My employer has roughly 7,500 employees. We used to have 9,000 fairly recently, and I want to say when I first started it was closer to 12,000, but that number might be completely bogus. However, we will treat it as fact because that is what we do here.
Of those 7,500 employees there are two of us, myself and my colleague in California, that are responsible to fix the “unsolvable” problems that customers have with our products. These calls can last anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours to multiple days, and could result in the customer staying…or the customer leaving.
A few months ago the both of us were recently assigned to a project that will take us through the end of the year. It involves contacting customers and holding their hands with using one of our new products. There are 700 customers to do this with. And the two of us to do it.
This afternoon we had a meeting with the project manager, and it went something like this:
Project Manager: “Thanks for meeting. I have a team of dedicated resources assigned 100% to the project and they have no work. I need to know why you guys aren’t creating any cases for them to work on.”
PM: “Please walk me through what your day is like so we can figure out how to fix this.”
My colleague went into the most classic diatribe outlining a perfect example of why he wasn’t able to get to any of the project-related work for the past two weeks (because of those four-hour customer calls, basically taking every word out of my mouth in the process. It was wonderful. The focus turned to me and I simply said “I echo each one of my colleague’s comments to the letter.” Frustration was mounting with Mr. Project Manager.
Then I added (paraphrasing), “our other work takes priority, plain and simple, and you know that. Any given day could be swallowed up with non-project work and there is nothing anyone can do about it.” More silence.
SIDE NOTE: For what it’s worth, us two are the only ones handling this because the other people on the project “aren’t qualified to speak with customers.” That is hilarious.
Then the Premier A-Hole whom I’ve mentioned previously chimed in. “I am willing to help in any way to get these cases moving” (except actually handling them himself, oh by the way), so let me know what I can do to help.” For the record, the dude NEVER responds to any of our emails asking for help anyway, and my colleague mentioned that during the meeting.
My Colleague: “Oh, sounds great, let’s meet tomorrow and we’ll talk about the ones that I need help with.”
A-Hole: “Oh, I’m not on the office tomorrow.”
Project Manager: “Well great job so far guys, keep it up and we’ll talk another time.”
Translation: “Great job not getting the work done fast enough for me, I’m going to go complain about this and basically change nothing for you.”
We’ll see where this goes.