Having spent sometime this week speaking to call centres – BT (looking for a better deal – £2 less a month and a new wifi router) and Aviva (car in for damage repairs – you should see the loan car) I realise the quality of the service you receive is completely in the hands of who in the call centre takes your call.
If you can’t hear what they are saying – you end up filling the blanks when you can understand what they are saying.
I spoke at length to a guy who said his name was Washington Cincinnati emm I thought – but at the time didn’t want to question it, I was only keen that he approved the work for the repair garage.
Our conversation lasted about 35 mins where most of time he spent reading and getting up to speed on my claim details – I was reminded of the comedy series starring Sanjeev Bhaskar ‘Mumbai Calling‘ – it was a great series, it’s a shame they shelved it.
It causes me to pause when I speak to someone who has great telephone manners and ‘frames’ what he’s about to do – does it and then tells me what he’s done and finally, what will happen next.
A survey I read toward the end of last year highlighted some key characteristics of successful call centre staff. Number 1 in the top 10 list was staff needed to be empowered in making decisions. Rather than just being a voice on the end of a phone following a script but to be competent, confident, knowledgeable and not only have all the information in-front of them but be able to digest it, assess it and a make common-sense decision based upon what they’d read and heard.
When preparing to make a call to an organisation where I suspect their call centre is in Bangalore, New Delhi or Bombay, I usually prepare with at least 45 mins spare and all your paperwork, a pen and blank note-paper ready – As I dial the 0800/0870/0345 and other variant, I hope that they are set up like the Starship Enterprise with the call handler taking on the role of Captain Kirk and having Spock, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov providing help and assistance, this is what I thought was going on with Mr Cincinnati – he was great.
There is a lot to be said for real-experience, particularly when working in a call centre (or Service Desk) when dealing with callers issues. It’s not difficult to spot those who don’t have any experience and just end up sticking to the script in front of them – watch out for the end of the conversation when you are completely demoralised, you’ve not got any further – no progress at all – you’ve actually gone backwards and have given in, that’s when you are hit with the phrase ‘Is there anything else I can help you with today‘ and ‘thank you for calling, please call again and have a good day‘