Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ten Things Your Customer Service Agent Would Tell You.. if She Could!

I've worked in a couple call centers- the first one was a contract for the actual service provider and there were a lot of things about that employer that I definitely didn't like. There were limitations on what I was and wasn't able to do, so there was a lot of frustration.

The second, my current employer isn't a contract. I work for the company whose customers are on the phone. This kind of ownership is great- I don't know if it's because I'm not working for the contractor, but I have a lot more leeway to do what needs done and provide the level of service I really want to provide.

Having said that, there are some things I've been contemplating about the whole call-center/customer service paradigm that many people may not realize.

1-      Hanging up doesn’t solve anything- it only moves you to the end of the line or totally aborts any possibility there was of resolving your issue. It may feel good to slam the phone down, but it doesn’t really solve the problem.

2-     … And neither does interrupting us. We know you're frustrated, and we do want to help you, but there are things we need to do this. Yes, share your situation- that tells us what the problem is. But allow us the chance to ask questions to clarify the situation. There may be things that you don’t realize that we need. Then we can present a solution. This is our turn to talk. Allow us to share the solution we have and give you information you need.

3-       … And neither does threatening us. There’s a reason we don’t tell you where our call centers are. There’s also a reason you received a copy of the contract. You may want to check that contract before you threaten legal action.

4-     … And neither does swearing or yelling or insulting us or getting rude. Nowhere in our job description is it required that we tolerate verbal abuse. Yes, I understand that you're upset, but the vulgar name-calling isn't going to improve anything, I promise.

5-      There is only so much we can do to help you. If there’s something we can’t do, then that’s something we can’t do- either b/c it’s against policy and we’d rather keep our jobs, or it's illegal and we really don't wanna go to jail/prison, or it’s something that simply isn’t available to us.

6-      If you signed a contract or otherwise agreed to this, don’t expect a whole lot of sympathy. We'll do what we can, but you did sign the contract. We do our part in confirming that you're a legal adult, and we hope that you're responsible enough to know that a contract is legally binding. We'll do our best, but there are some things that simply can't be done.

7-      Every company has their way of doing things. Both of us are bound by that. I will do what I can, but if it can’t be done or if it will cost me my job, I’m not going to do it.

8-      I know the automatic payment came out right away, but I can’t just put the money back. Reversing a charge isn’t like reversing a car. It’s a whole separate transaction. The process to pull the payment was initiated 3 weeks ago. The process to reverse that payment is being initiated today… now think about that for a minute while I put in the request to reverse these charges which should be back in your account in 5-10 business days.

9-      Don’t breath into the phone.. or cough into it, or shout at your kids. We can often hear a whole lot more than you realize. I know it's a little thing, but it's not exactly high on most people's list of pleasant.

10-   Last but not least- We actually don’t mind a challenging question, so long as the customer is reasonable, understanding, and patient. We actually love those calls! Please give us a chance?

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