I’ve had an idea. It may not work, but I’m going to give it a go. One thing I’d really like to feature more of in this blog is the perspectives and stories from everyone working in call centres whatever industry and wherever in the world. To this end I have come up with a short questionnaire. I have used myself as a guinea pig and completed the first one which I have typed out below. I have created a new page on the blog which will host these. I have also stuck up a template there so anyone can copy and paste the questions. Give as long or as short answers as you’d like. Please email completed questionnaires to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively I’ve set up a questionnaire on Survey monkey
Name/ Nomme de plume:
Time wearing the headset:
Type of call centre (e.g inbound/ outbound/ insurance/mail-order/ etc):
Inbound customer services for multiple clients – mainly mail order. Including household names.
The best thing about working in a call centre is..
Being able to switch off knowing that ultimately the job you’re doing doesn’t matter – except to make someone somewhere richer than they already are.
If I could change one thing about my call centre it would be..
My manager Peggy.
Most callers are..
Nice, reasonable, patient people. It’s just the 1% of them who can mess up your day.
I took a call from a lady who’s mother-in-law was waiting for a vacuum cleaner she had ordered. It had been delayed as someone had made an error putting in the postcode so I initially had trouble finding the order on the system. I managed to identify the problem and to get it resolved within about 10 minutes, but had the person being so nasty to me – really spitting venom that it left me shaking afterwards. It was a long time ago, but the thought of it still makes me shudder. It left me wondering what kind of person feels that having a vacuum cleaner delayed by a few days is justification for making another human being feel that way.
Funniest call centre moment:
The time a lady called to complain. Someone had sent her a set of bathbombs through the flower ordering company we took calls for. She had mistaken them for chocolates and had swallowed part of one. First call she should have made was NHS direct.
Call centres – good or bad?
I’ve had great service from call-centres and have (though some may disagree) also in turn given good service, but I have also seen countless examples of bad service, bad attitudes, customers being messed around and lied to.
It’s not the call centre per-se that is bad, but rather I feel there are two call centres. The call centre of dreams and the call centre of nightmares.
The call centre of dreams is what the call centre was originally meant to be in its idealized form – a place focused on quality customer service a place where agents have the right training, support, motivation and the ability to make a difference. The call centre of nightmares is focused more on its revenues – a place where the primary concern is not customer service, but simply getting through as many calls as possible. In this call centre agents are poorly trained, poorly motivated and suffer with empathy burn-out.
In reality, there are examples of both types.
Does the call centre have a future?
Yes, but things will be different. there will be less routine transactions and more dealing with complex issues and handling customers in a volatile emotional state. I think customers expectations will also be higher – the faster paced life gets the more people want things yesterday.