Anyone who has sat near me for long knows I love and loathe call centers. At times I find them convenient and easy to use (Delta) and on the whole I use them to get things done faster than tinkering online myself.
But every once in a while I need a good rant. When I’m worked up about life and frustrated by bad logic I’ll do some life administration and call up a call center. I’ll look to score points by nitpicking the errors they make in logic or at times just call them on their bs.
Today I had the chance to visit a call center and see it first hand. I listened in to calls and saw the Half truths told to comfort the client ‘our system is slow today bear with me one second’ while stalling for time being chief among them.
I also saw how rigidly the staff are held accountable. With audits of their calls to see if they step one toe out of line. Their job is intense and difficult and it made me see the other side of the line for when I call in. They have very little power to make their own choices and I have to question, why.
When I call Delta now, and to be fair it’s due to loyalty status, I get connected to a representative who has a lot of flexibility in their job. They are empowered to make things amazing for customers within a range of options. They have helped me book a crazy itinerary on multiple carriers and then switch it all around because they saw a way to book it to save me $800.
Getting your organization’s customer service staff to be able to do that is hard. It takes a culture of trust in your staff and a level of sophisticated training, it takes investment that I lyrics a few places are willing to commit to.
While I can’t change a company’s culture and training from the outside I can change myself. I can stop being a jerk on the phone and start treating everyone, including those who are telling me a little white lie, with a lot more respect – respect deserving of the humanity they and I share.
Note: After only a month it happened. I missed a publishing deadline. I did write most of this article yesterday but unfortunately had a night out with work and wasn’t able to get to finish and publish this. I apologize and hope this occasion is rare.