Sunday, July 10, 2011

How may I help you?

The do's and don'ts with phone reps.

I work as a phone service rep. And I DO like my job. There is never a dull moment in working on the phone, as each call is an adventure, and at least with my phone center job almost all calls are different. All of my previous jobs have been in retail, so I am conditioned in working with the public. And so because of my experience, I would like to offer some tips in dealing with a phone rep, especially if you have a problem.

  1. Be courteous, and patient. I know this may seem almost redundant in asking, but it is number 1 for a reason. I can't help you, if you are yelling at me about something I have not been able to research, and don't have the background information about. Give me time, because the more you are willing to let me do my job the more I will be willing to find the solution you desire. If you keep yelling, I usually will try to get off the phone as quickly as possible, it brings me down, and I don't respond well to anger.
  2. Don't make fun of my name. It is rude, plain and simple. I have had people ask me why my parents would name me that? I have had numerous people say "You're Georgia?, my name is Alabama!" And then laugh hysterically because they think it is the funniest thing in the whole world. I can't make fun of your name because I would get fired, but I also don't feel overly helpful when you start the conversation off like that.
  3. PLEASE don't go the bathroom while we are talking. It is gross, and very apparent. No one would walk into a store and start asking a clerk a question and then proceed to pull down their pants and start to pee. I know the sound, hell everyone knows the sound...and it is 10 times worse with guys because it is very LOUD. So please wait to call, or wait until we're done talking.
  4. If you are calling into a place you have worked before, don't name drop, and don't tell me 16 times that "it wasn't like that when I worked there". Policies change, times change, people quit and move on. I want to help you, but you threatening to tell the CEO that you don't like the new way of doing things is not going to help you, and besides I am not responsible for making the rules, but I do have to follow them. Similarly if we ask to verify you, it is not to annoy you, but to protect you. People complain about identity theft but don't like to take the 2 minutes to confirm themselves during a call.
  5. If you have kids I know that sometimes they pick the most inopportune times to ask you questions, but please for the sake of my ears, don't start screaming at them. It hurts!
  6. If you are calling me, try not to have three other conversations going at the same time, it is confusing, and makes the call last far longer than it needs to. Be in the moment fully.
  7. Turn your TV down.
  8. If you name has a common spelling, but you have a special way of saying don't get mad at me because I get it wrong. I am not trying to be rude, but there is no way for me to know that your name is pronounced a different way. Correct me, and move on.
  9. Be reasonable in your expectations. Some things require additional research, and not everything can be resolved in one phone call. Let me help you.
  10. I will end as I started be courteous and patient. All calls can start off on the right foot by following that one simple rule. I am more willing to work around you yelling at your kids and peeing in the toilet if you maintain your attitude in this way.
So there is a list of my do's and don'ts. I will say that I know it is frustrating to have a phone rep that is rude, and condescending and believe me I totally understand when that happens why people ask for a supervisor. I also know that some phone reps don't follow through with their promises, and I know that gives us a bad name. But I think it is key to remember that the person you are talking to (even if they are in a foreign call center) is a human, and that being abused by someone over the phone makes anyone feel down. So this is a great example of pay it forward, be nice to me, so I can make the call just as nice for the next person who calls in.


Corinne Rodrigues said...

Hi Georgia - Having worked as a trainer at an international call center here in India, I've heard people say the rudest and most racial things to the staff - who were trained sufficiently to be polite and have a neutral accent. It's sad when people pick on the staff personally when it's things like company policy they may be mad at! Great post! I'm sharing it.

Mama Pants said...

I would be honored....! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I worked at a call center for awhile, and these rules are good ones. But there do need to be rules for telemarketers. They are so rude.

Anonymous said...

Georgia, what a wonderful post! I'm glad to hear things from your end, instead of the client's! I can't believe you've been privy to this uncouth behavior! Oh my goodness! I don't know how you do it! Kudos to you for doing so, and for sharing with us these great tips that I'm certain will make future calls more successful! :)