vacation requests and schedule preferences. Incentives for better plan correlation and feature usage on a customer's plan would grant employees prizes that they selected from a catalog of products ranging from writing instruments to fine leather products to furniture (I received a Coach wristlet as one of my prizes, and a hammock chair as another). Better performance also gave me more opportunities to coach others and to guide others to better performance in coaching sessions, classes, and filling in as a back-up team lead on occasion for the call center associates.

My reason for leaving Alltel was an opportunity to move to California and live closer to my family. If I hadn't had this opportunity, I would probably still be with Alltel to this day, and, by my best estimate, in a position of leadership. In my next segment I will talk about my favorite job experience that I ever had, with Bass Pro Shops as a swing shift training instructor for their call center.

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