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B. Serum
03-22-2004, 02:11 PM
When calling customer service, I am more frequently encountering the new "not-our-fault" hold-time line:

"Due to unusually high call volume, you may encounter longer wait times"

or my new favorite...

"Due to overwhelming interest in our products and services..."

Lets cut the fucking bullshit. Everybody knows why we're waiting on hold forever...

"Due to an effort to cut overhead, we are employing only a fraction of customer service representatives as we need to respond to calls in a timely fashion.

Waiting on hold is one thing. But this crap is enough to send me straight to your competitor.

GR!

Elza B
03-22-2004, 02:34 PM
Or my new favorite - "Due to unusually high call volume, we will not be able to respond to your problem tonight. Please call back tomorrow."

Excuse the fuck out of me?? This is my checking account, where you're holding my money, and I can't fucking talk to anyone? My BANK is not available 24 hours a day? What if my checkbook has been stolen? What if I'm in dire need of my own cash and have no way to get it?

Mr. avabeth looked me funny when I threw the phone after hearing that one night - I'd called half hour before their own offices closed, and was told that they couldn't talk to me that night.

Ava

rjung
03-22-2004, 03:26 PM
My personal pet peeve is "Please listen carefully to our options, as items have recently been changed." Which is weaselspeak for "Please sit through our long and boring drone and delay actually reaching a real human operator for another 40 seconds."

wonky
03-22-2004, 03:45 PM
My husband's doctor does this. They just tell you to "call back later." Riiiight. How about I just call some other doctor?

fluiddruid
03-22-2004, 03:58 PM
Have you ever tried to run a call center with no hold times, ever?

It's fricking impossible!

Running customer service is walking this thin line. Too little volume or too much staff and we're wasting tons of money with people doing nothing; too much volume or too little staff and our hold time will increase past acceptable limits.

More than 1-2 minutes or so of hold time and we'll start dropping calls badly, and how we're rated is based on the percentage of calls that reach an operator rather than hang up. We need to be below 5 percent - preferably, below 4 in case we have a bad day - but above 2 percent, otherwise we're wasting money.

Keeping a call center fully staffed with competent reps that are doing what they are supposed to be doing at all times is nigh impossible at the going rate for customer service.

Elza B
03-22-2004, 04:17 PM
fluiddruid, I've worked in two call centers, both as a supervisor and as a lowly CSR. I understand about hold times. I'm fairly patient when it comes to hold times - if it means getting my problem solved, I'll hold. I may not like being on hold for 45 minutes, but I remember seeing my phone at a solid red for five hours straight and freaking out because I knew I'd be taking call after call after call for the next five hours, and I'd be lucky if I could get into Wrap to take my scheduled break. I give CSRs and supervisors a break, especially when it comes to hold times - I know it's not their fault.

However, I do hate being cut off from a call when there's still plenty of time left in the workday. I don't care if people have to stay a bit late to finish the calls left in the queue - especially when it comes to my checking account. Cut the queue off after the stated business hours, but if I'm calling during regular business hours, I expect my call to be taken, whether it's 7:45 when they finally answer or 8:15. I consider it poor customer service to not allow me to get the information I need on my account during regular business hours.

Ava

Mauvaise
03-22-2004, 04:35 PM
Have you ever tried to run a call center with no hold times, ever?

I have to agree with avabeth. Hold times, long or otherwise, isn't the issue she brought up. I've also called places that give the "Due to unusually high call volume..." recording and then HANG UP on you. Nothing pisses me off faster*! You have a high call volume and I'll have to wait 45 minutes before speaking to someone? Then tell me that and give me the option of waiting or hanging up and trying again. Don't make my decisions for me. Especially when something might not be able to wait until "off-peak" hours or the next day.






*I reserve the right to claim something else pisses me off faster when I'm discussing whatever else that may be. :D

fluiddruid
03-23-2004, 03:08 AM
I do agree that asking the customer to call back tomorrow, especially regarding urgent matters, is bad service. My response was to the OP.

