I spent over an hour last week on the phone with call centre operators. Here are my ideas for a successful call to a call centre:
Before you call
Have the right information to get through to someone
While sometimes you can ring without any identifying information, usually if you don’t have your identifying number and/or password you will not be able to speak to anyone about your problem.
Consider how you want the issue resolved
Usually you will know how you want a matter resolved. It can be useful to have thought this through before you call, particularly if you are ringing up with a complaint. For example, I rang up to complain I had been direct debited, after I had rung up twice to cancel it. The company offered a $20 credit which I accepted however, in hindsight I should have pushed for a larger credit.
Think if you have any other questions
Getting asked at the end of the call – “can I help you with anything else?” has thrown me before. If you have more than one question/issue, be prepared so that you can deal with both at once.
During the call
Try to call the right department directly
However, even if you call the wrong department, they can put you through to the right person.
Be polite (where possible)
I believe that being rude or abusive doesn’t get you closer to what you want. I believe that being polite will give you a better chance of getting what you want.
There are operators who are lazy, and those who only want to do the minimum. Be firm about what you want to happen.
Remember that if the person is ineffective, you can call back
There are bad operators out there. Operators who don’t understand what you are asking when they should. If you get someone ineffective, just minimise the phone time with them and call back the next day (however be aware that if the company is small you might get the same person!).
Remember that nobody cares about the problem as much as you
This is your issue, that you need solved. Don’t accept a substitute solution that won’t solve your problem.
Ask to speak to their supervisor
If the operator can’t solve your problem – ask who can. Whether they speak to their supervisor/another department or whether you do, this can really help to get the issue resolved.
Before hanging up
Repeat what has happened
Usually the operator will repeat what they have done but if not, you can do this and then repeat the next steps to be taken.
Call centre operators have to deal with people who are usually not happy. If a call centre operator has fixed your problem, it doesn’t cost you anything to be grateful. Even if they haven’t fixed your problem, you can thank them for trying.
After the call
Get a reference number
I recommend getting a reference number (if appropriate) for the call. Although I have used this number fewer than 2% of the time, it shows that you are serious and expect this call to be actioned. In some instances it might be appropriate to get the person’s name, so you can call them back if the problem hasn’t been resolved.
Check that steps have been taken or call back
Make sure you check that what has been promised is being done, for example, by setting a reminder in your phone for when your next bill comes out. If things haven’t been fixed – call back.