Two Unfair Ways That Customer Service Reps Are Assessed

Lauren Krause
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The modern age of technology and interconnection has created new opportunities for workers seeking a lower-stress work environment and greater flexibility in their personal lives. Work-from-home employment may seem like a dream come true, but for some it creates a stressful and unstable situation. Some customer service agents complain of bad communication with management and policies based on arbitrary factors that they feel result in unfair evaluation.

Work-from-home customer service agents at Amazon have cited several problems with how management is structured and how the quality of their performance is evaluated. Customer service agents troubleshoot customer problems over the phone, often dealing with customers who are already upset about an issue. They are timed on their calls and have predetermined goals for talk times, hold times and after-call work.

Once they assist a customer, that customer is prompted to fill out a survey that offers feedback on his level of satisfaction. A "No" answer infers dissatisfaction, while a "Yes" shows satisfaction. However, a customer's reported level of satisfaction may reflect other factors besides the quality of service given. A customer's reported satisfaction may be a reflection of general feelings toward the company, product or service. It may also be an expression of annoyance over the issue. But unfortunately for Amazon customer service agents, their performance is held entirely responsible for this dissatisfaction from the standpoint of management.

They also claim that within Amazon's current policy system, it is the top-determining metric used to evaluate their quality of work. Even if an agent has resolved a customer's issue, the customer may still answer "No" without being required to explain why he was dissatisfied. When this happens, management is said to hold the customer service agent entirely responsible, accusing him of poor performance or lack of sincerity in his dealings with the customer. This puts customer service agents in a precarious position. They claim that even those who rank as top performers often end up in a dubious position with their employer. Many such individuals are issued warnings or even lose their job based on this unfair evaluation.

Not only are these customer service agents evaluated on an arbitrary and groundless basis, but complaints of dissatisfaction do not always come with an explanation. This leaves employees in a position in which they are unable to adjust their performance to reflect issues. Their status with their employer, despite their good performance, is left entirely in the hands of these survey results.

Another troublesome issue that these customer service agents face is constantly changing rules and policies. Not only does management constantly change policies and rules, but it is not obligated to inform employees of these changes. These customer service agents feel that being expected to follow rules they are unaware of is unfair.

Some question if these issues affecting customer service agents mark a downturn in the job market toward jobs that offer little reliability and responsibility from management.

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