Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Monday, February 13, 2006
  You're not listening...

Probably one of the things that infuriates me the most about my customers is that they don't listen. It's an epidemic. You ask them one question and they answer with something totally different. Like this:

"Anonymous Investments, This is AC. How can I help you?"
"Hi, I want to make a trade."
"Ok, what's your account number"
"Yeah, my name is Robert Brown."
"Ok, Mr. Brown. What's that account number?"
"I live in Reading, PA"
"Mr. Brown. I can't start this trade without your account number."
"Oh, it's 69548. Why didn't you just ask?"
(AC, presses the mute button...)
"I did. Three times. But you are such a moronic imbecile you don't listen to a word I say. Did they serve fishsticks with lead chips at your grade school every Friday with apple crumble in a nice asbestos sauce?"
(press the mute button.)
"Thank you sir. What can I do for you today..."

You might think I'm exaggerating. But I'm not. I have calls where I have to ask three times for the same piece of information. I've often thought that customers live in this dream world where whenever they call up we will hear the sound of their sunny voice and say,

"Mr. Brown? Is that you? It's been so long! How's Buffy and Jody? Is Buffy doing any better in Math class? Oh, that's great to hear. How can I help you? Hold on, out of the 3000 customers I have I remember your account number. Oh, and did you want to invest in that stock that you and the Mrs. were talking about last night? Yeah, of course I know which one it is. You never have to think for yourself, not as long as I'm on the job. Have a nice day sir. Please call again so that I may bask in your presence and take in some of your marvelous personality. Yep, that makes it all worth living. Bye bye now!"

Customers can't have it both ways. They can't have the cost savings of a call center along with a company that knows them and their needs personally. As long as the public continues to always think cheaper service is the best, they will always have call centers where no one knows their name and no one can read their minds. They will always have to answer questions they don't want to, and talk to people that are complete strangers. Those people might even have accents and not be "Ahmericuhn". But, it's a small price to pay to get everyday low prices. Isn't global capitalism spiffy?

Thanks for reading,

AC

Anonymous Cog

 
Comments:
"fishsticks with lead chips"...heh. =)

Right on with the observations! Ditto for the whole Wal-Mart phenom - people want crap made in China, but then they complain that company so-and-so isn't paying living wages & healthcare. And I feel your pain on this... For my part, I knew it was time to leave when I would unconsciously walk that fine line between direct, to-the-point exchanges and sarcasm. Rudeness, maybe? If a call began to escalate, I'd just be silent, let the person vent until they realized how unreasonable they sounded. On the plus side, I became an EXPERT on dealing with irates. The truly decent people liked & respected me; the customers-from-hell usually wanted a supervisor (which I was happy to provide). Man, what a world we live in! Take care.
 
You know, I've noticed the same thing about people not listening, but it's goes further than that even: they don't know how to follow directions either. Last semester, I had a class where nearly everyone did poorly on an essay exam because they didn't follow the directions. They acted like the professor was such an impossible grader. But I did fine on it, and it WASN'T because I wrote anything all that spectacular--I had just made an attempt to answer questions he actually asked.

Sometimes, AC, I think we're living in an ADD world... ;)
 
Fish sticks with lead chips - that's funny! I'll have to remember that one.
 
It scares me, really, how similar the customer service and legal profession are.

Yowza. I can look forward to THAT in a year and a half?!? *whimper*
 
I wrote an article awhile ago called, CSR's: Improve Your Listening Skills" Perhaps I should write an article that's called, "Customers: Please Listen!"

Yes, people will be people...Customers - can't live with them, can't live without them!

~Maria Palma
 
AC,

Thanks for your special blend of laughs with the truth. It is friday morning and I am heading off to the call center. I made the switch from Finance to Health Insurance and I am not sure which is worse. Angry investors, or angry Senior Citizens... neither listen and think they know everything.

Thanks again for being our voice in the darkness.
 
You are very welcome ~j.
AC
 
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.
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