For four years I worked as a team lead supervising, coaching, and deescalating calls at a class-action lawsuit call center. My responsibility was to teach and maintain the software proficiency of over 100 representatives. Proficiency is vital because it leads to more confident sounding representatives, happier callers and fewer costly escalations (An escalation is when a caller becomes upset and asks to speak with a manager).
The database we used had a Command Line Interface (CLI), it looked outdated, it had a steep learning curve, but it was lightning fast. Our company hired a software firm to update our database to a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and to add features for project management. The results were costly. The GUI was visually beautiful but difficult to use because they didn't understand the needs of a call center employee. The most common tasks like looking up a caller or creating a new account went from a single keystroke to a half-dozen mouse clicks. They'd removed all keyboard shortcuts and you couldn't tab between fields.
The software required better hardware than we had, so it often crashed or stalled between operations. The result was call time doubled and we had to hire temps because of the bad GUI. It's natural that there should be an uncomfortable time of adoption, but these were systemic changes that didn't improve over the following months. It ended up costing the company lots of money and morale.
My other responsibility was to listen to calls for quality assurance and nervously spoken phrases like, "Yeah, we're still waiting on my computer. Sorry.", "Give me a moment while I type that in." and "Sorry, it's this program. It crashed again." filled the phone lines.
Why did this happen? Why did project management get features that would save them 15 minutes a week, while 100 phone representatives are on their third frustrating month in overtime? During the meetings with the software company, nobody from the call center was in attendance. If a designer had sat down with a representative on a call they would have found the problem instantly. That's why I became a UX designer. I am that UX designer.
-Joel Lueders, 2/22/2018