Fugazi
03-23-2004, 03:30 AM
I've also called places that give the "Due to unusually high call volume..." recording and then HANG UP on you. Nothing pisses me off faster*!

oooooo that happened to me once, but worse. 30 minutes on the phone to get some tech support for a router, only to be dropped. Then I have to get back in the goddamn queue for another 30 minutes. Having to wait for a long time sucks ass, but I can live with it if I get helped. Having to wait a double long time because they just dropped my call sucks double ass and just pisses me off.

Time Like Tears
03-23-2004, 04:04 AM
OOOHH!! Dell ran me through the gamut this past week. I'll try and make a long story short.

-Called them (after receiving an order confirmation that was wrong, attempting to correct it their way, [including a 'Live Chat' with a customer service rep, who told me 'please contact our sales department to correct your problem' and disconnected, after I had waited for her for 20 minutes] having my first order cancelled and a new one placed, then the second was wrong as well) to speak to the human specified on my order confirmation

-was directed through no less than three automated lines, to be told my specified human wasn't available, please wait for the next available rep

-my call was dropped

-repeat above twice

-finally spoke to a human, who very graciously listened to and fixed my problem (which involved cancelling the second order and placing a third, corrected order...more on that in a sec)

Great, ok, so my computer shows up all bright and shiny, and I was happy.
BUT THEN...

-I realised my printer and digital camera hadn't arrived, and checked the status of that order online (peripherals are ordered seperately from systems)

-printer and camera order had been cancelled. I'm like what the hell...so I get on the phone again (to the number they said call if I had a problem with orders)

-bunch of re-routes through various automated systems later, I spoke to a human, told her my problem, and she looked up my account. She said "It was cancelled by Financial. I can't help you. Please call Dell Financial Services to resolve this complaint." CLICK ("Bitch!")

-calling financial services...menu option 2 - 'For questions concerning recently placed orders'...beep!..."Thank you for calling Dell Technical Support. (huh?) Our business hours are from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday...(it was 1pm my time, noon theirs)

-repeat 3 frickin times, each time being re-routed to a different branch of service by pressing the same menu option. I threw my cel phone at the wall.

So what I figure happened was that when the third order was placed, the second hadn't yet been cancelled. We have a set spending limit on our Dell account, and having two systems on it would have sent it way over the limit, so it auto-cancelled anything that had been placed prior. I ended up simply re-ordering them, but why someone couldn't just tell me that, I don't know. I would think that such a huge company could get their act straight. I don't think I am being too harsh, either, having worked in call centers for years, at varying levels of authority.

I lied. This is a long story kept long. Thanks, though, because I would otherwise have made it its own cozy little thread in a couple of days.

dalej42
03-23-2004, 06:13 AM
Many times, a CSR will drop a call on purpose. It will lower his/her talk time on the phone. If a rep has just spent 30 minutes on a call with one person, dropping the second one that comes in will reduce that average talk time to 15 minutes.

Sad, but true.

elpadre
03-23-2004, 06:53 AM
'Have you ever tried to run a call center with no hold times, ever?

It's fricking impossible!

Running customer service is walking this thin line. Too little volume or too much staff and we're wasting tons of money with people doing nothing; too much volume or too little staff and our hold time will increase past acceptable limits.'

BullCaca. Check out the hold time to speak with a sales agent

DemonSpawn
03-23-2004, 07:57 AM
I agree with the OP - it's not the hold time, but the stupid messages. I work in a call center myself and my eyes rolled in our last desk meeting. We too have barely enough agents to answer all calls and so many callers end up in our voice mail system. There they state their problem and are called back ASAP. Sometimes we will not be able to solve the problem the same day, so we then call them to make an appointment for the next day.

Stupid Marketingspeak-Supervisor Chick: "When a customer complains about their problem not being fixed the same day, don't say that we are really busy, that's not professional. Say "due to an increased demand for support, we need to take calls by priority".

Me: "Well, I agree that "we are really busy" is not very professional. However, throwing marketing lingo at the caller and basically telling them that their problem is low priority is not really a good idea ..."

SMSC: "I think it sounds a lot more professional."

Me: "I think it sounds like we're treating our customers like they're idiots."

