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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dealing with Customer Care-part 1-understanding CC setup

We all do call customer care centres (also known as tech support, helpdesk, customer service, support centre etc) to get some of our issues resolved. Often we complain about the inefficiency of customer care staff or how pathetic they are in solving our problems.

I’m planning a few posts around this, with an aim of explaining how the call centre typically functions and give some tips how we as customers can make the most of it and overcome common causes of disappointment.
Part 1 of this series explains the life on the other side of call, when you call a customer care.

1. First and foremost, we need to understand that we call customer care only when there’s some problem. None of us call them to give an appreciation that everything went well. People at call centre deal with problems all day long and soon they get mechanical about it and develop a sort of insensitivity. Most of the pleasant voice and calmness shown on phone is often fake. You’ll understand their frustration if you see how they throw the headphone after a call.

2. People manning call centre are relatively underpaid, often less educated/trained (or most of the times just outsourced to 3rd party company). If you call a customer care, you’ll never get to speak to the engineer who designed and built the product or MBA decorated marketing/sales person who sold them to you. Venting your anger on hapless support staff will do no good.

3. Most of us complain that every time we call call centre we’ve to start from scratch as call goes to different person. Call routing software that routes the calls has no intelligence to identify that “Oh when this customer called last time it was handled by agent X, let me route the call to same agent” Its designed to route the call to an agent who has been most idle (or least busy) or other such parameters. The only solution for this is to get your complaint logged properly and get a reference number.

4. Priorities differ: If your phone is not working, it could be top priority for you. But if just 1 out of 10 million subscriber’s phone is not working, its not at all a priority for mobile company and they can’t divert all their resources to solve your problem. Similarly, while your priority could be resolve your concern, but the agent’s priority could be just to get rid of you asap, if his performance is measured by how soon he closes a call and not how happy the caller is at the end of conversation.

While companies readily spend on branding exercises, celebrity endorsements and marketing, spend on improvising customer care is seldom on priority list of decision makers. In next part, will give some tips on how to avoid some of the most common issues faced during our interaction with customer care.

4 comments :

Mridula said...

It is easy for me to be polite most of the times to call center people when I call them but on the other hand when it is an unsolicited marketing call ... and 5th in the day that is when I get bugged.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

outbound calls is another story altogether. Focus of my article is customer care centres that take inbound calls from irate customers

Logesh TamilSelvan said...

sometimes these CC guys speak like a robot! and sometimes they give instant answers before we express our full problem..
thats one side.. at the same time there's an other side also
reason why airtel and other network made CC calling as paid is. just hear to this VDO,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_sbd1FUGZM
sorry u might need a tamil translator nearby to understand,
but this shows how some idiots annoy the poor CC ppl! who work for whole full hectic day..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, I can understand the situation from both sides...

i could understand most of the conversation...