You all know I work for a call center. I am the one on the end of the phone when you call whatever Big Company to complain about your bill, your service or whatever. I can do a lot for you, if you will let me, but most of the time, my callers won’t let me. They call in trying to bully me, insult me and treat me like an imbecile and then expect me to bend over backwards to keep them happy. I thought I would offer some tips on how to make a good call in to a call center.
1- Have your account information and verification ready. I know it’s annoying when I ask my callers who they are, what their phone number is and their pass code or last four of SSN. I know it is. You may have put it in the phone system, but that doesn’t mean it transferred over to me. Besides that, every company has its own security measures that as the representative of the company, I have to follow to make sure that Joe Schmoe off the street isn’t calling in to change your account. It’s for your own protection when I ask you to verify your phone number or address. When I ask “Who am I speaking with?” and you answer… “You tell me, you have it there on your computer” all that does is tell me this is going to be a long call because you have already started being a pain in the tuckus.
2- Do be nice. Please try to remember that I am a representative of the company, but I am also a person. I have feelings. I have life issues just like you. When you are being rude, calling me names, I know it is directed at the company, but I am the one who has to listen to it. They don’t pay me enough to listen to some of the things I have been called.
3- Have your facts straight before you call. Know what the issue is, if you have dates and times, that is fantastic, if you don’t then try to narrow it down. I will ask questions to get a clearer picture of what needs to be done to fix your problem, I’m not trying to accuse you of anything or catch you in a lie, I am just trying to see the picture clearly. While you have been dealing with your problem before this, I have not. I have not experienced it first hand, so I don’t have all the details and the only way I can get those is by asking you specific questions.
4- Say thank you when we get it taken care of. 90% of my calls I get the issue resolved while on the phone. out of those I’m guessing maybe half say thank you. Sure its my job, sure I get paid for it. But you know what, I’ve just taken care of a headache for you, the least you can do is say thank you. I don’t want anything elaborate, just a simple, thank you will suffice. If you really really like how I took care of it, then offer to tell my manager.
5- Do those silly follow up surveys that our company sends out. And when you do, remember the questions are about my service, not the overall company. When it says “How satisfied are you with your transaction with us today”, well that means with me. So if you are still mad at the company and put a low score, then that cuts my paycheck. Yep you read that. It doesn’t hurt the company, it hurts me. My paycheck is directly related to that survey you get. If you put a low score I lose part of my pay. Period, no getting it back. So please, if you are still mad at the company, write a letter, file a complaint, do whatever, but don’t take it out on me in the survey.
Now for some don’ts:
1- Don’t yell, cuss, scream, or throw out insults. This one should be obvious, but it isn’t. Listen, I nkow you are upset or you wouldn’t be calling me. Nobody calls a company to say “Good job! I love you” or anything else of that nature. They only call in because something is wrong. Whether it’s a bill, your service is down, or you just think we suck, I know you are not happy about something when you are calling in. But in reality, is it my fault. No, it isn’t. I will be nice. I will be polite. I will even try to make you smile. I will try my best to fix it. But the ruder, meaner and louder you are with me, the less I will be inclined to do for you.
2- Don’t ask me what I would do in your shoes. I may personally agree with you once I hear your story, but I can’t say that on the phone call. So when you keep saying over and over “how would you feel, what would you do, don’t you think I’m right” All I can do is stay silent. Or throw out the company line. Either way, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel for you, it just means its my job if I speak out against my company. Don’t put me in that positions please.
3- Don’t keep asking me to do something I’ve already told you I cannot, or am not capable of handling. When I tell a caller that I am unable to do what they request, I always give them a reason why. If you call in and your bill is past due, I can’t give you a credit. It’s not possible. Our computer system won’t do it. I will automatically bounce out. Period. I tell my callers that. I will tell you, when your account is brought up to current I will be happy to process a credit, but until then I cannot. So don’t keep pushing. I have set the guidelines, now its up to you to comply.
4- Don’t threaten to sue. It doesn’t scare me. I’ve heard all the threats. But in reality, how likely is it that you are going to sue Big Company over a misinformation or miscommunication? Not very. It would cost you more in attorney fees than you would ever recoup even if you won, which is highly unlikely. Oh and threatening the Attorney General, that get’s you no where as well.
5- Don’t embellish the issue. Stick to the facts. Chances are, I can see your usage, I can see what you ordered, what you have cancelled, what you have changed. Everytime you call there is an automatic note on your account when we pull it up. I see how many times you have called. I see that you call in every single month to dispute your bill, and I also see that somehow you manage to talk someone in to giving you credits. If I say “those charges are correct” then you aren’t getting a dime from me. If I see there is in fact a problem, then I will fix it and I will reimburse your account. And usually I will give you a little extra to make up for the problem.
So basically it all boils down to you treat me the way you would want me to treat you. If you are prepared, polite and basically just act like a human being then I will treat you with respect and do all I can to make sure you are happy when you hang up.
If you call in and call me every name in the book, yell, scream and fight the entire conversation then, I’ll still fix the issue, but I won’t add any extra. I won’t go out of the way to make you happy. I will just do the basics of my job.
That old saying, You catch more flies with honey, well, it’s exactly correct.