Comments: 77 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

bigoted_bill22 karma

I am always reasonable and joke around nicely with the person on the other end of the phone when I am really upset about something, I let the person know that I am pissed but I am aware that its not their fault so I keep it light, do you tend to go out of your way to help people like me out more than the crazy people that just call to yell?

TimtheHunter32 karma

I was hoping someone would ask this. If I don't mind spending time on the phone with you and you're polite, I'll go out of my way.

Someone called me and wanted a credit because they were 9 cents past due and they wanted their late charge reversed, but they were telling me how I was personally a piece of shit because I was working here for such a corrupt company in order to feed my family. I took it personally... In any normal circumstance, I would do the credit simply to satisfy the customer. But he pissed me off, I sustained the charges. He was late, he gonna pay dat late charge.

Moral of the story; stay calm and cool, make friends with your call center rep, and they'll treat you like a friend. At least if I'm the one on the other side of the phone.

bigoted_bill4 karma

Thanks for the answer ! I always open with a joke about how something affected my day but I had a beer so its totally cool but I would like it fixed... And follow that up with " Hows your day "

TimtheHunter5 karma

Yeah stuff like that is an easy way to get on an agents good side, especially if you get one of the more talkative ones.

mady808-16 karma

I would fire you! Its not your job to be emotional when a customer calls you a cunt. The company pays you to retain customers.

TimtheHunter1 karma

It was a sustainable charge; they didn't pay their full bill. They didn't threaten to disconnect or anything, if they would've I would have given the credit to just cure the headache. They understood after explaining the charge though.

hlwroc7 karma

Is there any way to get to the retention/saves department without having to talk to one or more of the lower level people? Sometimes it takes half an hour to get to someone that can do something, despite me asking immediately to get to them.

TimtheHunter12 karma

In my experience, no. Our agents are trained to try to figure out why you're wanting to disconnect service before getting you over there because transfers show up negatively on us, and there's actually only like 5 people in the retention department at any given time. Bullshit? I think so. But I don't call the shots.

Personally, if someone knows what retention is and they're wanting to get over there I'll just say 'why you wantin to disconnect fam' and then transfer them over, but that's because personally, when I call in to my cable company I don't want to be on the phone for 3 hours so I just try to get people where they're wanting to go as quick as possible. I'm not supposed to do that, but my handle time is so low that my manager doesn't give me too much crap about it.

netrok6 karma

Do you have a list of customers that are assholes, or marks on their accounts indicating such? I always go out of my way to be patient and polite but I've always wondered.

TimtheHunter1 karma

We'll get reprimanded if we do anything more than say 'customer was angry' on the notes, if that answers the question.

netrok1 karma

it does, thanks! follow on; when you get a call does the note show up?

TimtheHunter1 karma

So, when the account is pulled up all the notations on it are on there. Sometimes the account pops up on its own, sometimes we have to get an account number or a phone number to pull it up. On the subject of notes; you don't know frustrating until a customer says that they were quoted 139.00 and they are being charged double, but there's not a note in the account saying what they were quoted and you have no idea where 139.00 comes from. Some people take good notes, some people take bad notes, some people take no notes. Pray that the person you're talking to leaves good notes.

Sendmedickpix10 karma

Do you use remedy? If so, see if you have the last ticket that excite@home made I think in the 90s. There's a very interesting type write up from a bunch of unhappy people.

TimtheHunter1 karma

I don't but I would really enjoy reading that.

PowderYoursButthole4 karma

Do you have any good tips for calming down an irate customer on the phone? Are you allowed to just hang up on them if they start cussing at you?

TimtheHunter8 karma

Kill 'em with kindness. If you can make them believe that you're doing everything possible, and you do that with just the nicest voice you can muster, that works most of the time. Unless they're just trying REALLY hard to be pissed off. It's a general rule that it's hard to be pissed off at someone that's doing their best to help you out.

On that note if someone is refusing to calm down, just lower your voice volume. They'll start being more quiet simply so that they can hear you, and when you go from yelling to talking in a more quiet voice, it typically calms you down. Lots of mind games when it comes to trying to help people on the phone.

Also, we are not allowed to hang up on customers under any circumstances. But if you threaten us, once you hang up we're allowed to call your local law enforcement, so that's pretty cool. Also from what I noticed, generally if people are cussing, they're just cussing because it's part of their normal vocabulary. Rarely do people cuss straight at you personally because, I mean think about it, would you help someone if they were cussing at you? I wouldn't try very hard personally.

PowderYoursButthole4 karma

I feel like I employ those same tactics with my 2 year old. The law enforcement thing is funny. It says right before they ring in that the call is being recorded. They can't even deny it.

TimtheHunter7 karma

Talking to customers that think they understand what's going on behind the scenes of the cable company is actually a lot like talking to a small child, if not worse, if I'm being honest :p

djjoeyfunk3 karma

I've actually worked at a call center myself over the past 2 1/2 years, first 2 years as a collections agent and now for just regular billing. I was offered an escalation position at the collections position, but it offered nothing besides the title change so i declined and now I'm at an office where it's a lot less hectic. What i want to know is how stressful the calls are that you receive and if they are, how do you handle them??

