Pros: there is a ceiling, so you won't get wet when it rains.
Cons: pay, environment, coworkers, management, policies, management.
Let me walk you through my time at Sykes. I worked there for almost 2 years, unfortunately. When I first got the job, I felt pretty positive. I went into training, liked the trainer and most of my classmates pretty well, and did very well in the class, according to everyone above me, including my trainer and the other managers. I was told multiple times – more... that "once I was out on the floor taking calls, I would be able to advance very quickly." Things were looking pretty positive for me.
Once I got on the floor, I worked my butt off to do well at the job. I was focused on providing great customer service and things went nice for a little while. The pay was pretty pathetic, but it was better than minimum wage, which is what I was making at my old job.
When I applied for the job, I asked plenty of questions about what it would consist of. I even asked if any sales would be required. I was told that all it consisted of was helping customers troubleshoot problems with their phones and answering billing questions for them, and that there were no sales involved. Of course, a few weeks after I get onto the floor I find out that not only are sales involved, they are required. You have a quota of sales to make per day, and if you don't make that quota two things happen. One: You get disciplinary action against you, which scales up according to how many days you miss the quota. Two: You have to write a statement on why you didn't make sales goals, as if you were a third grader being disciplined for not turning in homework.
Still, in spite of this, I worked as hard as I could to make sales quotas, with the added incentives that I would supposedly be getting extra money on my paycheck for each sale. After two years working there, I never saw a single dime from this. I'm the type of person who kept track of every single pay stub to make sure I was getting paid the right amount, and never did I see any pay for incentives. Every time I asked someone in management, I got an evasive answer. Sometimes it was "You're asking the wrong person, you need to ask X about that." Sometimes it was "The sales you're making don't qualify. You have to sell certain features." I eventually went all the way to the site manager, and was told "We know this is a problem, and we're working on it." Also, I can't confirm whether this is true, but there were rumors circulating that we were supposed to be getting Christmas bonuses one year, which management actually took, spent a portion of on door prizes for a Christmas party, and pocketed the rest. I also found out-and I can confirm this-that there were several people, myself included, who were supposed to get a fifty cent raise after six months of employment and did not. I did eventually get reimbursed, but the process to make that happen was a long and difficult one. No one told me I had been shorted, and I probably would have never gotten the money if I hadn't asked about it myself.
In spite of everything, I kept trying as hard as I could at the job, hoping for some form of recognition, and hoping desperately for a pay increase. (I later found out-and I can confirm this-that there were several people, myself included, who were supposed to get a fifty cent raise after six months of employment and did not. I did eventually get reimbursed, but the process to make that happen was a long and difficult one. No one told me I had been shorted, and I probably would have never gotten the money if I hadn't asked about it myself.) The most recognition I ever got was a balloon and a fun size candy bar every now and then. This is what counted as recognition at Sykes. Finally, after about a year of trying hard, applying for every open position, and being told constantly, even by management, that I would "surely be moving up soon", I gave up. I stopped trying so hard and soon found out this worked pretty well, since it was what everyone else was doing anyways. I found out that promotion to management or any other position was nothing more than a lottery at worst and a popularity contest at best. This job turned me into a very cynical, bitter person, because it taught me that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no one will care.
Let's talk a little bit about what the job actually consists of, and the environment.
Coworkers - Some coworkers were nice, and some weren't. The majority of workers tended to be young, disrespectful, and extremely unprofessional. Imagine working your self half-to-death trying to get ahead and then being grouped in with these foolish, uneducated, juvenile morons. The same goes for managers. Some managers were always willing to help in whatever way they could, and would take escalated calls if necessary. Others would avoid helping as much as possible, and would absolutely refuse to take escalated calls. There were several managers there who had never even been on the phone in the first place. The worst managers were those at the top, who made no bones about treating us low-life peons like garbage.
Job Duties - The first thing you will need to learn for this job is how to lie really well. You don't need to know what you're talking about when customers ask you a question. You just need to know how to sound like you do. Places like this are why your AT&T customer service is so bad. They have a revolving door on the building for the constant stream of terminated employees going out and new hires coming in. These new hires are thrown into training and rushed through it (When I first started training, it was six weeks long. Last I heard, it was cut down to two weeks.), then put on the floor to take calls with very little actual experience or understanding of their job. You learn pretty quickly how to sound like you are good at your job, instead of actually knowing how to do it well. Once out on the floor, you'll have a very difficult time catching up, because once you finally think you've learned something, there is a policy or procedure change, which you might not get training on for anywhere from one week to six months after it is implemented. For example; AT&T started offering shared data plans, and I had customers call in frequently about these plans. I was unaware that any such plan existed, so I would tell these people they must be mistaken. After about three weeks of this, we finally found out that AT&T really had started offering these plans, and finally got training on them about two weeks later. Other fun things we had to deal with included combined billing, which could only be handled by a certain department. Fun fact: that department was only open Monday through Friday until 7PM. Our department was open every day until 1AM. Just imagine what fun it was explaining to customers why I couldn't even so much as look at their bill, and that the only people who could just closed five minutes ago. There was also the sales quota. What a load of fun that was. There was no lack of people who wanted to meet that goal and get that incentive pay, no matter what lengths they had to go to to do so. Several times daily, I would have to remove features from accounts because other employees had added them without permission, in order to meet those goals. I saw a few employees get terminated for this, but I saw even more get away with it.
Work Environment - This was one of my least favorite parts about the job. The management thought it would "increase morale" to have music constantly playing. This sounds like a good idea right? In practice, playing a little bit of music at a low volume might help relax people, right? If only we were so lucky. In reality, what this amounted to was blaring "Today's Hip-Hop and R&B hits" at maximum volume, unedited and full of every curse word and derogative line of every song. I lost count the times when I had customers ask if I was at home or if we were having some kind of party. When bringing this up to the managers, their response was "Tell them we are having a party, celebrating great customer service!" I was so embarrassed and felt like it made us look so unprofessional. I'm sure it was even worse for those right next to the karaoke machine they use to blare the music. Fortunately, I was halfway across the floor from it, but it was still entirely too loud.
Benefits - The "benefits" of this job are hardly worth mentioning. The health plan is nothing special, and getting vacation time is like pulling teeth.
Overall, my warning to you is this: Avoid this place at all costs. Don't fall into Sykes' trap. This is how they operate; They go to small communities with a high poverty rate, so they can hire people desperate for jobs at ludicrously low pay. They will push you to do better and better, only ever noticing your failures, never your successes. They will suck any positivity you have right out of you. Keep your lower-paying job elsewhere. The slight increase in pay is not worth the hassle of working for this company. You will have to lie to people daily and try to sell them things they don't need or can't afford. – less