Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Top 2 excuses by Call Centre agents and how to smartly deal with them..

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You make a call to a call center and if the issue you called up for, happens to be NOT of the ordinary, simple kind...you're in for the following 2 ready-made excuses that they have tried and tested successfully :

1 Our systems are being upgraded, your information is not available with us at this time. Plz call after 24 hours.
(Every time you call up. Wot are the odds?)

2 The team leaders and managers are in a meeting, they are not available at the moment.
(if u have to complain)

And if these 2 don't work on you, they pull the nuclear weapon of all phone related issues - the deadly 'LONG HOLD'.
They keep u on HOLD till your:
daughter has grown up enough to get married,
wife has found somebody else to talk to and
till that turtle has finally won the damn stupid race...that nobody really cared to watch.

Yep, besides the hold thing, these are the 2 TOP excuses you'll get to hear 90% of the times if you call up 'customer service' for any brand, whatsoever. It's the same story the world over. Sighhh...

a. The IVR (Click on IVR to know what it means) recording screws ur brain making u listen to what U never ideally would.
b. The agent wants to put U on hold for the longest time possible
c. The agent then wants to transfer u to some other department cuz either he is incompetent or is not authorized to resolve that issue
d. Then they say ur problem is 'one of a kind' (any awards for that?) so it can't be solved easily but they will try resolving it in the next 36 hours.


So, let's cut the damn chase.
Let's deal with this in a SMART way, shall we? Let's show them that we have a few tricks up our sleeves too and pretty neat ones by any standards. And let's pull them one by one, wot say u?

OK, ready? Lets do this !!

First - Make sure u know your preliminaries before u make that call: As in - Be prepared BEFORE u call up:

1. Anticipate the basic questions (security questions or otherwise) that a call center agent is likely to ask you and be ready with those. we don't wanna waste time.
Eg:- Full name, Date of Birth, Correct address etc...

2. Keep the documents ready in front of you.
(My recommendations: Write down all such "always asked" questions in your home diary. No documents necessary while you talk, then.)

Preliminaries over. Now u r prepared. Good.

OK, let's make that call...

Your call is always answered by an IVR machine.
You can't avoid that. So try surviving it instead. Hopefully, it won't be THAT long. (The trick TO FOOL THE IVR comin' up soon. Keep reading this blog.)

Finally, an agent comes online. When that happens, DO NOT start talking about the issue you face...EVEN IF HE ASKS YOU TO (chances are, he's WASTING your time. He may not even be authorized to deal with your issue).

So be smart and instead,

Just touch on the issue with him - very, very briefly (Max 2 lines) and immediately ask him if he has the authority to solve the particular problem you face. If he says yes - give a bit more info about ur problem and confirm...yet again. If he says yes again - go for it.

BUT, if he says no ( U have saved at least 15 precious minutes of ur time ) ask him his name and his team leader's name (and write them down) and ask him to transfer you to the department that can actually resolve the issue.

Once u r transferred to the 'concerned' department, take down the agent and his team leader's names first. Tell him, the names are only for your own knowledge - which is true (write it down so u remember, in case u need to call up again).

If he tries being cute and asks why you wud like to know his team leader's name, pull out you 'anti-cuteness' trick and tell him, "Cuz, I can see you are a professional, the way you are talking to me. So I'm guessing your Team leader wud be too, rite? I like to deal with professionals like you."
I BET his very next words wud be the name of his Team Leader.(strike one. hehee)

Now, before you start discussing your issue, throw him the trick that you have put up your sleeve (the best one yet). The 'I'm in a hurry' trick. Don't be mistaken. This is a BAIT. And YOU are the one holding the line.

How can I be sure he will get hooked??
Simple logic.

Because call center agents are NOT allowed to argue with customers. Besides, there's 60% chances that your call will be recorded automatically. The agent doesn't wanna be down graded or entirely lose his job, does he? Wot with recession n' all.
Hey, we are just exploring our rights - technically. :-)

How do I throw the bait??

You literally say, "I can sense you are pretty intellgent and quite professional too.... and since I'm really really in a GREAT hurry, I'm sure u will be able to solve my issue quickly. Isn't this call being recorded by the way??"
SPLASH. Bait thrown. Waiting for the hook to be caught.

He will surely reply, "uh.. thank you sir and if you are in a hurry, I'll do it as soon as possible. And yes sir, ur right, this call might be getting recorded."
(The agents can never tell when and which call of their's gets recorded. The machine is programmed to pick the calls at random on a particular number.)

Quickly, tell him the issue you face. Be precise. No need to get irate or talk about the past. Just stay on the issue that u face now. Be short.

And immediately after, say, "Look, sorry to be a bother but I REALLY am in a very big hurry. Can you do it quick for me?" Sound exasperated.
And keep adding the words - 'quick', 'R u done?' and 'plz I'm in a hurry' as the conversation continues. But don't sound pathetic or like ur pleading. You're the boss. Just sound like ur truely in a hurry but always be in command.

That would assure you of 2 things -
1. He will try to do ur stuff in a hurry, and
2. He's not gonna be able to pull his 'HOLD THE LINE' trick on you..cuz' u have already reversed it with your "I'm in a hurry" line....
Hehee, u sly devil u !!

