The other day at work, an old lady rang up because she’d paid her car registration and then realised she could get a rebate from the government for it. Could she claim the rebate back now, she wanted to know – or was it too late. She’d rung the authorities, but couldn’t get through.
So I offered to ring on her behalf and find out. After listening to about half an hour’s worth of ‘hold’ music, I finally get an operator, with a chirpy, tinny little teenage voice.
‘Can I help you?’
‘Yes, thanks..(and I explain the situation)..Do you know who I need to talk to?’
‘Just a minute..I’m not sure, I’ll just see if I can find out.’
More hold music. Gotta love it. Ten more minutes and she comes back with ‘Apparently it’s the XYZ team that deals with that, I’ll just pop you through to them.’
‘Thanks,’ I say, ‘But I’m ringing on someone else’s behalf, so they’ll actually need to speak to her. Is there a direct number I could give her for the XYZ team?’
‘Oh no, we’re not allowed to give out direct numbers, she has to come through the call centre.’
‘Oh. Well, could I tell her to ask the operator to direct her to the XYZ team, then? Just to save time. You see, I don’t want her to have to wait..’
‘Sorry, no I can’t do that. It might be a different operator, and we always have to ask for a full explanation before we put anyone through.’
‘Ah. Well, maybe she could just explain briefly,and THEN ask to be put through to the XYZ team. Just to save the operator the additional ten minutes of looking up who the enquiry should go to?’
‘No, I can’t do that either.’
‘But it would save you time!’
(In hurt tones) ‘You need to realise that it’s not very nice for a call centre employee to answer a call and then just be told ‘put me through to so and so please!’. That’s not a very nice experience for us.’
(Silently) ‘Right. And the point of your job is that YOU get to feel appreciated?’
Sometimes high self-esteem can be BLOODY ANNOYING!