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Call Center Agents


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#1 corneto_20

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:11 AM

Hi Guys,

Just want to hear from your point of views "Is working in a call center and to be a customer service agent really hard?"
I will give you one scenario:
a) most of the customers are buying things and not even reading what they are buying, not reading instructions and when they are messed up they call and blaming it to the agent... giving them bad surveys ending up losing their job...

Thanks . . .

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#2 Ted Striker

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:36 AM

I've previously worked in 2 call centers. While I didn't find the jobs hard, I quickly realized (not so quickly at my first call center job) that the processes that were put in place and the overall organizational structure made providing good service impossible.

In your scenario, it appears that the company should have identified a problem with the way they present information, since people keep calling in to complain. They should focus on better educating their customers by providing easy to understand instructions that's not written in small print.

Going back to what I mentioned in my first paragraph (and I'll try to be brief... I could write a book about this... lol), in a large company, most manager's, process analysts, business specialists, director's...etc, are primarily interested in showing their boss that, 1) they're doing a good job and 2)They are continuously improving their own stats.

In your scenario, here's what I think might be going on behind the scenes based on what I've experienced.

Employee #100 continues to receive calls from customers who are upset because they don't know how to use the product, or they bought the product thinking that it has another use. Now they're upset because they can't use the product the way they thought they could and they feel you have mislead them. #100 has a good understanding of the product and clearly explains what the product is used for and how it should be used. Many customers are still not satisfied and feel frustrated and ripped off and leave a negative review for #100.

#100's manager has 10 employees on his team and ranks 6th out of the 10 manager's in his department. His boss is putting pressure on all manager's to improve their numbers. In the last quarter, #100 has the most negative reviews on his team and this is bringing down the manager's overall stats. Although, after reviewing #100's calls, the manager knows that #100 is a good employee, he also knows that he has to present his own manager an action plan on how he will improve his stats. He fires #100 and maybe one or two other employees on his team who have poor stats in the last quarter.

Clearly, this accomplishes nothing. Customers are still going to keep calling in because they're angry. #100 lost his job for no good reason and next quarter there will be more terminations because of the same thing. But the manager has looked out for #1 and "sent a message" to everyone else on his team that poor stats will not be tolerated.

Even if employees have informed their manager's that the problem lies with poor instructions and/or documentation presentation, it doesn't matter because that's an issue for the process analyst or business specialist. The manager is only concerned about his stats and these numbers are often derived mainly from the performance statistics of the employees on his team.

Similarly, the director's performance is obtained from the overall statistics of the managers on his team. In large corporations, making a simple change often takes months because the change has to be reviewed and approved by several different departments.

So much for keeping it brief... but I think this shows one reason why calling in to call centers is a nightmare. It's not that the employees are stupid, it's that they're not there to actually help you. They're also often looking out for #1 and they do this by following their own protocol by the letter even if it means they know they're not helping you.

Edited by Ted Striker, 16 April 2011 - 10:39 AM.


#3 corneto_20

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 10:54 AM

Got your point Ted Striker and thank you for that. I will keep that in mind.

However, let us say, everything has been designed very simple and still most of the customers are not reading it and they are just "lazy to read it" even the "Terms of Service" are always left behind to read (if you want to buy something, this should be the first thing that you should read). Everything has been provided but still and I quote that there are still people who are really "LAZY" to read and ending up blaming the agent (note: agent has been doing good and trying to please the customer) and the customer still gives a bad review/score. Mind you call centers area based on figures in term of how they will rate your performace and that is the scores given by the customers.( The frustrations of the customer are being blamed to the agents instead to the company/products even the agent is doing it right)...

Hope to hear your point of views on this one...

Cornteto_20

#4 Rick Adams

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:04 AM

From the outside looking in, it would seem to me it depends on the personality of the person. I believe the best agents are those able to talk to angry, even abusive people and refrain from getting defensive and confrontational, instead maintaining the "customer is always right" attitude and continue attempting to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of customer. For some people that may be easy but I'd guess for most, it can be quite challenging.
After reading Ted's post it very well may be that regardless of a persons ability to perform this sort of job, if the company does not have a good process in place to review an employees performance, it may all boil down to the ability of one's manager.


My 2

#5 corneto_20

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 11:21 AM

Thanks for your reply Rick Adams. Thank you also for bringing up the greatest quote " customers are always right".

I may need to ask you something and hope you will also reply on this.

When can a wrong be right where in the customer was wrong (keep in mind that the agent was doing the great job explaining everthing and what went wrong). I keep on thinking, could this quote was made just to make sure the customers feeling be satisfied and get the profit out of it ( profit to the company) even if they are terminating a person's job where in this job is lies the financial needs or we don't know how this person really needs this job.

Hope I got a reply on this...

Corneto_20

#6 Ted Striker

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 01:20 PM

However, let us say, everything has been designed very simple and still most of the customers are not reading it and they are just "lazy to read it" even the "Terms of Service" are always left behind to read (if you want to buy something, this should be the first thing that you should read). Everything has been provided but still and I quote that there are still people who are really "LAZY" to read and ending up blaming the agent (note: agent has been doing good and trying to please the customer) and the customer still gives a bad review/score.


It's hard to say what the problem is without knowing the details, but if there is a significant amount of customers who are confused or don't understand how the product works or what its intended use is, then the company has to make some changes.

Perhaps in addition to the instructions and TOS, they can include a quick guide that clearly explains what the product is supposed to be used for and how it works. This can even be in point form and, at the end of each point, it can reference the instructions and provide page numbers where customers can find more info.

It's just easier for the company to make a change rather than expect their customers to change. They should keep track of these complaints and find out exactly what is causing the problem and then correct it.

#7 corneto_20

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:27 PM

Even there are changes that have been done, there are still a lot of people who don't read and it is fact.

#8 strolln

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:59 PM

Many people feel that if they need to read instructions to figure out how to use something then it is poorly designed. Other people have trouble reading something and comprehending it without struggling. Frustration often leads to anger.
To Err is human; to really foul things up requires a Bleeping Computer!

#9 corneto_20

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:43 AM

TOS are sometimes hard to understand. It could have a double meaning if not read carefully and if it is not read carefully, you may end up in dismay.




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