On hid­den ex­ec­u­tives and call-cen­tre par­rots

Consumer Voice - - Editor's Voice - Padma Editor

I needed to change my mo­bile con­nec­tion’s plan and spent about half an hour try­ing to fig­ure out if it was pos­si­ble to do that online, on the ser­vice provider’s web­site. Fi­nally when I found the op­tion, it was a three-step method. That too would be okay – just that it took over a month for that three-step method to ma­te­ri­al­ize.

Any­way, I fol­lowed the three-step method, post which I was sup­posed to get a con­fir­ma­tion mes­sage as well as a call from the com­pany within a day. Nei­ther of the two hap­pened. This be­ing a low-pri­or­ity task slipped out of my mind too. Some­where I be­lieved that the re­quest had been taken and the plan would be­gin from the next billing cy­cle.

A month went by and the same bill reached me again. I re­al­ized that both the com­pany and I had made a mis­take. They did not call to con­firm and I did not call to com­plain. So, I de­cided to call the cus­tomer care on its three-digit num­ber and ex­pe­ri­enced the or­deal of the av­er­age not-re­ally-aware cus­tomer (for whom the ex­ec­u­tive is a madam or a sir) call­ing the tele­com call cen­tre.

I hope some­body from their of­fice reads this.

An­noy­ing El­e­ment 1

The three-digit num­ber takes you to the in­ter­ac­tive voice re­sponse (IVR) menu that starts with the com­pany’s pro­mo­tional record­ing try­ing to sell you an ad­di­tional ser­vice. This is es­pe­cially ir­ri­tat­ing for those who are call­ing to com­plain about the ser­vice. A new ser­vice is the last thing on the com­plainant’s mind.

An­noy­ing El­e­ment 2

You sim­ply can­not reach the cus­tomer care ex­ec­u­tive un­less you have Googled, es­pe­cially if you are an ex­ist­ing sub­scriber. I kept fid­dling with all pos­si­ble op­tions in their IVR menu, but those were pre-recorded mes­sages with no op­tion to reach an ex­ec­u­tive. Fi­nally, when I Googled, I re­al­ized that the best op­tion to reach the ex­ec­u­tive was to choose the ‘I am not an ex­ist­ing cus­tomer’ op­tion and then the ‘in­ter­ested in sub­scrib­ing’ op­tion. That takes you to the sales ex­ec­u­tive pronto.

An­noy­ing El­e­ment 3

Once you have found the ex­ec­u­tive and heard his me­chan­i­cal greet­ings, you have to find the su­per­vi­sor/man­ager. Yes, in case you do not have rou­tine/oft-re­peated ques­tions, you will have to speak to some­body who is marginally more sen­si­ble and has some au­thor­ity. The ex­ec­u­tives who gen­er­ally are the first con­tact point are more like par­rots. For ex­am­ple, if you ask them about ex­act pro­ce­dure of plan change, they’ll re­peat what’s al­ready there on the web­site. How­ever, if you have any ad­di­tional query – as in ‘what if I do not get a call back’ – they will have no an­swer.

An­noy­ing El­e­ment 4

They will never re­mem­ber you or your com­plaint. So, if you call up for a fol­low-up on a com­plaint, you have to re­peat the en­tire story again, whether or not you have a ref­er­ence num­ber from your pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tion.

Com­pa­nies can jus­tify some of these is­sues cit­ing var­i­ous chal­lenges. How­ever, these may not go down well with cus­tomers. I be­lieve any ex­ec­u­tive re­spon­si­ble for at­tend­ing to cus­tomers’ call on be­half of a com­pany rep­re­sents the com­pany’s at­ti­tude to­wards their cus­tomers. So, when I faced an ap­a­thetic ex­ec­u­tive, I re­al­ized I had made a bad choice.

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