How to Contact a Call Centre without Losing Your Mind
An ex call centre worker explains the restrictions call centres face and what you can do to stop yourself from bashing your head against a wall.
So you need to call a call centre. Whether you’re paying a bill, setting up a new service or, God forbid, trying to resolve a problem, you’re going to need to devote time to navigating a minefield of automated lists and anger. It sucks. You know it, I know it, that person on the other end of the line knows it. As an ex call centre employee, let me fill you in on the best ways to get what you want from your call.
The person on the other end of the line is just that: A PERSON
Look, I know how it is. Something’s got messed up, your service has gone wrong or you’re being charged for something you don’t have or need. Taking out your frustration on the person who answers your call just isn’t going to help. That person takes abuse all day, sadly, and if you’re going to add to that they will just shut down or, if you’re really bad, cut the call off. They just want to talk to a sane person. If you’re polite, they will help you. You catch more flies with honey, etc.
Know exactly what you want from them
It’s no good calling up and then going on an aeon-long ramble about what you want. It’s annoying and it doesn’t help the employee help you. Instead, make your request short, concise and to the point. Also, related to number one up there, be polite about it. ‘Could you please look into these charges?’ will net better results than ‘YOU $^&*!*£% TOOK MY MONEY!’ Obvious, but true.
Make sure you’ve read the fine print
You may well have read that and thought, ‘Yeah, I don’t have time for that.’ Quite frankly, you should make time. I often received calls telling me what a heartless cow I was because they couldn’t receive a service because it wasn’t in their contract. Their problems could have been resolved before they’d occurred if they’d simply read their contracts. Do this as soon as you receive them, as you often have a 14 day period to resolve things like this.
That employee is restricted in what they can do
It’s true, sadly. If you follow the above steps, they will of course try and help you out, but they cannot bend the rules or make exceptions for you. You know how you hear that spiel that says ‘calls may be recorded’ when you ring up? Calls are ALWAYS recorded. They can’t get away with doing you a deal or a favour, because they’re always being monitored, plus the computer systems they use greatly restrict what they can do.
Don’t be offended by the upsell
If you’ve called to buy something (insurance, mobile contract, etc.), you may well be asked if you want to buy breakdown cover, or insurance, or some other extra. Yeah, it’s annoying but you don’t have to have it. The fact is, the employee is following a script, and gets disciplined rather harshly if they don’t offer the upsells at the end of the call. All you have to do is decline politely. Obviously, if they try to push it, be firm but do not be browbeaten into buying something you don’t want.
If you’re still not satisfied, try to speak to management
This may not always work. Where I worked, it was severely frowned upon to get a supervisor involved, despite the fact they often had the power to resolve the issue. If you can’t get them, then investigate whether they have a complaints department. They usually do, and contacting them either via phone or letter can help escalate your issue until it’s resolved. Just don’t expect to eventually get the CEO on the line by ranting and raving.
I know I’ve already covered this, but it’s so important it needs mentioning again. Yes, you may be so hacked off you want to rip someone’s head off, but that person on the other end of the line is not responsible for your problem. Just be reasonable. Don’t accuse that person directly of messing things up. Finally, if they do resolve things for you, thank them! They receive praise so rarely you’ll probably make their day.