The Expertise Trap

Brooke is a top collections agent at her call center. Her job is to ensure that customers who have fallen behind on their accounts get onto repayment plans. Even though the call center has pages of scripts that help less experienced agents communicate, Brooke doesn’t rely on a script. Rather, she thinks like a chess player, quickly assessing the situation and directing the conversation to accomplish her goal.

However, Brooke’s expertise failed her when she called Alex about a repayment plan. Alex opened the call by describing a major complication in his cancer treatment. Brooke quickly responded, “I’m so sorry to hear that,” and then stepped right into collections mode. Alex was infuriated by her response and hung ...

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