if you have a cell phone service, a dsl service at home or a telephone landline in the philippines, then you have experienced this for sure. it is an experience we all have when something goes wrong with any of these services. and one more thing, it is never a happy experience.
1. “I’ll just put you on hold for 1 to 2 minutes” - that can be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. never once did i wait for just 1 to 2 minutes when i am put on hold.
2. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience” - saying “sorry” is just lip service. if they are truly sorry then they would ask their management to fix things and get things done faster.
3. “I do understand your concern…” - this is a hit and miss thing. you will be lucky if the call center agent dealing with you really know your concern. this is one of those lines the call center agent say just to pacify you or make an attempt to make you feel better.why do they use this line when it really does not work?
4. “I’m sorry, my supervisor is not available now and is attending to another customer.” - you did follow the procedure by talking to the call center agent, the first line of defense by your service provider. but after some minutes of dealing with the the agent. being patient or checking your anger you give up and ask to speak to the supervisor. the customer asking for the supervisor is something the call center agent does not like. she is supposed to fix your concern and for the customer asking for the supervisor means she has failed in her job to satisfy the customer. the customer asking to speak to the supervisor is a point against the call center agent. that is the reason why every call center agent in the philippines says this lie. it is an attempt to dissuade the customer from doing that.
we have dealt with call centers of US companies, like several banks. online stores and tech companies, we never experience this with them. ask for the supervisor and the supervisor talks to you in a few seconds if not immediately. it is strange that the call center companies that service US companies are able to do this and yet those servicing philippine companies are not while both are manned by filipinos and are based in the philippines.
5. “I will call you back.” - after some excruciating minutes, your problems with the service has been fully understood and recorded. they know admit something is wrong with their service and that the customer needs relief and action. the call center agent says this to make you feel better, to give the impression that they are there to fix things for you, that they want you to be a happy customer. but they never call back to tell you if the problem has been fixed or not fixed.
often i will ask the call center agent exactly what she/he will do and what will be said when they call back. i ask that several times just to be clear. i also ask them what time will they call back. they will of course not be precise as to what time they will call within the day which is a ridiculous time frame. it’s weird that call center agents think you will actually wait the whole day for their call.
you push and they relent and give a time frame instead – anywhere from within 3 to 6 hours. you push and ask for a shorter time frame. the most you can get is within 2 to 3 hours.
but do they call back? never! again we have not dealt with a call center agent who calls back as promised.
6. “My name is…” – often i find that that names call center agents give of themselves are not their real name and not the name they use when they are on duty. they do this to keep you off track when you call back and complain about the service you get from call center agents.
i know that as i do call back to complain about call center agents who do bad in their handling of customers. i find out they gave you the wrong name as the person i am talking to will usually say they do not have call center agents by that name. worst, i ask the person i am talking to what is the name of the call center agent who entertained my call based on their record and they say a different name.
7. “My ID number is…” – one of the other things i do is ask for their ID numbers aside from the names of the call center agents i deal with. the ID number is in many ways a better info than their names. but of course you really can’t be sure that is their ID number. they give you this lie for the same reason they lie about their names.
8. “I will do this myslf…” – this is supposed the ace in the conversation with a call center agent. this is meant to reassure you that something will be done to fix the problem you had called them for. they are saying here that they will not just make a report and wait for someone to fix your problems but they will take action themselves. don’t believe this, it ain’t gonna happen.
this is a really sad affair not only for these telco companies but for the philippine call center industry as a whole. the philippine BPO industry is supposed to tbe the leader in the world and wants to not only maintain that status but grow it even bigger and faster but behavior like this, the lies that say to customers is not going to get them there.
the other despicable thing about this is that this happens a lot with call centers of telcos like Globe and PLDT (DSL). these are communication companies and yet these examples show they are bad communicators. the worst kind of communication are the ones that lie to customers.
i say it again, why is that filipino call centers handling philippine companies behave so differently and so badly compared to filipino call centers handling US companies? aren’t they the same company and son’t they follow the same metrics of performance and philosophy?
why this is happening is the next topic in this blog.
this is in relation to the the nokia C3 product problems we have elevated to the nokia care center.
we had called the nokia care center a few days ago. we called again yesterday to follow up. when the call center agent talked to us, we promptly gave the reference number we had for the case. after a few seconds, to give time for the computer of call center agent to have our record appear on his computer monitor, we told him why we called:
me : i called a few days ago and the agent told me she will call me up gain during that day to let me know status of my request. she did not call back then and i have not received a call since then, for 3 days now.
nokia care center agent: sir, nobody called you yet about it?
me : yes, nobody has called me and i want to know the status.
nokia care center agent : did anyone call you , sir?
me: no, nobody has called me yet.
nokia care center agent : sir, nobody has told you the status for your case?
me: wait a minute – look i have already told you nobody has called me about it yet. you have asked me the same question in 3 versions already, i will give you the same answer. please do not ask me the same question in a 4th version .
listen to me – nobody has called me since i first called to tell me what the status of the case is. let’s move on and tell me what the status is.
i did not understand why the call center agent asked me the same question in 3 versions. i had to stop him after the 3rd time as i felt he was preparing to ask me the same thing in a 4th version. what was the point of it? did he think i will change my answer if he asked me again? 3 stupid questions in a single call!
the net effect of asking the same question in 3 versions is only to lengthen the conversation. asking the same 3 times will not give the call center agent any other information nor make his understanding of it better but it will only annoy the customer.
we are starting a new series in this blogs on stupid things heard at philipine call centers. it’s a good time to star this series as we read in the news the philippines has overtaken india as the call center of the world.
Stupid Thing #1:
just recently, i forgot my credit card in a makati restuarant. i found out my credit card wasn’t with me in the evening while i used the credit card during lunch. we immediately called the BPI credit card call center (89-100) to ask if there are unauthorized charges made on my credit card and to cancel the credit card to block any unauthorized charges.
a male call center agent answered my call. first thing i told the agent was i had forgotten my credit card in a restaurant and i want to know if charges were made and i want the card cancelled.
first question asked by the call center agent : “sir, what is the credit card number of your card?”
my reply: ”er, i lost my credit card, i don’t have it with me – how will i know my credit card number?”
grrrrrrr. i thought that was a really stupid question to ask.