Legitimate Complaints And Timely Resolutions

Where I work, one of the jobs we do is receive and process email contacts from consumers. Email is broken into several different queues, including some called escalation queues. All email reps should have access to the escalation queues from the day they start processing email. I started at this job in March of 2002 and have been processing email at work since late summer/early autumn that same year. I was finally given access to the escalation queues this afternoon.

The escalation queues are kind of a screwy thing anyway. The original idea was, rather than have us process everything and then manually escalate serious issues to someone higher up on the food chain, the email program would filter out serious cases by keyword and drop them right in the escalation queue. Makes sense, but it doesn't work. If someone writes, "This was so good that when I ate it, it was like I died and went to heaven," the filter says, "They used the word 'died'? THAT'S an escalation!" If someone writes, "It makes me sick to think that people are missing out on something this good," the filer says, "They used the word 'sick'? THAT'S an escalation!" And so on. Huge amounts of spam also get filtered out as serious issues that require escalation.

The executives who handle serious cases eventually realized that these queues weren't working at all, so they handled it the logical way: They kept the queues in place but told us work them instead and manually escalate anything serious to them using the normal procedure. This, of course, completely negates the point of having escalation queues set up in the first place. We've been doing it this way for about three and a half years now.

Only I never had access to them. They had to manually give people access to the escalation queues, and they never got around to me. When new queues are created these days, everyone on email gets access to them, so if I click the wrong place, I can open up emails in French which I can't read or process. Why I have access to French queues but not the ones I'm supposed to have is beyond me. This "Everyone Gets Everything" process explains why I do have access to two other escalation queues: The Headquarters Paper Mail Escalation Queue (yes, paper mail; don't ask), which I'm not allowed to do because it's for headquarters, and the Canadian French Email Escalation Queue, which I can't do, because I'm not especially literate in French. But I don't have the main escalation queues I'm supposed to have.

Not that I've never pointed it out. As far back as 2002 I informed management that I didn't have these. There were meetings when they specifically asked, "Does everyone have access to the escalation queues?" And I would raise my hand and say, "Nope!" And they'd nod, and write my name down, and tell me they'd get that taken care of, and then it never got taken care of. It was never a big deal, because the queues were usually empty by the time I get to work anyway. They're considered priority queues and need to be processed first. I never worked them, obviously, but there are lots of other queues to work, so I kept busy. I never went out of my way to tell management I didn't have them, but I never kept it secret either.

It finally ended today, when I received an email at my computer telling me not to work some other priority queue that I had been in while there were escalation queues with email still in them. I sent back that I couldn't work them because I didn't have access, and got back a response that boiled down to "WHAT!?" and asked why I never told anyone. I pointed out that I told people lots of times, and that afternoon they appeared in my list, along with a message to everyone on the team telling them to make sure they have access to the appropriate queues and to let management know immediately if they didn't. This makes one thing very clear: When management is made aware of a problem, come hell or high water, it gets solved that very day, give or take four years. Credit where credit is due.

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