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May 27, 2008

When you’re on the phone with someone, asking for assistance, they will ask you for information.

At this point, there’s inevitably some confusion; someone gives something vague, or skips a detail, and the operator has to clarify.  So often when I do this, I get pushback from the person on the other end, they fail to see the relevance of what I’m asking for.

For instance, with people from small towns; enquiring about addresses, I get “Oh, the driver will know where it is, you don’t need that!”  or I get directions, or some other stupid piece that’s absolutely not what I asked for.  The person on the other end gets increasingly irritated as I explain that I do, in fact, need that detail, it isn’t allright to just leave it at that.

Allow me to put this simply:  If you’d given me enough information to send someone, we’d not be talking anymore.

This is true for any call center operator – they want to finish and move on ASAP, we’re not asking out of curiousity, it’s ’cause someone here needs that information – often the driver will know the name of the location, but our mapping software doesn’t know that name, and we need that in there.  Or we need it so the dispatcher can plan a route in the most efficient way.

If you call a call centre for assistance of any sort, have all the information you possibly can on hand – your address, the cross streets, details of whatever it is that you need help with – in our case, the type of appliance, the make, the model, the serial number, and as close a guess of what’s wrong with it as you can get.  You want your coverage number, and anything else we may need in order to look you up.

Don’t know?  Don’t be embarrassed to say so; few people have all the information we need, and we’re used to hunting for it by all sorts of means, but please don’t presume to tell them what they do and do not need to know.  Remember, if they don’t need to know it, they wouldn’t have asked.

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