Posted on 06-09-2010
We’ve all been there – the long hold times, the constant transferring to other departments, the useless ticket numbers, and those awkward times when all you hear is heavy breathing on the other line as the ‘system processes your request’. Having read this post on the frustrations when dealing with call centers, I decided to share what I believe are the “10 commandments of call centers”.
The 10 commandments of call centers
1. Phone numbers are for wimps
The new craze is to use your company name instead of a support phone number. So a support number will now read as 800-SUPPORT rather than an actual number. I had an annoying time trying to dial 800-BANK to find out that it was spelt 800-BANQUE.
2. Always give the customer plenty of menu choices.
Dial 1 for Arabic, 2 for English, 3 for Swahli, 4 for Klingon, and 5 for Morse code. Nothing satisfies a customer than having to hear a long list of options only to find out that the option they want isn’t on the menu they’ve selected. Also, it’s a good idea to make the most requested option the last one on the menu list.
3. Be wise when selecting your on-hold music
Nothing is soother to listen to than your corporate garbage or Kenny G stuck in an infinite loop. At least with Kenny G you can visualize yourself sitting at a Starbucks with a nice coffee. And if you really want to appear ‘hip and trendy’ to your callers, just use one of the local radio stations as your on-hold music. After all, who wouldn’t want to call up to listen to annoying hyperactive douchebag at the radio station from hell?
4. The customer’s name is not important
When you ask for the customer’s name, make sure you write it down. Then, remove the third letter and replace it with K. Swap around at least two of the vowels, and add a T or F in the middle. If unfortunately you did not attend high school or have passed any grade of English spelling, feel free to play around with the letters until you come up with something that is 2% similar to the customer’s name. “Hi there – this is Alex” “Hello mister Lexy!”
5. Always ask for something you know the customer won’t have
A great technique for quickly disposing of a caller is to ask them for information that they will never possess, such as their complete 20 digit account number, their white blood cell count, or what they ate for lunch three weeks ago. If by some miracle a customer is able to provide you with all the necessary information, replace one of the digits and alert the customer that the information they’re providing is incorrect.
6. Never underestimate the joy of outsourcing
Thanks to today’s falling labor prices, companies are able to direct all their customer support to offshore sites. It isn’t at all a requirement for the customer support to be in the same location or time zone as the customer, so when a customer calls and you’ve just started the graveyard shift, feel free to act irritated and uninterested until you get your dose of caffeine.
7. Repetition is the key
If a customer says “What?”, make sure you repeat at least the last three sentences over to them, preferably in a slow, monotone voice that you would use when trying to negotiate with a charging rhino.
8. Customers love to get ticket numbers
If a customer won’t stop talking and it’s getting close to your lunch break, give them a ticket number. Ticket numbers are great for giving customers false hope that their problem has been put into a ‘queue’ for resolution.
9. Don’t let a customer scream at you
If a customer gets angry, put them on hold. There is nothing more soothing than some quality time with Kenny G.
10. Offer to be helpful at all times
Even if you haven’t solved the customer’s problem, thank them for calling you and ask if there is anything else you can help with. When customers hear this, they will feel appreciated and will certainly call again to report a problem.