12 Sep 2004

The Hardest Word to Say

Conclusion of Module One of how to deal with Call Centres

Students, in short, when making a complaint to a Call Centre: polite tenacity always wins.

Remember - life's short - take it easy - there's probably a policy of submission at some point and it's better to get there calmly rather than blowing a gasket.

Here is some help decoding some of that Call Centre double speak:

"I can only apologise ..."

What they really mean is : "I'm getting bored of you now and will repeat this over and over and over until you give in."

"You'll need to write in."*

What they really mean is: "I can't be arsed sorting out your problem"

You'll never actually get a response to your letter because the correspondence department will think, 'it's better to deal with these matters on the phone' and they'll probably send you a letter asking you to ring in again.

*This will usually be followed by "If you get a pen I'll give you the address." Because it sounds helpful.

"I'm sorry you feel like ..."

Well done. You have reached a black-belt numpty. This is the art of Call Centre jujitsu. A compliant art, where the operator uses the customer's strength against them - it appears that they are apologising, but in fact they are not admitting to anything, merely acknowledging that you are pissed off.


Remember, these master-classes are not available in the shops, and are exclusive to Call Centre Confidential. Coming Next: Module Two: Sales, selling and saying "sod off".