Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Okaly Dokaly!

I was approached by one of our managers, Maude Flanders. Now Ms. Flanders is a new manager in our office. Been here about 6 months. I like her, very gong-ho. Opened minded and ready to take input. Don’t let that scare you though, I am sure this office will kill all of those delusions within a year!

Ms. Flanders wanted me to write a little blurb concerning the Negative Nickels game currently in effect in the call center. The concept is explained further down so I will not get into specifics here. I wish I could say she bribed me, tortured me, wore a red blouse with lots of cleavage, but no, she said “You write soooooo well!”. (Yea, I’m easy)

So I took a few minutes and wrote what I thought was fun, and effective. I felt it really summed up everyones feelings of the game.

Negative #&%*! Nickels
If you’ve visited or walked by the call center and wondered, the rumors are not true, CIC is not counterfeiting US dollars for profit and personal gain. So what is up with all the fake money?

Each bill represents a negative nickel. Sometimes when we are dealing with a member, it can be frustrating. Every once in a while, when we get frustrated, an in appropriate phrase or word may be verbalized after the call ends. To help us keep these to a minimum, and to keep a positive environment we are now playing a little game called “Negative Nickels”.

The rules are simple. Anytime you yell at your computer screen for being slow, pay a nickel in the cup. You throw your coffee cup at a co-worker; pay a nickel in the cup. You finish a call and call the member a #*%#$, a $$##! and a %$@*&-%$&#@ ,pay a nickel in the cup.

The game has gone over well. Helping make us more aware of our negative reactions and how to correct them. While many of us went through our first month’s worth of nickels in a week, we are already seeing results.

I liked it, short, funny. I passed a copy to Maude, who said she would look it over. Later she let me know she had done some “tweaking”. Hey I like a good editor!

I got “Flanderized!”. I recognize one sentence as mine.

Negative Nickels
If you’ve visited or walked by the call center lately and wondered what’s up with all the fake money, rest assured, Customer Accounts (CA) is not counterfeiting US dollars! The dollars you see are part of a game being played to raise awareness about how perceptions are conveyed. The name of the game is ‘Negative Nickels’—even though play money is used—and the rules are pretty simple:

If you finish a call and a negative comment slips out…pay a nickel in the cup!
If a conversation with a coworker results in a bit of a ‘bashing’…both pay a nickel into the cup!
If you yell at your computer screen…pay a nickel into the cup!

Two objectives of the game are to HAVE FUN and CHOOSE OUR ATTITUDE. Of course, staff gets a payout of a few laughs along the way in addition to the benefit of improved customer service.

At the end of each week all the play money is gathered up and converted to something positive, usually treats for the Customer Accounts staff.

So far, the game has gone over well. Granted, some of the CA staff were broke at the end of the week, but that’s okay because they start fresh each week. Adding some light-hearted fun, while focusing on attitudes, has made for some constructive improvements for both staff and customer.

I just had to laugh at all this. Told her great, glad I could supply her an outline, just don’t put my name on it!

Note: Sorry for the recent slow down of posting. I seem to have a bum wrist, and can only type so much.


Blogger CarpeDM said...

Oh, wow. Yeah, the corporate spin, how much fun it is. I love her use of the word "tweaked." Perhaps "threw out anything you wrote that was actually funny" would have been a better word.

I'm so glad you're back, we have missed you so! I will be appreciative of the bum wrist and not badger you for new posts.

5:28 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...


Don't worry about the hiatus, I'm just glad to see you back!

The changes to your original writing are truly corporate. I enjoyed your version more.

1:24 AM  

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Location: Lansing, Michigan, United States

Desert Shield/storm vet. I am the one at work who comes up with the ideas on filling up those non-work hours. (ok, who is up for canoeing this weekend?) After several wrong turns, have finally found the love of my life.

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