Call Centers are such exasperating places. As mentioned in my previous article called Phone Rage (click here to read) dealing with Call Centers can be so very time consuming and frustrating.
I’ve long held the belief that most people who work in a Call Centre know ‘jack schitt’ about the products and services they are supposed to be representing.
Perhaps these Call Centers have high staff turnarounds judging by the number of young people I come in contact with who say something that runs along the lines of, “if I can’t find anything better then I can get a job in the Call Center”.
I’ve never been inside one but I somehow imagine they are very inhospitable; with crammed and uncomfortable desks, lots of noise, bright lights and hardly a friendly face in sight. I further imagine that workers there are ‘stressed to the max’.
Of course I don’t really know these things but anyone reading this article who may be able to enlighten me, please do so.
But I also imagine that the operators are subjected to lots of abuse from customers suffering third degree phone rage. And this might well be one of the worst aspects of their job.
Perhaps because of high staff turnover no-one hangs around long enough to really know the product they are supposedly representing. Needless to say this contributes to any phone rage by angry customers directed towards seemingly misinformed operators.
I’ve developed my own set of rules and etiquette that I use when dealing with Call Centers and I’d like to share them here with you:
Firstly, if you don’t like or believe what the operator is telling you ask to be transferred to another operator.
This can be done gently and without raising your voice. Remember to never directly insult anyone (even if they really are a ‘dodo’).
Also if you think you are being treated contemptuously in some way ask to be referred to a Supervisor.
Supervisors have generally been there much longer and are much more knowledgeable with the product and/or services.
Sometimes, even relatively often operators are resistant in fulfilling this request, however stay firm, do not enter into any further debate and repeat your request using the ‘broken record technique’. Invariably operators have supervisors and I’ve rarely found a supervisor who cannot help sort out my problem/s.
I may often say something along the line of, “I am not enjoying the way you are communicating with me and would like to be put through to a supervisor please”. Stick to your line and don’t allow yourself to be drawn in to end up insulting them or they you.
Often there is a menu message that says something like, “your call is being recorded and may be used for training purposes”.
In an instance where an operator may prefer to argue with me than put me through to a supervisor I may say, “I hope this call has been recorded and will be used for training purposes”.
If, like on one of my calls yesterday the operator continues to insist that, “you’re not listening to me, let me repeat myself, please shut up whilst I re-explain how things work”, I merely use the broken record technique and I kept asking to be transferred to a supervisor. In the end, when he realized I wasn’t backing down he said, “I don’t have a supervisor” I warned him that I was about to hang up, then ring back the company to report him, which I did.
In fact when I did ring up shortly afterwards another operator sorted my problem within one minute. The previous operator had told me I had been asking the absolutely impossible.
This goes to prove what I said earlier about operators not really knowing their products well, which is why I suggest that if you get an operator who tells you bad news you don’t want to hear always ask to be transferred to another operator so that you can cross-check the information being given.
I use the supervisor option only when the operator is being condescending or rude in some way.
I sometimes wonder how many of my calls have been used for training purposes.
Another thing I don’t like about Call Centers is getting operators who are in locations more than five hundred miles away from me (I live near the most remote city in the world where such distance can be traversed between breakfast and lunchtime). Hence I want an operator (preferably) who is actually in the same state as me.
Of course I understand some of the reasons this doesn’t happen but to my mind that does not excuse them. I would prefer to pay slightly more for a good service. “Buy fewer goods and services, pay more to ensure better quality” may well become a popular edict for me. Fodder for further articles.
I think economic rationalism may have (hopefully) hit its ceiling.
When I get an operator on another continent who lives in an entirely different culture to mine and whose first language is not English I politely ask to be put onto an operator who is in Australia.
I may also wish them a good day and/or tell them I have nothing against them or their country and that I just believe in keeping things local and keeping local people employed.
Many people complain that they have trouble understanding the operators and I’m sure the operators must have the very same trouble too.
Hopefully the little clues and strategies given here may help prevent you from reaching the aforementioned ‘phone rage’.