:rolleyes:

chique
03-23-2004, 08:27 AM
I firmly believe that ridding the world of voicemail and call trees will simultaneously reduce blood pressure and eliminate unemployment.

Philster
03-23-2004, 09:50 AM
FACT: It costs more money to queue up callers and let them sit there for five minutes than it does to answer the calls within 90 seconds.

Most people have the patience not to abandon a call for as long as two minutes, and most dont mind holding for a minute.

Most call centers can be staffed intelligently, with an emphasis on taking paying customers in less than 30 secs or less important cutomers in 60-90. AFTER THAT, it costs money to have people sit around.

ONE MAJOR problem is that alll the call center improvements (staffing dynamics thanks to software. "Workforce management") that came in the 90's and 2000-2003 are going right out the friggin' window temporarily as all our overseas call centers who are sucking the jobs out of us get up to speed.

Call centers peaked in performance in about 2002, and just as that happened, every major call center headed to India, Phillipines, Jamaica, Indonesia, etc.

On paper, it's a brilliant fucking move, but they always underestimate the staff needed because their handle times are MUCH longer because they can't communicate effectively. So....the offshoring vendors promise X type of service, they staff for it, and then it falls apart when they finally have to admit that PRAVNACK can't talk to US customers about their credit reports in five minutes, but that it takes him 7-12 minutes, and now they are understaffed, callers get queued for 3-5 minutes and people hang up, redial, hog the lines, and then other callers can't get in.

This is bad call center stuff. It costs money. It is most efficient and cost effective to staff to the volumes, forecast and queue just the right number of people for just the right amount of time. And call centers have headed over seas to offshoring vendors who promisw what they can't deliver and then piss off US customers.

And if you think SPEED is a problem, wait to Sanjay and Praveed try to deliver quality service to you.

You'll be routing for the fucking Pakastanis by the second call.

Dangerosa
03-23-2004, 11:00 AM
"Do to unusually high demand...."

Gee, I've called you twenty times over three months. Each time I am told this is "unusally high demand." Seems pretty "usual" to me.

"Your call is important to us"

If it were that damn important, you'd spend enough money to answer them in a reasonable time frame. I understand that its expensive having people sit there to "answer" the phones, but you aren't paying CSRs $80,000 a year or anything. And I understand that I may need to go on hold for a minute. If your average hold time is over a minute, my call isn't that damn important to you.


Don't lie to me "In order to keep the cost of our products low and maximize profits, we keep our call centers staffed as lean as possible. Our hold times during 11:00 to 1:00 (whatever time you dial in) average ten minutes, but may be significantly longer if there is high volume. Please hold or use our web site where we will respond to your query in 48 hours."

Jurph
03-23-2004, 02:55 PM
Have you ever tried to run a call center with no hold times, ever?

It's fricking impossible!

Running customer service is walking this thin line. Too little volume or too much staff and we're wasting tons of money with people doing nothing; too much volume or too little staff and our hold time will increase past acceptable limits.

More than 1-2 minutes or so of hold time and we'll start dropping calls badly, and how we're rated is based on the percentage of calls that reach an operator rather than hang up. We need to be below 5 percent - preferably, below 4 in case we have a bad day - but above 2 percent, otherwise we're wasting money.

Keeping a call center fully staffed with competent reps that are doing what they are supposed to be doing at all times is nigh impossible at the going rate for customer service.

I'm going to earn back some good karma here, even though this is the Pit. I'm going to praise my banker. And my auto and life insurance company. And my broker. Never, calling any of them, have I had to sit on hold for more than two or three minutes. Every single time, if I needed to, I could talk to a human from the first menu. These call centers are all available 24 hours a day, and I never end a call dissatisfied -- if I sound unhappy, they keep me on the line until they've made me happy. My secret? I use USAA. I know they're not available to everybody, but ask a friend in the military about USAA's customer service - ten to one you will hear serious, heartfelt praise. Not just "they're okay, I guess," but something more like "I can't get over how good their service is." I won't bank anywhere else; I won't get insurance anywhere else; I won't ever move my brokerage account.

