Firstly a big thanks to the people on this forum for taking part in my thread. And to JoR for posting it on my behalf (please do not refer to my real name).
Wow, I am surprised at the huge jump of responses to this thread, though looking at the responses, I have thought to see how can we produce a way in which a telephone operator can end a call ASAP with an angry and dissatisfied customer who expected THE WORLD for the price of a vehicle insurance policy!
let me clarify a couple of things, firstly my use of the term "idiot" for James C - it was used in this fashion:-
I am a telephone operator who is employed not to speak to one customer for hours on end but employed to speak to 100+ customers a day, and this means when someone says they are happy to "stay on the line" to get a satisfactory response (in their favour) from someone other than the experienced telephone operator, and "hold" for, I don't know, one hour or two of time, to be served by a team leader who will repeat EXACTLY what I have stated as per clients terms and conditions (which 99% of people cannot be bothered to read), well, that is not going to let me hit MY target of 100 clients a day and most certainly wont be beneficial to the clients who are waiting to be served by my colleagues who are now busier than usual.
Please to all of you bare this in mind when you have a problem, the person at the end of the line may supposed to be doing 3 minute phone calls, not 30! Even on the faeces pay we are on, we still take some pride in the number of calls we can do in a day, its literally the ONLY job satisfaction a lowly paid call centre worker can get... Now, i am not saying we don't want to solve problems, if it takes half an hour to resolve a genuine problem, fair enough, if its half an hour of going around in circles, that's another story.
Idiots also include people who think they have to be "told" their insurance will be cancelled because they stopped paying their insurance when they have moved house and swop phone numbers so we could not tell them, without telling us. Idiots who presume they are covered for X,Y and Z in addition to the actual agreement they made, apparently, just because it would be 'convenient' to them...
Also at James C, going around in circles is NOT the result of improperly trained staff, I am talking about customers who think the phone conversation will magically go their way if they just keep on reiterating what they have said. Phenomenal!
Dave, brilliant to see another person here who actually cares for the point of view of front-line staff. All this people on TV who tell the audience to bark as loud as they can at the businesses they are dealing with, simply don't understand the people they are barking at are NOT in any way shape or form the business, they are shouting at staff who get faeces money for very long hours under very crappy circumstances.
@Dave, no, I certainly would not call someone an idiot on the phone, even if they are. I carefully explain things in a matter of fact way and they just don't like what they are hearing when it is not in their favour.
@ Kowlaski who wrote
"The idiot callers and the idiot call centre agents are one and the same. They go to work people call them, they get angry with the people because they can't understand what seems obvious to the call centre worker now that they have done it repeatedly for 5 years, then they go home, their telly doesn't work, they call a call centre and the roles are reversed ..."
NOPE! I CAN be bothered to read my terms and conditions of my insurance policies...
"I think this notion that abuse to the employee should have to be constant before they are allowed to remove themselves from the situation is shameful. The employee has a right to not be abused. I've worked in many industries and the only situation where an abusive customer would remain a customer is if the abuse had been delivered over a telephone into a call centre."
Yes this is shameful. And the sad thing is customers do get to remain customers, yet if I abused other staff members the way I get abused everyday, I wouldn't last long as an employee there...
"When I worked on the phone I would terminate calls at the first point of abuse and I now, as a business manager, encourage that ethos."
I don't suppose you are recruiting? I'm a business graduate LOL...
"If you think this way and try to adapt your communication with this in mind, you will, over time, develop the necessary communication skills to bring all of those calls to a satisfactory and timely solution for all parties."
Not when you are talking to a persistent idiot.
@james C who wrote "And frankly I am tired of having to go to Team Leaders to receive a satisfactory response to a query when I have my "customer" hat on. However, I acknowledge much of the frustrations are borne form a distinct lack of autonomy within larger organisations, and I believe this is a challenge that we need to overcome if we are to start properly dealing with customers, without escalation being the only means of achieving customer satisfaction."
Yes, I once had a job when I had some authority to make something high priority if it were already on low and this had to be used appropriately, I also had a shop job where I could issue a £10 customer care voucher to help situations, this was great. In this job I am in, I NEED internet access t help do things quickly like find a dealers website to ascertain their email address or whatever, yet it is restricted to just the team leader, ridiculous.
"You may not actually call a customer an "idiot", but it's clearly a formed opinion - so how can you remain calm, rational, helpful, constructive, and even conciliatory (if appropriate) and if you have already formed an (hopefully unspoken) viewpoint that the customer is an idiot? "
Easily done my friend! You just stick to the facts! How would you like it, if I called you and wasted half an hour of your time???