Gethuman.com is a web site that has set out to make call centers better. If you go to their website you can find the IVR Cheat Sheet that allows you to get to a human operator on most major call centers faster-here's a quote from their home page:
"Our goal is to improve the quality of customer service and phone support in the US. This free website is run by volunteers and is powered by over one million consumers who demand high quality phone support from the companies that they use."
They even have a funny music video you can watch over at Google Video.
I support their plan to get to a human operator quicker. I think that as long as a customer is lost in the queue, pressing buttons, and trying to say their account number, many call centers managers think they don't have to take responsibility for helping them.
That said, this entry from their blog concerned me:
"We are a consumer advocacy site focused on improving the face of customer service. This movement is powered by over one million consumers who are angry about bad service.
We demand high quality, prompt, human customer support, by friendly, qualified people who we can understand, and who can handle our call without putting us on hold or transferring us again and again.
We will reward companies with good service by buying more products and services from them, and telling our friends and families about them.
We will punish companies with bad service by canceling our accounts with them and instead using one of their competitors who has better service."~Saturday, February 04, 2006 Blog Entry
As someone who works in a call center I feel qualified to comment about this. I appreciate them taking an active market-driven approach to getting good customer service. My question is what level of quality customer service is good enough?
Really, I'm not kidding here. I know I provide quality service. I am friendly and understandable. I know most of the other people I work with provide the same. There are always some exceptions, but there are many agents that provide good service ninety-five percent of the time. That said, good agents still find themselves being abused by people who "demand high quality, prompt, human customer support".
I want to know if there if gethuman.com sees the other side. Is there an inalienable right to high quality customer service in the Bill of Rights? Is less than thirty-second hold time mentioned somewhere in the Constitution? They certainly have the right to work to make changes in an industry that needs the help. I just want them to think about the people that are on the other side of the phone. We are not the enemy. We are trying to do the best we can and many times are being abused by management that demands low cost, affordable labor costs while our customers are demanding high quality,prompt, human customer support. We, the operators on the other end of the phone are getting caught in the middle.
I'm not asking them to stop. It's a good cause. There are call centers that need improvement. But if this search for high quality service is just becoming another arrogant voice that demands all for nothing and is never satisfied, then I don't support that. Service is not just short hold times and friendliness. There are people on the other side of the phones that are frustrated too. Who's helping us?
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine