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Jenny Eaton

A Bug's Life

When Call Centres Really Annoy You

Posted on: 31/05/2012   By: Jenny Eaton

We've all experienced it haven't we; you call up the Customer Services helpline and when you've not got the right information you have to hang up, find it and then call them back. You never get the same person twice and end up repeating your story ...

have you ever felt like screaming when you're on the phone to a call centre?

have you ever felt like screaming when you're on the phone to a call centre?

Well, last week I spent the best part of two days dealing with one issue. I must have spoken with three different people in Customer Services before I had all the information to hand and they could begin entering it all on their system. When the last adviser took the time to listen to me and understand the situation, we discovered the others had been over complicating the issue.

Frustratingly this meant that the hours I had spent tracking down all the information had been unnecessary, as I had most of the information to hand when I made the first phone call!! And I have to confess I have been ranting about this to anyone who will listen because it really bugged me.

So it got me thinking - what are the worst things you can do or phrases you can say to a customer? For me, I think the top 5 are: -

  1. That's our policy - As a customer I get really frustrated by this. Usually I'm ringing because I have a problem, I'm not in the habit of ringing a company up when things are going well (although maybe I should)! What I really want is someone to be helpful, and in my experience the "Policy" usually isn't.
  2. There's nothing I can do - Now I am a reasonable person and I fully understand that there are times when a decision is above someone's pay grade. But I cannot abide it when someone says this to me. I would much prefer to be told that someone will call me back or that they'll look into it.
  3. Hold on or worse still "Would you mind holding?" - Of course I mind holding, my time is very precious. However if you need to talk to a colleague please just tell me that's what you are going to do.
  4. All the information can be found on our website - I can feel my hackles rising already, and I'm just typing it!! If I wanted to deal with this via the web, I would have done - I've come on the phone to talk to someone!! Sometimes I feel like saying "Ok then, why don't you look it up on the web and then tell me what I should do next!"
  5. That's the manufacturer's responsibility - really, is it? It doesn't bother me which company takes the full responsibility but I do expect to deal with the person I bought it from! I'd probably take it slightly better if they suggested another number for me to call to discuss the issue.

Now as someone who works in a contact centre, I do understand why these phrases crop up. Some of our clients have a policy of not passing out their mobile numbers. Obviously I don't have responsibility and I can't make decisions. And if you are ringing up for technical support or detailed information regarding a product or service I probably don't have the information required.

But I do try not to say that we have a policy, or that there is nothing I can do. I personally think that if you are a little bit more inventive about the things you say to people when you are unable to help them, you can sound more personable. Taking the time to say something kindly makes you friendly and helpful in the eyes of the customer and that is our aim.

To speak with Jacqui or me about our services please call us on 0845 901 1803!

Until next time ...


More about Jenny Eaton ...

I love playing with words and I have dreamed of being a writer since I was a child. With a romantic idea of scribbling away in a cold attic room with my trusty fountain pen. I have always dabbled, but until now it’s not come to much.

When I started with The Office Genie it was to provide me with a part time income to support my writing. Over time though I have developed into the Marketing Genie on a full time basis. I love it, I get to play with words all day as I try to share the dream and the passion that Jacqui has turned into The Office Genie. My work involves blogging, letter writing, email writing, web copy writing, e-book writing, campaign planning, strategy planning, social media interactions – it’s like I write and talk all day every day, my parent would say it’s the ideal job for me!

My first blog posts were about my day to day life as a Genie but they are growing into sharing my view of the business world. I am passionate about helping small businesses be the best that they can be, standing out from their competition in the small things that come together to give an impression of great service – to find out how we can help you should call me on the number below.


+44 (0) 1604 529170


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