When customer care doesn't seem to care

When customer care doesn't seem to care

Summary: Do companies that wash their hands of several functions--especially "customer care"--by handing over contracts to business process outsourcing (BPO) outfits really "care" about their customers?More importantly, even after nearly a decade of having them around, most call centers remain centers of inefficiencies.

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Do companies that wash their hands of several functions--especially "customer care"--by handing over contracts to business process outsourcing (BPO) outfits really "care" about their customers?

More importantly, even after nearly a decade of having them around, most call centers remain centers of inefficiencies. It's only every once in a while that one is satisfied with the call center. And these are invariably call centers that offer technical help, for instance, pertaining to a broadband connection or an electronic gadget.

My bigger problem is with call center executives who call customers without first checking basic facts. They make that call just so they can meet their targets and other commitments made to the client. The result: they end up annoying the customer and wasting his/her time.

I have mobile and landline phone connections from one telecom operator (I don't want to name the company, lest I am seen as someone using my blog to air my grievances or to target companies). I also have a broadband connection from this operator.

Earlier this year, I got a phone call from this company (or rather its call center) to check if I want to subscribe to Internet Protocol television (IPTV), which was being offered to me at an attractive price by virtue of my being their broadband subscriber. I was quite happy with my DTH (direct-to-home) connection and therefore, I declined their offer. But, they kept calling, through February, March and April.

Last month, when I purchased another TV set, I was happy to receive their call. "Yes, yes, I want IPTV," I said, enthusiasticaly. The call center executive was happy, too. She was probably getting closer to achieving her target. A company executive was to come the next day to educate us on the benefits of IPTV.

But, the following day, we received a call from the telecom operator: "Sorry, we don't provide IPTV in Gurgaon." Wow! What do I say to that? Why then were they calling me repeatedly (for months) to find out if I was interested in IPTV? Didn't the executives know that I live in Gurgaon? They were calling on my landline, and had the area code. Hmm...the call center obviously didn't know that its client doesn't provide IPTV in Gurgaon.

Of late, every month, I get calls from the same service provider (or rather, its call center), thanking me for paying my bills. They call several times during the month (and even during lunch time) to thank me. Perhaps, they get brownie points for these "thank you" calls, but who wants to be thanked all the time? Isn't one SMS enough?

Last week, they called to tell me that I hadn't paid my bill. I replied: "But, you thanked me yesterday for having paid my bill. You even sent me an SMS." The person at the other end sounded embarrassed. "One minute madam, let me check... Yes, indeed, you have paid your bill. Oh, I am so sorry."

Isn't there some way of penalizing call centers that don't check their facts and make those annoying calls? Or do companies prefer to focus on other matters because "customer care" is not their headache any longer?

Topics: Hardware, Broadband, Legal, Mobility, Outsourcing, Telcos, Enterprise 2.0

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  • Oh so true!

    Very well written Swati, couldn't have agreed more! I'm often driven to my wits' end when these call centre folks call for selling and are at a complete loss when requested to tell who they are calling for! What infuriates me more are the calls from the banks- just because I have a salary account with one of them, they just wouldn't stop pestering me for a credit card. And, this is when I have already checked the box for "opt-out" from such calls while filling in the application for my salary account. Guess in a vain to sell and achieve targets, marketers have buried the concepts of ethical selling, and it is no more than a chapter in the marketing module of their MBA programs!
    anonymous
  • When customer care doesn't seem to care

    Ms Prasad,
    If you ever plan to write a book on this, please do not forget to write to me / call me [I will provide you with my number if you do write, and am not providing it here, for, I do not want to receive calls from any telemarketing companies / call centers, a whole lot of whom do not even know what they are calling about, let alone who they are calling J ] and I will be only too glad to provide you with matter enough to fill at least two volumes (I am not exaggerating when I say at least). I own a company in the service industry and am simply SHOCKED and appalled at the customer care (or should I call it lack of customer care) departments of many companies. I often wonder, if these companies (including many of the big ones) do make profits at all. The number of companies whom I have called / written to about the abysmally poor standard of their customer care, is mounting and a whole lot of them (including big names) have not yet bothered to revert to me after months albeit a few reminders.
    anonymous