Call Center Customer Service Informative - Tips When Dealing With Customer Service In Call Centers
I've read several informative reviews on My3Cents from employees of retail or fast food describing what they deal with daily. I have yet to read one on customer service in call centers. Please keep in mind that this is my personal experiences from working in call centers. Other call center employees may feel differently or have had different experiences. I have worked in call centers for Us Airways, collections, a pharmaceutical company, and currently I work in health insurance. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with customer service in call centers.
1. Be prepared. Have all your information ready before you call. In every call center I have worked, we have a talk time to abide by. Right now, it's 7 1/2 minutes, which is the longest talk time I've ever had. My last job's talk time was 4 1/2 minutes. Management does keep track of this and you can get in trouble or even fired if you don't meet your monthly stats. It really adds on to my talk time when you have to search for your ID card. Pulling you up by name doesn't always work either. How many Mary Johnsons do you think are out there?
2. Recorded calls. I have worked in call centers where every call is recorded. I have worked in call centers where only a few calls a month are recorded. Managers listen to a few calls a month and score you on the call. Recorded calls don't stay in the system forever. They do get purged after a certain amount of time. I have no control over recording calls. I don't know why people think that I have a tape recorder next to my mouthpiece. I can't turn off the recording or turn it on. And no I cannot pull up your recorded call from 2 months ago and listen to it so you can prove what was or wasn't said in a previous conversation. I don't have the option of accessing recorded calls. Upper management might be able to access recorded calls before they get purged from the system, but that's their decision on whether or not they will do that.
3. Outsourcing. Yes I hate it too.
4. Give me important info slowly and clearly. This prevents me from having to ask you to repeat yourself. Please don't give me your ID #, address, name, SSN, etc, super fast. I don't always type as fast as you talk and you always get annoyed when I ask you to repeat yourself.
5. Eating while talking. I understand that your lunch break is the only time you can call, but please swallow your food before you talk. I don't need to hear you smacking away on your food and I will most likely have to ask you to repeat yourself.
6. Asking to speak to a manager/supervisor. At the call centers I have worked for, when you request to speak to a manager/supervisor, you get a lead agent. They are not usually my direct supervisor. But they are able to make managerial decisions. Please don't get upset if there is a hold time. Managers aren't always available right away. I'm not putting you on an extended hold on purpose. I also have to explain to the manager why you would like to speak to them. Which brings me to my next point.
7. Hold time. I understand that sometimes you have to wait a long time before I answer the phone. I have no control over that. Try calling back at a less busy time if you cannot wait. Please don't ask me for compensation for having to wait on hold. We are not going to pay your phone bill or reimburse you cellphone minutes because you had to wait an hour. Nobody is forcing you to hold. Nowadays, a lot of companies have phone lines open 24/7.
8. Respect. This is something lacking in my job. People seem to get a sense of anonymity when talking to a customer service representative on the phone. Just because you can't see me, doesn't mean you should be disrespectful. There is a real person on the other end of that phone. I understand that certain policies don't make sense, but I didn't create that policy. And I have to follow those policies. I am not willing to lose my job because someone thinks the rules shouldn't apply to them. Cussing and screaming at me is not going to change a policy. And if I am able to bend the rules, I'm not going to want to if you've been cursing me out for 20 minutes. Treat me with respect, and I am more willing to accommodate you and help resolve your problem. I have been called every name in the book. I try to not take it personally and remind myself that they are not really mad at me, but at the situation. But some people have gotten down right nasty to me. I have been threatened, gotten told that they hope my child/mother/father/sister gets killed, people threaten lawsuits on me, tell me I'm stupid or useless. When I was a supervisor at the airline, one guy had the nerve to ask me who I slept with to get my job. I would never say some of these things to anyone, not even to my worst enemy. And I will get fired if I am disrespectful back. And you know it, that's part of why you do it.
9. Privacy. I do not have to give you my last name, or the city I am in, or my manager's full name, or any other personal information about me or my co-worker's. It is for our privacy and protection. I can give you an employee ID # or a call reference number if you would like one. I also cannot give you information on any other customers, unless they are there with you to give a verbal authorization or we have something on file stating you can speak on their behalf. We are not doing this to be mean, we are protecting the rights of our customers.
I'm sure there are more points that will come to me later. These are just a few right off the top of my head. You may be asking yourself why I choose call centers as my career. First of all, it pays well. I make more than twice as much as minimum wage. This is also a job I have been able to do well at. I'm good on computers and I do like to help people. I also have a great phone voice. All my managers at every job would tell me I have a very pleasant, friendly voice that a lot of people respond to. The people I work with make it worthwhile too. I have met some great friends over the past few years. Right now, I am working in the field that I want to make a career out of. Eventually, I will be able to work off the phone and in the area where I really want to be, but I have to start my way at the bottom first and work my way up. And it will be a lot easier if customers would just keep the above points in mind. Thanks for letting me vent.