If you run a call center for a business, think about those statements. Don't you think your CEO would like to hear someone say something like that about his company? It's not impossible. It's perfect customer service, and USAA has cracked the code on how to do it (I don't know their methods; I've just seen their success). Now that I've been spoiled by them, anything less makes me think you're not doing the best you can. You want loyal customers who will help your company's bottom line and attract other customers through word of mouth? Call up USAA's customer service and find out what they're doing right.

Dante
03-23-2004, 03:46 PM
I recently had to place a call to my satellite provider, and got the following message:

"All of our service representatives are currently with other customers. Please enter your phone number and a customer service representative will call you back within [automated voice] 8 minutes [/automated voice]."

Bu...wha...? I don't have to sit on the phone, listening to your horrible muzak? I can just go about my day, and you'll just... just... call me? Yep. They called me back within 5 minutes, asked for me by name, and solved my problem in no time.

Oh, and fuckity fucking fuckingstein. What with this being the Pit and all...

zenith
03-23-2004, 07:29 PM
I second the post praising USAA.

When the son of an Air Force Colonel hit my car the Colonel's USAA guy promptly answered the phone and arranged to meet me at the body shop I normally use and to look over the estimate with me. None of this "Get 3 estimates,send 'em to Bumfuck, Egypt, and wait till Hell freezes," that most insurance companies give you.

He then arranged to have a rental car waiting for me at the shop the day the body man said that he could start work, and said to just leave the car at the shop when I was through with it (no finding another driver to help ferry the rental back to some inconvenient location).

I've never been treated better by any other insurance company.

Fugazi
03-24-2004, 07:10 AM
Oh yeah. Dante's post reminds me of another bitch of mine. When you call, fer instance, your credit card company and the computer asks you to punch in your 16 digit CC number. Then your zip code. Then this, that & the other. When you finally get a live person on the line, they ask for all the same information again. OK, so why the fuck did I just punch all of that into the phone?

Mauvaise
03-24-2004, 08:35 AM
When you finally get a live person on the line, they ask for all the same information again. OK, so why the fuck did I just punch all of that into the phone?

Yeah, that bugs the piss out of me too. :mad:


Any CSRs that work with that type of system want to explain?

Philster
03-24-2004, 09:36 AM
You punch in your info.

System finds file, forwards call to appropriate agent based on who is calling.

Agent may or may not have file, and if they do, they use CC# to verify it is you.


See, if you are a someone who is behind, they forward the call to someone who can talk to you and help, but can also try to collect.

Maybe you're a hotshot, super- highlimit- always -carry-s a- balance kind of guy and buys and pays everything on his card. Ah...then you go to the front of the line...NO WAITING for you, and you get the best rep, and she'll be the sweetest gal, and she will try to seel you stuff and inflate your ego.

So, your CC# defines who is calling, and you are routed to agents or queues based on that.

askeptic
03-24-2004, 10:15 AM
I may be wrong, and if I am I hope you will forgive me. But are you the person I defended a couple of days ago, that claimed to work for one of the credit reporting companies? If so, do you now work for an insurance company? :confused:

Philster
03-24-2004, 11:00 AM
Well, I don't recall being defended! But I do work for a credit reporting agency.

askeptic
03-24-2004, 11:30 AM
Well, I don't recall being defended! But I do work for a credit reporting agency.


Well if this ain't defending I do not know what is: I said in this thread (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?p=4677698#post4677698) Philster stated in the begining of his post something to the effect that he worked for a credit reporting company. I felt that his post was informative and valuable. The comment to which you object seemed to be the simple truth. He works for a credit reporting agency, which no previous poster claimed, therefore he was not guessing. He had inside information. I for one appreciate that he took the time to share it.

Philster
03-24-2004, 12:30 PM
..thanks for that help in the Pit. I didn't realize I was pitted until you mentioned it here. I posted in that thread just today.

I battled crashing browser problems over the weekend after following some SDMB-ers advice on Mozzila browsers. I couldn't keep track of the threads I was in and didn't notice I was pitted.

Feel free to tap me for any credit reporting advice.

