Knowing what I do – which partly involves managing a team of around 75 student telephone fundraisers – a lot of people have been asking me if I’ve been following the new BBC3 documentary, The Call Centre, with its ‘charismatic’ CEO, Nev.
The answer’s been no, partly because I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks running my own! But last night I thought I’d try and catch up. And I gave up after just a few minutes.
Not because I don’t like Nev’s management techniques, although some of it does seem to border on bullying.
No, I gave up because I don’t agree with what they’re doing. The dishonesty inherent in their sales calls.
Whatever kind of call centre I run, I’m glad that at a very basic level it’s founded on honesty.
None of the people who donate to my wonderful student callers are going to see their money again. That’s it, gone. No free broadband, no impartial assessment of their loft and cavity wall insurance needs from one of my fully trained ‘experts’.
They are giving to my amazing university with no expectation of something in return.
Except this – my promise that their money will be spent as they wish.
That it will allow a new student somewhere to access the amazing store of knowledge that should be the birthright of every human being who can make use of it.
That it will build a new library. That it will help fund research that matters.
And I promise that their gift will be prized. That they won’t just be another sales number. That their messages of kindness will be heard, their memories treasured.
A call-centre that treasures its staff and its donors.
A workplace built on honesty through and through – that’s what I’m proud to run.
Sorry, Nev, you’ve lost me.