TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Should Consumers Tape "Customer Service" Calls?

Re: Should Consumers Tape "Customer Service" Calls?

Tue, 18 Apr 2006 07:50:41 -0400 wrote:

> Given the mess* in "customer service" call centers, should consumers
> tape record their calls in case of subsequent trouble?

> For one, it gives the consumer a clear record of what was said they if
> they aren't sure, they can play the tape back. Secondly, in case the
> service rep gives bad information or promise that isn't carried out
> the consumer is protected with a record of the conversation.

> *The call center mess:

> In the old days, customer service representatives of a business, such
> as a bank, insurance company, or telephone company, were well trained
> experienced employees. They knew the company's products and services
> and policies. They knew had to look up customer records (whether
> manually or on-line) and how to make account adjustments when
> necessary.

> However, today, call centers is a factory assembly line operation.
> The employees are lower paid, under strict time quotas, and have high
> turnover. They are not trained as to a company's policies. They are
> under pressure to sell premium goods and services regardless of the
> customers' real needs of service. In many cases the operators are
> overseas. Often times the clerk is not very skilled or bright, and
> unable to properly use the computer.

> Rather, they read off scripts provided by a computer screen. If a
> customer's inquiry can't be answered by pre-canned answers, the
> customer is out of luck. If the customer is lucky, the call will be
> passed to a true experienced and knowledgeable rep for assistance.

> BTW, is there anyone out there who can justify today's call center
> boiler rooms as being "better"?

> [public replies, please]

My wife works on the lost baggage "desk" of a major airline. She's a
supervisor. It's a thankless job. While many of us see the ugly side
of boiler room call centers, we (those reading here) tend to be a
fairly honest well educated group. She gets to deal with the rest of
the population daily. Many of them are rude, lie, and out to "get one
over on the big company" any time they can. Not all, not most, but
enough to make her want to crawl in a hole at times when her day is

Tips for dealing with a call center.

Don't get emotional.

Listen carefully to what is being said. It usually isn't what you want
to hear and many folks will mentally skip the parts they don't like.
Write down facts. Yours and the ones given.

Remember the person on the other end isn't a God with magical
powers. If your luggage (so to speak) is in San Jose and you're in
Chicago, no one on the planet can get it to you in 1 hour. And no
amount of yelling will change that. :)

And the job isn't all that bad, two of the nicer folks they've dealt
with were Oscar winners who were missing some really expensive clothes.
And the reason one of them was a problem was that they had left an old
baggage tag on a suitcase. When it got checked the tag was missed but
when loaded on a plane it was seen as going to London instead of LA.
That suitcase traveled a LOT of miles in 12 hours. :)

As to why call centers have gone to boiler room operations, over and
over again, surveys and sales have proven that initial prices trumps
back end service 95% or more of the time in people deciding where to
buy things. There was even a recent wire service newspaper article
about this last week. Airlines have not yet gone the India route
(Delta tried but I think they pulled it back.) is that things like
lost baggage services requires a knowledge of how the "systems"
work. It can't be scripted.

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