That's about it. You shud have your issue resolved in record time.
Now, compare this call time and the amount of time you used to make..uh..waste.. talking to call center guys earlier?? U'll realize the difference.

Smile and Enjoy !!

Ok now, having said that, Plz Remember :

1. Talk respectfully. They deserve it, regardless of how you think of them.
2. Patience is really a virtue. Some issues are really big. They can't be resolved using the above formula.
3. Be sure to let them know you appreciate their efforts.( You may be smart but u ain't no meanie, r u? )

Happy calling a call centre.
Toodledoo. :-)

24 Spoke their mind: yep, makes a difference !!

Smita said...

Hmmm nice one...

Last year I had a major issue with Tata Broadband and I interacted with their call center exec so much that I used to tell them, "I know u will say this now etc etc" and usually I was bang on!!!

10V said...

Well...i wish i could comment on the Customer service part...but just for your records...there are some things that really are out of the world issues!

Ever heard of the Coffee holder caller at DELL???

No...Well..ask me...will tell u next time...Or it just might be my next post.."Funniest Calls at Customer care!!" hahaha

Anand said...

Smita...Awww poor you.. Well, shit happens but being a bit smart helps go a long way.

Anand said...

Tanvi...Yep yep. I have heard about it. The guy thought the CD player was a coffee cup holder. Those kinda people are from different planet altogether.

Yea, some issues r really out of the way. Ur rite.
I'll wait for ur post. :-)

Nehal said...

Had a terrible experience with godrej and i did the next best thing gave the phone to my MOM IN LAW and rest as U say my friend is a history had my problem solved in 2 dys time till then my MIL would call them and talk non stop in gujarati HAHA

rahul said...

haven't really had a bad experience with call centres except that they hung up for soo long that I almost fell asleep a few times!!

nice blog!!

Anand said...

Nehal...Is it possible to make xerox copies of your Mom in law and distribute it to all of us???

Rahul...Yep, The HOLD thing sucks. Thats why I have written all this. Hope it helps people.

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Viji said...

Hey Anand, i could relate to this piece! Many a time, you wonder how these call centre guys calls you for everything from insurance to personal loans to credit card, and what not.....But when you have to reach out "You are the valuble cutomer, in waiting"!!!!!!

10V said...

Well...thanks for ur comment on my blog buddy...Have made the change u recommended...

Destination Infinity said...

I used to have bad experience with the call center people earlier, but of late, the experience is ok! But sometimes like configuring GPRS to work with my laptop, they were very friendly and took all efforts to solve my problem even though the settings in the handset and laptop was not directly related to them. I think the bad experience is because the person you are dealing with, may not know the way to do it. Just cut the call and redial hoping someone else would pick the call!

Destination Infinity

Anand said...

Destination...........Yea well, shit happens. That's why I hv asked if Nehal (read Nehal's comment above) can get her Mom-in-Law xeroxed and distribute them to us common folks. Her MIL is a quick fix to all such troubles.

workhard said...

heyyy.. those are some slick tips.....they test ur patience to the core...... im gonna try some next time, at least the cable guy.. im gonna make him my lab mouse...

Anand said...

Hey Wookiee........ They test ur patience...but then...isn't patience supposed to be a virtue???

Yep yep..try it and lemme knw if the mouse squeaked. SHud be fun. WInk.

ankita mehta said...

Don't beat around the bush rather beat them through your straightforward questions!

Verdict: time is precious and so I take this post (hehe) to thank Anand for telling us the tricks to how to do it!

U.S.P of this post: 1)they pull the nuclear weapon of all phone related issues - the deadly 'LONG HOLD'. They keep u on HOLD till your: daughter has grown up enough to get married,
wife has found somebody else to talk to and
the turtle has finally won the damn, stupid race...that nobody actually cared to watch.

Yep, besides the hold thing, these are the 2 TOP excuses you'll get to hear 90% of the times if you call up 'customer service' for any brand, wotsoever. It's the same story the world over.

2)1. Talk respectfully. They deserve it, regardless of how you think of them.
2. Patience is really a virtue. Some issues are really big. They can't be resolved using the above formula.
3. Be sure to let them know you appreciate their efforts.( You may be smart but u ain't no meanie, r u? )

CSR said...

Hiya, I work in a call-centre, and it frustrates me when I cannot handle a simple request from callers despite I have knowledge on it...just because "not authorized to resolve that issue".

The baits are good. But if one is not allowed to answer it, we're not allowed. if we still do, and help you out, you'd be happy surely, but we're gonna screwed..real bad.

as for putting callers on hold, i am making sure it's only for transferring to different dept (and making sure that dept CAN handle caller's issue before transfer), or to get more information on the inquiry.

i don't like scripts. callers doesn't always call with expected issues, and it hinders me from building good customer relationship. this i have to say quality team makes me do it. stupid asses.

and yes, it's not may recorded, all calls are.

Anand said...

CSK, Thank you. I appreciate your point of view. You are right.
You are a good employee Im sure and here's wishing you speedy promotions and super duper appraisals.
You are welcome here. :)

Danielle said...

I totally agree with you 10V, some of the things asked by the customers are really out of this world. So where do the support service can get the answers from their out of this world questions? By the way, this is really an interesting post! Thanks for the share. Keep it up and more power.


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