William Arthur Ward says “It is wize to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.”
How true is that? I don’t know if it is that time of my life for me, or if it is because we are now well and truly in the “Age of Aquarius” or if I am just becoming cranky with old age, but I seem to have lost the ability to have patience with the masses and salespeople in particular.
The level of service in this country (and I suspect all over the world) just seems to be non existent and added to that the use of call centers that may or may not be in this country at all, serves to crank up the crankiness for me. Much of what goes on in a call center is about power – well that is how it comes across, especially when you ask to be put through to a supervisor because the half wit that you are dealing with has about as much brainpower as a paper clip. Getting the run around (come on now we have all been there) because “no-one is available right now” and being given another number and then another number and then the number that you started off with as they shunt you from pillar to post, with no-one actually taking responsibility for what they are doing.
For me on a personal level, solving problems is what I love to do. In fact it could be said that that is what my business is all about – so how then do I deal with the problem, if the problem is the people? For me it is an easy solution – you see in my business I don’t have any staff, probably because I deal with problem people all day long. My clients often have really problem people and there are several ways to deal with those – it is after all what I do. Trying to talk to someone who has more than half a brain cell, in a call center though – now that is a challenge.
How about I give you the solution to that one too. Well what I do is that I document what I have said (whether or not they tell you that the conversation is being taped or not) and I request a reference number and of course, I take down their details. I get the details of the so called supervisor, who is never available and I start sending out e-mails and letters and I keep a record of who I spoke to, the time of day that the conversation took place, the problem that I was trying to resolve, the reference number that they have given me and of course the all important e-mail address of the supervisor. Sooner or later I actually get a call from the supervisor or someone pretending to be a supervisor, and at this point my problem gets resolved.
I have noticed though, that no amount of shouting and screaming at the half dead individual on the other end of the phone, at the call center will help to get the problem resolved, it will just increase my blood pressure and I promise it does not make me feel any better afterwards either. So what’s the point?
Does this mean that all queries or complaints should be handled in this way – of course not. But then life is full of shouldn’ts and won’ts and we just have to find a way to get to the should and can. Documenting it also, in some ways makes me feel better and I also have proof what happened, when it happened and how it happened, when that little tape that they recorded suddenly is missing and for the record, sometimes the getting even is worth the time that it took to write the letter or e-mail in the first place, especially when the apology is backed by a little freebie too.