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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mr Gradgrind, I presume, 20 Nov 2007
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John Williams (Apeldoorn, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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We all love to hate call centres. I doubt whether Real Bergevin is singlehandedly responsible for this state of affairs, but in this volume he does little to enhance the image of call centres in my eyes. I find it difficult to write an objective review of this book without digressing into a rant about the evils of the modern world. What Bergevin presents is a vision of hell. He didn't create the hell, of course; he just explains it, and he does that quite well so deserves at least three stars.

But from my own perspective there were one or two gaps. I work in the public sector, and need to know about call/contact centres from a public services point of view. In the UK about 20% of people employed in call centres work in the public services or voluntary sector. Borgevin nods in our direction, mentioning once or twice that the 911 (999) emergency services depend on call centres, and then ignores us, presuming that everyone who works in or manages a call centre is motivated by money and little else. Of course there is a need in the pubic sector to provide value for money, and call/contact centres have a role in achieving this. I would like to have seen perhaps just one chapter in this book that tackled this question. I would also have liked to have seen more that would be of interest to call centre agents or potential agents as well as the interesting 'no management without measurement' stuff.

The book has a distinctly American flavour. However, except for a few short paragraphs dealing with US legislation relating to call centres, it is of universal relevance and usefulness (not surprising in view of its uncritical embrace of offshore call centres in faraway places), and the cultural difference is not at all jarring. (Ah yes, perhaps I should have looked for a book that didn't hail from the land of big business and small government.)

I quite liked the 'For Dummies' layout. This is the first time I've read one of this series from cover to cover. Of course, it doesn't have to be read in this way, and perhaps I would have formed a more favourable impression of it by using it as a reference book or just reading the bits that seemed most relevant to me. The writing was clear, and some of the tips very useful, applicable across the whole spectrum of call centres and into the world beyond. I will keep this book, and probably go back to it from time to time to review some of these gems.
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