Call Centres

I have posted elsewhere about my concerns about privacy and offshore call centres but I thought readers might be interested in the conversation with a call centre supervisor trying to allay my fears about privacy by giving me the following information …
The call centre has access to all my details held on the Optus mainframe.
My details are safe because they covered by the same privacy rules that operate in Australia.
Call centre staff are not allowed to write down anything. Having a pen within sight of your desk is a sackable offence!
This particular call centre was Convergys from Manila but I believe part of a huge multinational. They supervisor claimed they work for many large Australian corporations.


Privacy issues aside, this could explain why they seem incapable and inept and ask the same questions over and over. They cannot put everything relevant to each call in their forms.


Despite being on the imaginary black list for telemarketeers and the like, I am bombarded by telephone calls from representatives of a group that purports to be acting for groups of regular charities. The fact that they are seemingly polite is irrelevant if they can’t speak English or Australian English. On a bad day, I ask whether they mind me ringing one of the charities mentioned, to which I donate regularly, and the hang-up is almost instantaneous.

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Greetings, am I the only person totally flummoxed by ‘customer service’ through Call Centres? Surely we should investigate just what these centres are doing (apart from driving me to distraction) in terms of business strategies, psychology (and the detrimental effects on ‘clients’), financial savings (and losses to those held up on extended calls). What to do, please? I have had enough of 'Press1, press2… and then sitting on the line listening to dreadful music, only to be asked after 15 or so minutes, whether I would like to request a call back when I’m at the head of the queue. This I did last time and forgot that I had requested the call back. It came some 28 hours later! Meanwhile, I had tried to solve the problem via a mail message. The response was that the message would be answered within four days.
I have now hopefully managed to solve the problem by avoiding the call centre and going directly to the organisation waiting on my advice to proceed with payment of their account. Fingers crossed.
And BTW, this is only one example of many!

Welcome to the Community @Stutch

Your post is very important to us, but we are getting more posts than normal … (apologies)

I’ll sign on that most of us despise modern call centres that are always understaffed, overloaded, and the agents rarely have the authority to do anything beyond scripted responses or emailing their own internal help desks for the call centre staff.

Is an investigation for a consumer advocacy organisation like Choice warranted when it is opaque and under the covers, and short of getting an undercover employee how to do; or are call centres irritations business weighs against their profit/loss/customer retention strategies?

The unpopularity of call centres, especially those off shored, is legendary.

Very many! I merged your topic into an older one that started off about offshored centres, but the few posts might provide a further insight into how broken they can be, and at least one reason they are like that.

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Many call centres are commercial call centres designed to meet the ever increasing demand by consumers for phone contact in relation to business dealings. Others may be run by the business but employs those who are good at working within a call centre, not necessarily with the knowledge of the ins and outs of a business.

Commercial has the meaning that the call centre is a second party to the business in question…or the business engages the services of a specialist call centre to carry out functions on their behalf. The call centres are not owned or run by the business one wishes to contact.

Call centres often are more about filtering calls and dealing with standard issues/inquiries. Filtering may be that phone contact is not the most appropriate method of resolving the consumer inquiry. Visiting the business in person or doing it online through say a login account may be the direction one receives when making contact through a call centre. If one has a general issue, then as @PhilT has indicated, this may be able to be resolved by following a known and mapped process.

As most call centres are not manned by technically minded or business employees which knowledge of all sectors of the business (these are usually the ones making the money for the business), they become the conduit for resolving issues rather than being the source to resolve issues. This means at times they will take details and get the relevant business employee to return your call to assist with the inquiry.

This makes good sense from the business and customer service perspective…that being the business can ensure that the right person contacts the consumer to resolve the issue, business employees aren’t distracted by large number of calls that could be managed more effectively in other ways and the consumer doesn’t experience phone call ping-pong as they are bounced around within the business until someone is able to and willing to assist with resolving the issue. Telephone ping-pong was common before use of modern call centres . When experiencing ping pong which I did on many occasions, it was a highly frustrating process…quite frustrating as one had to explain the same thing to each person they spoke to within the business, hoping that the person they were talking to were experienced to resolve the issue.

While call centres are a sterile contact with the business, they do serve a function when where is a lot of phone call traffic which needs to be dealt with and potentially prioritised (prioritised in relation to more urgent inquiries which may impact on health, safety or the environment).

Unfortunately, we as consumers have lost our patience and expect everything to be resolved yesterday. Instantaneous resolution to satisfy a consumer’s expectation isn’t the primary function of a call centre as outlined above.