Call centres are definitely part of customer experience

What you need to know:

  • The phone is picked and I am met with this heavy accent, wrong comprehension and pronunciation of words.

Recently I contacted the call centre of one of our service providers because we had not been receiving bills for a while.

So, I decided to call and ask what our bill was so that we could pay up.

Armed with all details of account number, last bill paid and any other information, I dial the Call Centre of this institution.

The phone is picked and I am met with this heavy accent, wrong comprehension and pronunciation of words.

I am so shocked that I have to double check again if indeed I have called the right service provider.

Fast forward I informed the staff that I wanted to know what our outstanding bill was so that I could get it cleared.

We then get into about a five-minute phase of Uhm, ahhh, let me see, just hold on a little …then boom I am informed that we actually don’t owe any money but rather the company had our money!

A miracle indeed!

We had not paid for two months, yet had been using the service and then we have a credit balance on our account-sweet.

These miracles are rare.  

I asked her to double check...…let us just say she was not amused and said so in not so few words. 

A Call Centre could be a first point of contact and will create a perception about your business or organization. It is important that staff are well equipped with knowledge, have tools to work well and remain very professional.

In another incident, I sent Mobile Money to a wrong recipient but  reversed it using the self-help methods provided.

However, the human nature in me almost wanted confirmation from a fellow human that all was well. I quickly dialed their Call Centre number to report my issue.

I was greeted by name; the call agent could see the reversal I had made and told me it would take a day to reflect back on my account.

A very smooth and quick call I would say, which gave me confidence and credibility of the company.

A friend of mine had not been receiving SMS alert messages from her bank and was very concerned about this.

Four trips to two of the bank branches had not yielded results until she called their Call Centre.

The agent took particular care of the case, followed up and gave feedback to the customer at all stages.

When the agent had done all internal checks and confirmed that the bank system was all good, she provided step by step instructions on how my friend needed to check her phone just in case the problem was on her side and indeed, my friend had unknowingly diverted all SMSs from her bank to Spam.

They both celebrated when this issue was finally resolved. This agent created a connection with the customer, went an extra mile and saved a potential walk away customer.  

For anyone reading this and working in a Call Centre, I salute you because dealing with frustrated customers every day can be a daunting task and yet it is definitely part of your job. 

I can only imagine what it feels like having to talk about he same thing over and over again yet someone might just fail to get it and yet ensuring that any conversation has a happier ending is paramount.

Call centres are fast paced and customers call non-stop so it is important to recharge but also keep your customers happy. Below are a few ideas to help

•    Collaborate with other peers, because of close proximity, celebrate, have little minutes of fun.

•    Take a break and breathe.

•    Fake it till you make it, use your script, listen to other agents, take notes and learn all your products.

•    When you solve a difficult case, celebrate the feeling.

•    Keep your cool even when the customer’s world seems like it’s falling apart. 

•    Smile, the brain doesn’t know if you are faking it or not and the customer can feel it. It is a win-win.

•    Go above and beyond for customers- like I am going to come over to your house and teach you how to switch your phone on and off (tongue in cheek).

•    Use customer names or any other information to make customers feel special.

•    Listen to your customers. Your 100th customer of the day telling you about the same issues should get the same attention like the 1st.

•    Keep your promise.

•    Teach your customers how to solve simple problems.

•    Focus on solutions and not blame the customer or even your company.

•    Ensure effective communication at all times by returning calls, emails, WhatsApp, tweets in good time.

•    Be fully available for your customer and always ask if there is anything else they would like.

Technology is giving customers lots of options with virtual assistants like Siri, Bixby, Alexa, Abby and many others.

However, human interaction still remains a key aspect of a satisfied customer.  When they are smiling just before they hang up, you will have done an awesome job.

Babra Mehangye Kahima,  Customer Experience Enthusiast