(Hey, our call center averages a 90 second hold time, and we only see about 1.5% of the callers abandon. We use workforce management software to forecast and staff to each 15 minute interval. )

vasyachkin
03-26-2004, 01:08 AM
yes, every time i called verizon dsl tech support, every single fucking time i got "due to unusually high call volume .... " and then i had to wait for half an hour.

then verizon lost some lawsuits about their tactics as far as monopolizing DSL services ... and suddenly the service improved dramatically. before that they were basically screwing all other DSL providers ( cuz verizon owns all the phone copper lines around here ) and as such they could get away with the worst imaginable service and still get all the customers they needed.

but guess what beyotch, i didnt forget those hours on hold, as soon as cable became available i cancelled my DSL.

Philster
03-26-2004, 11:43 AM
Imagine having customer service that is so bad you can't wait to deal with the cable company! Now that speaks volumes about Verizon!

Cyros
03-27-2004, 01:26 AM
Many times, a CSR will drop a call on purpose. It will lower his/her talk time on the phone. If a rep has just spent 30 minutes on a call with one person, dropping the second one that comes in will reduce that average talk time to 15 minutes.

Sad, but true.

I can't speak for other manager types, but that tactic would never fly with me. If I ever noticed that an agent's talk time was doing wild and wonderful things that was a signal to put a trace on that agent. The wonderful thing about call centers is that everything you can do can be monitored left, right, and center. Every button you press is recorded somewhere. I can tell if you hang up on a customer.

You start dropping calls, out the door you go. I can coach you on how to lower talk time, but hey, your job is to talk to the customer. If you don't do that, they just call back and increase call volume. Not to mention that they are more pissed than before. The other agents don't need that and I don't mind not having another ass to try to coach.

Doomtrain
03-27-2004, 02:03 AM
You may not tolerate it, but it goes on some places. Check out this article (http://salon.com/tech/feature/2004/02/23/no_support/index.html) to find out all about your call center woes.

fluiddruid
03-27-2004, 02:40 AM
GMRyujin: Holy shit. I have to say that, for all of my company's problems, we are NOTHING like that.

Many times, a CSR will drop a call on purpose. It will lower his/her talk time on the phone. If a rep has just spent 30 minutes on a call with one person, dropping the second one that comes in will reduce that average talk time to 15 minutes.

As Cyros said: that doesn't always fly, especially with a better center.

Let me elaborate a bit on my company. We're a company that supplies customer service to other companies. This might sound like this would decrease quality of the service (since we want our money from the other company, not customers). In actuality, I would imagine it increases quality. To our corporation, customer service is not a cost -- it's bringing in money. We only do that if we're pleasing clients and, what's more, attracting new clients.

We've been servicing the client that my department handles for quite a while, and our goals are client-driven. This particular client has a big interest in quality. Call time is important -- they don't want to hear CSRs idly chatting with the customers while the fees are racking up -- but quality is paramount. Because we get paid by the minute, we don't want short calls (the way a company providing its own customer service would).

Dropping calls is one hundred percent not acceptable. We can coach to quality, or poor adherence (not doing what you're supposed to be doing and when you're supposed to be doing it), but drop calls, you'll get a trace on your phone, maybe a warning if you're lucky, then you're out. End of story.

A rep's job is to take calls. Dropping calls is forcing other people to do more of your work. It's horrible service and it's inflating your stats in an artificial way. It's like using profanity with a customer. Completely unacceptable. I caught an agent with 400 calls (WAY too many) in a day. They were fired the following day. We didn't praise them -- that would be stupid, we'd have everyone dropping calls and our call volume would skyrocket (and our stats plummet) because nothing would ever get done! After all, these people are just going to call back!

The article about tech support had their method as trying to get rid of the customer. We're actually somewhat the opposite - the client wants us to talk with the customer, see how everything's going, suggest other products, check that they're happy. If they're not happy, we make every effort to make them happy. Our client's focus is repeat business and bad service is a great way to lose customers fast.

Regarding this comment about hold times:

BullCaca. Check out the hold time to speak with a sales agent

Well, let me elaborate how my company works.

