What planet are most customer support managers on?

I sit near customer support where I work, and I spend all day listening to people badgering customers for call reference numbers, licence numbers, serial numbers, and other trivia.

I’ve just wasted 90 minutes of my life speaking with Sky’s customer support who were polite, full of corporate doublespeak, and totally useless.

When a customer phones up with a problem, he doesn’t care what is licence number or viewing card number is.  He certainly doesn’t want bullshit about how the Sky satellite decoder is made by a third party who make crappy unreliable electronics and should have paid £70 a year for a service contract.

I don’t want to spend 45 minutes on hold before I speak to someone.  I don’t want an IVR system.  I want a person.  Someone who speaks English passably for preference, but I work in such a multi-cultural world that it’s no challenge to deal with someone who has English as their seventh language.  I can’t passably function in any other language – and I’d learn another language if I could figure out whether Mandarin or Malayalam would be more use.

I don’t want to speak to someone who repeats everything I’ve said.  It’s not polite.  It’s not helpful.  It just gives me time to think of sarcastic come-backs.

How would you like if it I repeated everything you said back to you in a normal conversation?

So you think it’s stupid to repeat everything you just said?

Please. throw out the corporate bullshit.  I’ve worked on the other side of this particular fence.  I’ve run a (small) call centre.  I’ve faced high level customers spending hundreds of thousands of pounds who aren’t happy.  Don’t think your two days of call centre training can fob me off.   I know all the excuses.

“High call volume” is a emphemism for “too few staff on tonight”.  “We’re sorry for the inconvenience” is a sop to stupid people.  If you were actually sorry, it would be “I’m sorry, and I’d like to arrange for a credit for your account by way of apology”.   And if you can’t answer my call, don’t insult me by telling me how valuable it is.  If it was actually valuable (i.e., revenue generating), you’d be a hell of a lot quicker to answer.

Just answer the phone by the fourth ring with a real human being.  And then transfer me in one go, with no waiting, to someone who has the skills to help me.  You’ve got my phone number from the IVR, so don’t ask me for it, or my name, or my mother’s inside leg measurement.  You know all that.  Stop messing me around and help me.  It’s what I expect when I’m paying for a service that isn’t being delivered.

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