What is the Call Centre Nightmare Syndrome (CCNS)?
Of all modern business practices, the call centre would have to be the most frustrating for its customers.
Fortunately, Jack Starr has spent over 10 years behind enemy lines, including call centres of Australia’s leading banks, and gives you his three must-have tips on getting the most out of your call time.
Always on the march to stamp out injustice in society, I stumbled across a syndrome sweeping the nation.
A disorder affecting many Australians, yet little is being done to combat this very serious problem.
Jess Abbott is 36, lives in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and suffers from a condition she calls Call Centre Nightmare Syndrome (CCNS); a disorder causing reoccurring nightmares so realistic that she wakes in a cold sweat, feeling dazed and confused.
‘Oh, it’s horrible,’ she says, ‘it’s just so darn life-like!’
Of course, there is no medical proof that CCNS exists.
‘But that doesn’t make it any less real!’ snaps Ms Abbott, whose nightmares involve her financial institution.
How the Call Centre Nightmare Syndrome impacts everyday Australians
‘And always the same dream,’ she says. ‘It begins with me pressing countless buttons on my telephone in a never-ending parade leading nowhere until my call is eventually answered by somebody named Tom.
Tom directs me through to Dick who leads me to Harry and, sure enough, ten minutes later, I end up back with Tom.
By this point, I barely remember my own name, let alone my policy number, date of birth and the name of my next-door neighbour’s pet guinea pig.
And, all I want is my account balance.’
Unfortunately, as shocking as these dreams are, they never seem to end there.
‘It gets progressively worse,’ complains Ms Abbott. ‘Before I wake up, or get any information on my account, I’m directed back through an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to the following options:
- Press 1 on your phone if you want to go directly to the wrong department.
- Press 2 if you want to go on the merry-go-round.
- Press 3 if you want to go directly to 4.
- Press 4 if you want to bang your head against the wall.
- Press 5 if you want to go back to 4.
- Press 6 if you still remember what the heck you called for.
- Press 7 if you still have the will to live.
And, before I receive any assistance I wake in a cold sweat; thinking what the hell just happened? Am I okay? Is my money okay?’
It appears that hoards of hard-working Aussies are experiencing similar symptoms.
Some people have even confessed to being awake through such frightening ordeals. Terrifying!
Fortunately for Ms Abbott, and many hardworking Australians, there is help.
I’ve set up The Centre for Call Centre Nightmare Syndrome (TCFCCNS) to assist people in need.
So, if you feel that you suffer from Call Centre Nightmare Syndrome (and, who doesn’t?), please understand you’re not alone! Call TCFCCNS now.
Your call is important to us.
It will be placed in a queue and someone will be with you shortly.
Seriously though, I have unearthed some ‘must-have’ tips for getting the most out of your call time.
3 Tips for avoiding the Call Centre Nightmare Syndrome
1. Be nice
This is a must if you don’t want to wind up on the merry-go-round.
Don’t come on the line in an angry voice, no matter how annoyed you’re feeling. Take a breath and start the conversation as pleasant as possible, even with a little banter if possible.
Coming on the line in an aggressive manner will get the operator’s back up straight away, and in no frame of mind to assist you. Or, they will be too frazzled to assist even if they want to help. Often the systems they need to navigate through are complex and they need to be calm and measured to do it right.
There’s a difference between being assertive and being rude. You can be assertive and still have the operator on your side.
2. Be prepared. Don’t just ring out of the blue.
Have the correct phone number to the correct department. Ensure you have all the information you’re going to need with you, the account details, etc.
Know exactly what you want to say and be as clear and specific as possible, and ask that they understand. Get them to repeat information back to you if you’re unsure.
3. Get the name
Asking whats your name to avoid the call centre nightmare syndrome. Always get the operator’s name and let them know you have it. Ask for their direct line if they have one, or at least that department’s number.
This now ensures ‘Tom’ takes ownership of your call and does not pass you over to Dick and Harry. Write down who you spoke to and what time you’ve called.
And finally, before you let Tom go, ask him to repeat any processes you’ve discussed, and confirm what he’s going to do for you.
Then hang up and cross your fingers.
Finally, don’t suffer unnecessarily from CCNS.
Make yours a call worth giving.
What’re some of your call centre nightmares?
Recommended further reading: Hot Tips from a call centre agent to improve your customer experience
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