Again, we do work for our client. Our client also uses another company for ordering. Why? Well, we do infomercials. A facility for customer service doesn't have the capacity to take the thousands and thousands of calls in a half-hour that an infomercial generates. That goes to a different center where the agents pretty much just take the order by reading from a script. They service a lot of different companies and don't know much about the products - if they're asked product questions, they transfer to customer service. I honestly don't know how much their average hold time is. Ours tends to be about 45 seconds or so (averaging the whole day).

Let's say, though, it's an existing customer or they call customer service to order. They press the phone option to be transferred to a representative with that "skill". Some skills are easier than others and are given to less experienced agents. Some are more difficult. Ordering is about the easiest thing to do so it goes to less experienced agents. On an average day, orders will go through slightly faster because, due to growth and turnover, we have more inexperienced agents than experienced ones, and experienced ones can also be routed order calls if it gets busy, and so on. If you're calling the billing area, that will have the longest wait because of the amount of additional training it requires (it is routed to a person who has had not only general customer service training, but more in depth billing training). Incidentally, order and general customer service are both given to new reps, so the wait time is pretty much identical (assuming that we don't have a huge skew in the number of calls on one skill or the other).

Even between the easiest skills and the hardest, there tends to not be a major difference in the wait (since at about 1 minute 30 seconds, we start to have people hang up, and that hurts our stats, we make every effort to have calls answered promptly).

fluiddruid
03-27-2004, 02:46 AM
I should note that we don't have a "due to unusually high call volume" message. That's usually misleading -- if a company has 45 minute hold times on a regular basis, that's unacceptable, and pretending to have "unusual" volume is just patronizing the customers' intelligence.. Ours just says something along the lines of "our representatives are busy, the next available representative will assist you as soon as possible".

Doomtrain
03-27-2004, 03:02 AM
I'm sure you're nothing like that, fd, and I know that it's probably exaggerated. As a further disclaimer, I realize it may even be made up, though it reads pretty authentic to me. I just wanted to illustrate that some of the things people are complaining about...well, they probably have reasons for them.

fluiddruid
03-27-2004, 03:56 AM
Well, horror stories about restaurants, retail stores, and such abound. That doesn't mean that's the industry standard; we just tend to pass on the bad stories.

Heck, that's what I've been teaching to new people - a customer who's gotten bad service takes, on average, 10 years to stop associating your company with bad service, and tells 10-20 people about their bad experience each year.

whiterabbit
03-27-2004, 09:03 AM
The one time my parents got bad customer service from USAA (I think it was two or three phone calls total, at least one of them being a complaint call) it turned out that the problem was their contractor, not USAA, and USAA fell over themselves apologizing about the rude treatment. I strongly suspect the contractor in question got ripped a new one over it. I third USAA. They are superb. Not only are they quick to get to you, but they are universally pleasant and helpful when they do. I was treated so well by them when I had a minor accident a few years ago (entirely the other guy's fault) that I wouldn't switch.

I remember the hell of cancelling AOL eons ago. I think it was a total of about an hour on the phone, the last fifteen minutes being spent convincing the bitch on the other end that yes, I really did want to cancel, and the more she tried to string me along the more I wanted to! I know it was her job to try to hang on to me, but good Lord, I don't think pissing people off is a good way to keep them on your service.

On a related note, I've hated having music played at me when I'm on hold for years. One thing that the school I'm applying to does is right -- when the computer puts you on hold to transfer to a human, they tell you that the silence doesn't mean you've been hung up, and then they DON'T PLAY MUSIC. Ah, blessed silence.

wonky
03-27-2004, 11:56 AM
On a related note, I've hated having music played at me when I'm on hold for years. One thing that the school I'm applying to does is right -- when the computer puts you on hold to transfer to a human, they tell you that the silence doesn't mean you've been hung up, and then they DON'T PLAY MUSIC. Ah, blessed silence.

