Friday, 16 July 2010

Call centres

We've had some fun at home over the past few days.  The broadband has been playing up, so BT sent a man round who said the line is damaged outside.  Some workman turn up today and dig a hole and in the process cut through the electric power line.  So 4 vans from the electric company turn up, making a mess of the front garden before fixing it.  BT will be back tomorrow... maybe.

Contacting BT has been a challenge.  Many companies have outsourced customer "support" services to the Indian subcontinent and to be honest, I avoid these companies wherever possible.  I have to be careful here, so as not to be accused of being racist.  It doesn't matter to me where in the world I am put through to, as long as I receive a certain standard of service.  Unfortunately, from bitter experience I find remote centres fail on too many counts.  When will these businesses see that the costs they save are offset by constantly bad service for the customer who will vote with their feet.

Three real experiences...

I called a major fund house for some information and the call went like this:

Me:  "I am looking for a prospectus on your XXXX fund"
Call Centre:  "We don't have a fund called XXXX"

Me:  "It's your best selling fund!"
CC:  "That's right"
Me:  "So you have found the fund now?"
CC:  "XXXX is our best selling fund"
Me:  "I know, I just told you that!  So can you email me the information?"
CC:  "What fund would you like information on?"
Me:  "XXXX fund, like I said"

It was a long call and I received zero information anyway!

National rail enquiries outsourced half of it's calls abroad.  I called a while back before the automated voice recognition system that is far better was introduced:

Me:  "Can you please tell me the next train leaving Victoria for West Malling?"

CC:  "There is no such place as West Malling"
Me:  "I believe there is"   I spelled it out.
CC:  "The computer doesn't recognise such a station"
Me:   I spell it out again.
CC:  "Is it near Manchester"
Me:  "No, it's in Kent'.   Long pause.
CC:  "Oh, you mean Weeeest Mearline"
Me:  "Hmmmm"

And the main reason for this posting was Pete's call with BT today that went something like this:

Pete:  "I want to make a complaint about your telephone workmen cutting off our electric supply and the disruption caused today"

CC:    "You want to move home?"
Pete:  "No, I want speak to someone about making a complaint"
CC:    "You want to move home?"

The call went on for a while with Pete getting nowhere and then asking to speak to someone else. The person repeatedly apologised until promising to get someone else to call him back.  After 3 hours, no-one has.


  1. Sounds like a job for my housemate - he takes no nonsense on the phone!

  2. I hate calling these places. Does me head in. Especially Eastern Europe and India as its such hard working getting your message across.