Callcenters of the world, UNITE

Imagine if tomorrow morning, you see a very blatant headline on
your morning paper stating “All call centers in the world decided to go
on a strike at midnight”

Can you imagine the confusion in the world?
You cant? Well, let let get you thinking then. You finish
reading your paper, you put it down, and decide to check your mail,
nothing odd with that, I do it every day. But this time, you cant
even get out on the internet. So, what do you do? Well, I know what
I would do. Check the connection, check and restart the router
and the modem. Nothing happens. I cant get a connection.
So, I call my ISP… who has their support on a call center. Whoopee, no reply
due to the strike.

So, I call a friend that work at that company. He is kind, but since his
workplace is on strike, he doesnt have access to the systems and hence
cant help me.

During the day, I get the invoice from my phone company where there
suddenly is a HUGE figure for some service that I never signed up for.
So, I call the phone company, and get met with a black strike wall again,
even tho the invoice is due to be paid in just a few days.

Ok, then. Ill wait I guess .. so now i dont have any internet, and neither
will my phone work in a few days time. And frankly, you get more and more

Later, after a few days of strike, my car gets a block on it, so I cant drive
my car, its effectively locked in position. So I call up the parking company
that predictably enough has their customer service at … you guess it.
A call center.

So you see, in a certain degree, the call centers are driving a large part
of our global world. Without them we can pretty fast get blind and mute
and alone.

And yet, people who call customer service act like they own said world
treating the support personell like dirt, not worthy of the time talking to
them, and god forbid, let them help you.

The only call center that has happy customers is the one that is calling
from the lottery companies to report that you won.

Is that the way its supposed to be? Is it? In my book, the men and women
who does the support work are worth gold medals and if they ask you to
wait while they check something up, you bloody well wait.

Oh well, I guess im biased, but wouldnt a world wide strike be fun?

Good morning everyone

Isn’t it odd how ones perception of a job can change?
I mean, you rarely know how tough a job is until you have tried
it for a period. Now, I am gonna talk about Customer Support since
thats the area I know most about to be honest, and truth to be told
its an area that I have found most useful outside my workplace
aswell, when tackling ignorant neighbours who needed an explanation
why it isn’t a good thing to pour mocca latte down into your laptop
because it looked thirsty.

A few years back, if I called customer support at all, I would think that
they where snooty brats that didnt know diddly squat about what I
need, and they would connect me to this and that department only
to end with me hanging up with a frustrating sigh.
You recognize that? I am pretty sure that you do. How can I be so sure?
Ive been there, and I have also been the snooty brat on the other side
of the wire, albeit that I tried to treat all customers with respect until
they shown that they didnt think I was worth any.

When I started the CSR position a few years back, I hated phones
and to be honest, I still do. When I am at home, I try to touch the
phone as little as possible, unless its my little HTC of course, since
I use that for other things then calling. (More on that later)

I learned how to talk o customers, although I actually had another system
worked out in my head, that I combined with what I was taught.
I was taught the product pretty thourough and I felt I was prepared
when I came out on the floor. I loved the job, really I did. And I found it
a personal defeat when I couldnt find the “correct cause” for the error
myself. I also admitted to the callers that “I simply didnt know, I would have
to ask someone because this is a little way over my head”

Generally, when you put it that way, customers understand, because if you
ADMIT that there is something there that isnt right, they can wait on hold
for quite a while, just make sure that you project that feeling of confidence
even though you have no idea whats wrong.
(I am getting sidetracked here, gimme a minute)

Back to perceptions.
Nowadays when I call customer service for this or that reason, and yes
just because I work with one product and support for it, doesnt mean
that i know EVERY product by heart, I open the conversation with a hearty
Hello there, my name is …. and I have a little problem that I hope that we can
solve together.

I give the support person a happy encounter at first, and that WILL have a
huge impact on the call as a whole. The CSR usually asks about the problem
at this point, and since I know that the CSR mostly has a timelimit on the call
I try not to dwell on what has happened far back. I simply concentrate on
the most immediate symptoms. A good example was a call to an ISP. Ill give you
a rough writeout.

The CSR welcomes me to the support, takes my name and customer ID.
I start to state my problem. None of my computers are recieving an IP adress.
I have tried with the switch, without it. No difference. I also had a friend
try to ping the gateway and the DHCP server that is usually shown in IPCONFIG
and he cant find those either. Any clue as to what is wrong.

Ok. Here is where the CSR gets in a pickle. He can either tell me that they
might be having a problem, he has to look it up, or, he can try to see if
there might be a local problem at my end. So, he asks me, have I tried
a different ethernet cable to the switch. Good suggestions, since if that
is broken, I cant get an IP. Alas, that cable was fresh out of the box yesterday
and its the same thing with the new one. Ok, so that might not be the problem.

Here’s the killer. Since the gateway cant be pinged from the outside, and
neither could the DHCP, my guess was that something was wrong on their
end. Not a bad guess if I may say so myself. So I tell the CSR “Hey, I know
you are probably not allowed to say something about it, but is there
some malfunctions on your end?” And I can hear how this CSR sighs
and almost pounds his head on the desk and states that yes, there is.
Their DHCP has been sunk, all tables have been lost, and it will be
fully functional within the next five days. Why, thank you, thats all I wanted
to hear. I tell the CSR to take a short break while I am on the phone
and then I ask him to have a good day. No hassle. Why? Well, because
I got a straight answer, and he really did try his best not belittleing me.
I think that chap needs a raise.

I think ive confused you enough for a while. Write you later.