Worse to me than just music is music that's interrupted every 30 seconds by a voice telling me that my call is very important to them. The beginning of the message, the way the sound changes, sounds exactly the way it sounds when a real-live person finally picks up. So, every 30 seconds, your hopes are raised then dashed on the rocky shoals of despair!

whiterabbit
03-27-2004, 12:05 PM
Worse to me than just music is music that's interrupted every 30 seconds by a voice telling me that my call is very important to them. The beginning of the message, the way the sound changes, sounds exactly the way it sounds when a real-live person finally picks up. So, every 30 seconds, your hopes are raised then dashed on the rocky shoals of despair!

True. I mean, I assume that if there is music playing, I am still on hold. There is no reason for a computer to tell me that they care about their customers and somebody will be with me as soon as they can -- or far worse, to advertise crap at me!

MaddyStrut
03-27-2004, 12:27 PM
I've always interpreted the "due to unusually high call volume..." message as a message that I'd have to wait longer than normal and, if my call didn't have to be made right then, I'd always hang up and try again later so I wouldn't have to wait on hold so long. You mean there are places that run this all the time?

The messages I hate, I mean hate, are those promoting other products or services or mentioning all the ways this company has to make my life easier (the phone company is a big offender) when I'm on hold about a problem or making a complaint. When I'm waiting to discuss how my service is out, I'm not exactly receptive to product offerings!

finette6
03-27-2004, 06:06 PM
yes, every time i called verizon dsl tech support, every single fucking time i got "due to unusually high call volume .... " and then i had to wait for half an hour.

<snip>

but guess what beyotch, i didnt forget those hours on hold, as soon as cable became available i cancelled my DSL.


Can I get an AMEN!!?

When I moved to a new house (in the same town, keeping the same number), I called Verizon 3 weeks ahead of time to let them know and get it set up smoothly. Then I called a few days before my move and was assured that my phone would be working on the specified day. Then I moved, and guess what? no phone!

LOOOONg story short, it took me 21 days and about 9 hours total on the phone with them to get a damn tech out there to fix whatever "box" problem it was. The experiance was so hellish that I switched my local service to the first fly-by-night outfit that called to ask me to switch. I pay a little bit more a month now, but it is so worth it to be rid of the evil that is Verizon.

Anyway, as for the OP, I have never called my power company and NOT gotten the "Unusual call volume" bullshit. Even worse, they tell me to hang up if it is not a "Gas or other life-threatening emergency." I fell for it the first two times, but after that I caught on. Thank god that the apartment I live in now is utilities-included, so I only have to deal with the phone at home (I love my landlord! I should start a thread on how great he is). I really don't mind being on hold for a bit, even 10-15 minutes doesn't bother me, but the patronizing does.

When I call places about my business accounts (even to that same power company), I never get this crap. I very rarely get put on hold long, and NEVER have to hear about the unusual call volume. I guess all it takes to be treated like a human being is becoming a corporation.

fluiddruid
03-27-2004, 06:19 PM
I definitely encourage you who are experiencing bad service to switch to a competitor with better service and tell the original provider why you're switching. This is how we, as a culture, are going to have better customer service -- we have to make it a priority.

Tenebras
03-27-2004, 06:25 PM
I just cancelled my land line, because Verizon routinely treats me like shit.

When I tried to call on Monday, I waited 20 minutes before having my call dropped. Then I waited an hour before I couldn't handle it anymore.

When I called yesterday to cancel, I got right through, and when I said that I had waited for a long fucking time Monday, the woman says "Yes, but you didn't have to wait today" in her well isn't that nice voice. Then she explained, as if this would make me feel more happy about the company and the shit service they have always given me, that "Monday is our highest volume day." Yeah? Well then why don't you have more fucking reps in on Mondays?

If it's the highest volume day week in and week out, then it's no longer an "unusually high volume of calls."

Tenebras

dalej42
03-28-2004, 12:56 AM
I can't speak for other manager types, but that tactic would never fly with me. If I ever noticed that an agent's talk time was doing wild and wonderful things that was a signal to put a trace on that agent. The wonderful thing about call centers is that everything you can do can be monitored left, right, and center. Every button you press is recorded somewhere. I can tell if you hang up on a customer.

