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Call Center Customer Service - What are the Top Ten Things about Call Centers that Tick Us Off?

Updated on May 19, 2012

Is Call Center Customer Service Dead?

In the not too distant past was a time - some of you may remember - when you could call a company and speak to a human being with relative ease. It was even frequently a fairly pleasant experience. Aaahhhh, the good old days. In today's world, there are too many irritations to deal with along the way. Excluding whether or not the problem actually got solved, here is my Top Ten list of Call Center Pet Peeves.

10. Can't find the number to call. After you've searched the internet looking for an answer to your question or problem, you give up and decide to try to actually talk to someone. You look all over the Home page and finally find a small button titled Contact Us. Sometimes all that is listed there is the website you are already on (helpful!) or an email ID. One of my favorite encounters happened a couple of weeks ago. While waiting on hold, I decided to try sending an email as well (chat wasn't available) - to see which one responded faster. To my surprise, the email came back faster. It read something like, "We are currently experiencing high call and email traffic. Please try again in 7 days." Well, I guess it was a response at least.....

9. Recordings- After the experience above of searching and searching for an answer - and a phone number - they have the audacity to make me listen to a recording that tells me all about their wonderful website where I can find all of the answers I am seeking - before I can even get to the recording to select an option in hopes of finding a live, non-pre-recorded human being. And, sometimes even better, is an ad to buy the latest and greatest version of the item that is causing you to be on the phone in the first place.

8. Music Interruption - Knowing my journey to a human voice is likely to be a long one, I frequently put my phone on speaker and set it down somewhere so that I can do other things. You used to be able to rely on a break in the music as an indicator that the long dreamed of human voice is about to come on the line. Apparently I've received Pavlov's dog training somewhere along the way because now, every time I hear that break in the music, I dash for the phone, only to hear - 'Your call is important to us, please continue to stay on the line and you will be helped by the first available representative.' At which point, I drool, and go back to whatever I was doing.

7. Voice Recognition- Now, I'm all for new technology - love it, in fact. But voice recognition that doesn't work has got to be one of the all time worst inventions. Even a simple word like NO, is frequently misinterpreted and responded to with 'I'm sorry but I did not recognize that response. Please answer Yes or No'. NNNOOOO!!! 'I'm sorry but I did not recognize that response. Please answer Yes or No'. And so it goes, until my dog starts to bark because I'm yelling into the telephone - and THEN it miraculously hears my answer - but thinks I said YES.

6. Hold - Again! - After several times through the IVR options, you choose the one that you think best fits your question, because, of course, none of the options actually relate to your issue - wait, wait, wait, - a human voice is heard. You briefly run through your question and are told, you guessed it, 'Oh, I can't help you with that. You should've chosen option 4. I'll be glad to transfer you.' And, back you go on hold - again - at the end of the queue. Aaarrggghhh!

5. Info ad nauseum - Once you've chosen the closest option, you are frequently asked to key in your account number, last 4 of your social, zip code, mother's maiden name, password, and pin - or some variation of the above. THEN you finally get to a person who asks you for the exact same information before telling you that you've selected the wrong prompt, transfer you, wait, wait, wait - another person - who asks you for the exact same info - AGAIN.

4. Huh? - You can't understand the person on the phone and they can't understand you. Nuff said.

3. Scripted answers- No matter how many ways you try to ask your question, you get the exact same, word for word, scripted answer. You can't interrupt the spiel, you can't get a thoughtful answer - just robot speak, over and over and over.

2. No supervisor - After all of the above has occurred and still in need of help, you ask for a supervisor. Back on hold again, wait, wait, wait - lo and behold, there is no supervisor on duty at the moment. But they'll be glad to take your number and have the supervisor call you back as soon as they're available - yeah, right.

1. Voice Mail - And my number 1, personal favorite pet peeve is to be transferred to the desk of the supervisor - ring, ring, ring, ring - 'Hi, this is Kathy. I'm sorry I'm not available to take your call right now. But please leave your name and number and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Have a great day' CLICK

Is it really that hard to get an answer from a human being?!?!?


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