Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis

Customer Service

My brother starts a new job today doing telephone support. I've always been fascinated by those people who answer phones and fix stuff. What is it like on the other side? What don't I know that I should?

The obvious part, since people rarely call a customer support line to offer up excellent news or thanksgiving - being the target of rage and frustration and rudeness, I can actually imagine.

It's the nuances I've always wondered about. How far off the script is allowed? I know this call is being recorded but is it being timed? Are you allowed/encouraged to spend more or less time with me? Do you get a bonus for every time you say my name?

How much of my activity at your company can you see online? Is there a personality profile of me? Can you spit in my online soup? Would you if you could?

I just had to call CitiBank. Their telephone tree is fairly painless and you get to a person quickly. But that person does not have a great telephone line and is not a native English speaker. So it's both hard to understand and hard to hear.

I needed a replacement for a lost debit card. The guy told me he would be freezing my accounts for the 5-7 business days it will take him to get me a new card. No No No and no. When he agreed he would not freeze my accounts and so I would not get a new card, I said fine, thanked him and hung up.

I called right back. The next person asked for a lot of personal ID info that the first guy did not, which was interesting. She said I'd get the new card in 5-7 business days. I asked about freezing my account and she said yes and I said no. She quickly countered with if she put a temporary hold on the card, it would not affect the account in any way and then, when I got the new one, I could just have the old one declared lost and the new one activated and all would be fine. See? How easy was that? Thank you Second Person.

I wonder if she saw my conversation with First Person.

I used to get massively stressed by having to call an support line. I still mostly opt to chat instead of call. But a few years ago I had a intervention with myself over the whole thing. I was making everyone miserable - the poor support people who answered my calls and me... arugh.

Now, I have a pre-call checklist. What if the call does not go as I wish? What will I accept as Plan B? The person on the other end has way more problems and issues to deal with than I do, but there is a job to do so my job is to help them help me. Ask my question and shut up. Answer their questions simply. If it's going way south, just politely thank them and hang up. Worst case "I'm sorry, I have to hang up. I'll call back another time." Then call back.

It has, for the most part, taken the pain out of the calls for me. But my online soup may be full of spit. I have no way of knowing.
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