Forward Agents

At one company I worked at, we had "customer care agents" who would answer requests from users, e.g. emails and telephone calls.

I always thought the name was a bit strange. I suspected it had been created by someone who wasn't a native English speaker, or perhaps I am just disconnected with the world of business terminology. (I am aware that James Bond is "secret agent" but I had never heard of "customer-care agent".)

Anyway, one day, over a few beers, colleagues and I were discussing our company structure; perhaps impolitely, but at least partially accurately.

But, the managers in the middle of the organization? We (only-half)-jokingly considered the workflow thus:

I mean, I have often received emails from a manager which is simply a forward header followed by an actual email considering instructions from someone who needs it. Now that I manage myself, I myself have often just forwarded things on.

It was thus decided, over that beer, to henceforth refer to those, whose job it is to simply forward information up and down the company hierarchy without adding any value of their own, as "forward agents".

I suppose my point is, not only that this amusing term was coined (at least it was amusing to us), but I wonder what the world would be like if people just communicated directly? I try and adopt this attitude in my company to maximize efficiency and reduce costs, which are paid by the customer eventually.

This article is © Adrian Smith.
It was originally published on 20 Aug 2014
More on: Words & Language