Monday, September 8, 2014

Our Take on Greed Can Kill Call Center Business

I was reading an article on Philippine Star written by Mr. Boo Chanco (twitter @boochanco)entitled “Greed can kill call center business”.  The article was well written, but there is one thing in the article that makes me feel sad, that is most people assume that we are just reading from a script. Our work is so complex, that's the reason why the attrition rate of Call Center Companies is so high. It looks that one of the greatest insult that you can throw to a call center employee is that we are just reading from a script. 

Here’s the story of her daughter via

“… since it was on speaker phone I could hear the customer service rep and could tell she was Filipina based on her accent. Achi (my daughter’s husband) would relay the issue, she would respond and he asked if there was something that could be done… the agent kept repeating the last few phrases she had just said every time Achi would ask or say something.
“I told him, that’s a call center in Manila, she’s reading from a script and doesn’t comprehend what’s going on. He asked for a supervisor and the supervisor was more helpful, but the phone line got disconnected and he didn’t even bother calling back. We called again and couldn’t get a hold of the supervisor.
“So when Achi called again, he got a CSR that I am assuming was based here (US) because of her accent, the way she talked and the way she went above and beyond to help him with the issue. She said she would call Fedex and figure out where the package was, call and email him before she gets off her shift to update him and even follow up with him on Monday. It was a frustrating experience dealing with the Filipino CSRs.”

First, the article was written after Boo received an email from her daughter. His daughter thinks that the employee is just reading a script and can’t comprehend what’s going on. While most American's praise how a Filipino call center employee helped them with their issues here we have a typical crab mentality. Also, it looks like the possible root cause on why the employee can’t understand Achi is because there’s too much occurrence of feedback or echoing due to wrong calibration settings of the speakerphone. 
To the CSR – maybe you are just in training, and it is normal to make mistake during this early stages of your career. Additional training and coaching can help you progress better.

My Experience: Fresh from training, my first call as Tech Support Representative was an irate American customer asking for System EXchange. I'm looking for an L2 or a TL to help me but they were gone in 60 seconds as soon as they saw the trainees approaching them. Shocked and confused on my first call I just told the customer that to qualify for a system exchange or replacement we need to do further troubleshooting. Sensing that I'm a newbie the client said that she would just call later to troubleshoot the system which to my delight I just gave the case number with full smile on my face as the call ended.    

To the Supervisor –  you should set an example to your CSR in this case since the call got “disconnected” you should have called the client back and ensure that you are on top of things. As a supervisor you should set the standards on how to provide an excellent customer service. If you have handled this call properly and called back the client as soon as the call got "disconnected" there would be a different ending.
Though the article have nailed that lower employment standards can eventually kill the call center business in the Philippines it failed to include the necessary point of view of a person who's the front line of the industry. Just like me and other call center employees do you believe that it is insulting for you to hear that we are just reading from a script? Head on to the comments section so that we can discuss. 

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