You start dropping calls, out the door you go. I can coach you on how to lower talk time, but hey, your job is to talk to the customer. If you don't do that, they just call back and increase call volume. Not to mention that they are more pissed than before. The other agents don't need that and I don't mind not having another ass to try to coach.

I'm sorry to be so cynical, but I can see how some CSR's supervisor may be aware that the rep is dropping calls and yet reward it. If MY pay is based on how the reps are doing, I may very well turn a blind eye to tactics such as dropping calls on purpose. I might even ignore disconnecting troublesome customers. I even think that some customers know enough to talk someone's ear off just to get what they want.

Philster
03-28-2004, 12:05 PM
Call Center Management: Make every accountable for the retry rate. This does a number of things...

It discourages hangups.

It encourages mgmnt to monitor them.

It improves answer speed


If agents are padding their stats by dropping callers, this will boost the retry rate. You want a first call resolution, and a low redial rate.

Hangups, poor service and long wait times (leading to abandons) increase the redial rate.

When everyone is measured on it, watch the improvements in all these categories.
Also, reports are availabe which show calls that are under "X" amount of time and live monitoring, or recorded monitoring will catch the offendors.

lezlers
03-28-2004, 03:14 PM
Worse to me than just music is music that's interrupted every 30 seconds by a voice telling me that my call is very important to them. The beginning of the message, the way the sound changes, sounds exactly the way it sounds when a real-live person finally picks up. So, every 30 seconds, your hopes are raised then dashed on the rocky shoals of despair!

Oh MAN this drives me crazy. My coworker was on hold with a State Department (suprise suprise) for over an hour the other day. Of course, she had it on speakerphone. I'm just beginning to lose the nervous tick.

I was talking to a CSR for Netscape yesterday. I was in a pretty good mood since I wasn't on hold for more than 30 seconds. Until the damn CSR actually came on the phone.

#1. I realize you probably get a number of irate customers on the phone that you feel the need to talk "down" off the ledge. Been there myself. However, if I DON'T sound like I'm about to climb on top of the belltower, please refrain from speaking to me like I'm a five year old. I don't need to be praised for providing you with my birthdate. Unless I'm getting a cookie, it's a bit demeaning.

#2. When I tell you my problem is that my account isn't recognizing my screenname, telling me to log on using the "I forgot my password" which then prompts me to enter my (unrecognized) screename ISN'T GOING TO HELP. That's why I'm calling you and dealing with being talked to like a five year old, dumbfuck.

#3. Asking me what my problem is, then verifying my personal information is fine. As long as right after you verify my personal information you don't ask me what you can help me with. I JUST TOLD YOU WHAT MY PROBLEM IS! Don't ask me goddamn questions if you're not going to bother listening to the answers! (This guy actually asked me what the problem was no longer than 30 seconds after I had spent 5 minutes explaining the problem. It was like the whole previous 5 minutes never fucking happened. I will worship the inventor of the web deliverable bitchslap)

#4. When it's obvious the customer would like to get off the phone (which tends to happen after they've been talked to like they're in preschool for the past 10 minutes) don't keep them on the line while reading from your written-by-a-mangager-who's-never-actually-SPOKEN-to-a-customer script. When I begin answering your 50 "are you SURE I helped you with everything you need?" questions with extremely curt "yeah, it's been great, thanks" responses, spending the next 5 minutes pimping how very HAPPY Netscape is to help their customers is going to do nothing but piss me off. I'm THRILLED Netscape gets a boner from helping their customers. However, I'd rather not be stuck on the phone hearing about it for 5 minutes.

Argh!

I feel much better. Thank you for listening, and good night.

wonky
03-28-2004, 05:13 PM
I was talking to a CSR for Netscape yesterday.

Oh, internet calls are the worst. I was calling our ISP at work because we couldn't connect. While on hold, it gave me a tutorial that went something like this (imagine this said is a faux soothing voice):

"If you are unable to connect to the internet, make sure you have a program that is capable of connecting to the internet. Do you have Internet Explorer? Look on your desktop for a BIG. BLUE. EEEE. Click on the BIG. BLUE. EEEE."

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