TimtheHunter5 karma

I don't stress out. Talking to angry people is fun to me, it was stressful when I was first learning the tools cause I simply didn't know how to help people, but now I know when the call starts if I'm able to help them out or not, so it's all just talking.

Just facts about myself, I'm big into D&D so when I take escalations I just act like I'm someone else and it's just a scenario from D&D, that's why I think it's so fun. Probably not very professional, but at least I enjoy my job :)

BigAstra3 karma

What sure-fire way can I use to get my cable company to lower my rate?

TimtheHunter14 karma

Okay; so there is no sure fire way. However, if your promotional rate is over, you can just say 'okay, if you can't lower my rates I'm just going to disconnect my service', and they'll send you to a retention/saves department. They're the ones that can hand out the big discounts. Talking to me won't get you discounts because 'supervisors' use the same tools and have the same rules as the agents. You'll need to go to the retention guys. Having worked for multiple cable companies in this position, I can tell you that this is pretty much a universal rule of thumb.

BigAstra4 karma

Think they are wise to this as well as I've tried this technique in the recent past and they called my bluff.

TimtheHunter6 karma

Yeah, retention is trained to be able to call people's bluffs on this because if we keep everyone on promotional rates, we're losing money. I think during training we were told we'd have to have 10 people on the promotional rate to break even after losing 1 person on the normal rate. The only other sure-fire way is to downgrade services, and let me tell ya... Telling people that on the phone just tends to piss people off.

sexuallyactivepope1 karma

Why can't we have Ala cart cable? I don't speak Spanish so why should I pay for it?

TimtheHunter1 karma

Honestly? The companies that provide the channels provide them in a package and we sign a contract saying we'll play all the channels. That's higher up than the cable company, we know it's bullshit too.

iancurtissghost1 karma

an L1 gets a call. an irate customer. the customer threatens to bomb one of your company's facilities. does the call go to you? where do you send it?

TimtheHunter1 karma

Assuming the account has an address, call their local police department. If it's someone without an account, call our local police department. Our site has shut down one time because someone threatened to bomb our facility though. some people were scared but I was getting paid to do nothing over nothing.

diegojones41 karma

My wife always asks to speak to a manager to tell them how helpful and great the help was once the problem is resolved. Does this matter? Does it help the helpful employee?

TimtheHunter6 karma

We call those Kudos! Sometimes we give gift cards to agents who can get the most Kudos in a certain time period, so that's always cool. I personally love it when I get Kudos, just knowing I'm doing a good enough job to cause someone to tell my manager how good of a job I'm doing gives me the motivation to get me through some of my rougher days.

Although, in my call center, it's rarely the 'managers' that take the kudos, usually just escalation specialists like me :) But I enjoy hearing that my fellow agents are doing a good job, especially when I get to hear so many people telling me how bad of a job they're doing by irate customers. :p

So TL;DR yeah it helps a bit. It's not gonna get anyone a raise or a promotion, but it makes our days better.

zeroReiZero1 karma

How's the preparation/training for this job?

How would you rate your stress levels doing this job? Could you also compare them with previous jobs?

Did you ever let one of the calls get the best of you?

TimtheHunter11 karma

4 weeks of brainwashing and trying to teach you stuff that's invalid as soon as you walk out onto the call floor, if I'm being honest. It was pretty fun. The most important part of the training is learning how to talk to people, because if you can talk to people you can fumble around with the tools until you're able to help people.

Copying a previous answer for the stress part; I don't stress out. Talking to angry people is fun to me, it was stressful when I was first learning the tools cause I simply didn't know how to help people, but now I know when the call starts if I'm able to help them out or not, so it's all just talking.

Just facts about myself, I'm big into D&D so when I take escalations I just act like I'm someone else and it's just a scenario from D&D, that's why I think it's so fun. Probably not very professional, but at least I enjoy my job :)

A call got to me the other day, not the call itself but rather the circumstances? When an 'escalation specialist' isn't taking escalations, they take normal calls. And I can't pull the whole 'Bitch I am a supervisor' when they ask for one, so I have to escalate it. I'm really proud of my metrics, I take care of problems quick, with hardly any hold time. I escalated the call, the escalation specialist turned a 15 minute call into a 90 minute call, and 45 minutes of that was hold time. It ruined my metrics for the day, and thus ruined my day.

blbd2 karma

The time after handoff shouldn't be used against you. That is a raging dumpster fire.

TimtheHunter1 karma

You see why I'm upset about it then!

MoreThanWards1 karma

Call Center Operations guy here, different company. Why in the hell do you get dinged for how much hold time a guy uses who handles the call after you?

Unless you stayed on the line to see how they were going to handle it. At which point that's on you, boo.

TimtheHunter1 karma

We don't have an escalation line; when there's an escalation, it's still under my name. I literally raise my hand so a supervisor can help me. It's lame.

MoreThanWards1 karma

That is horrible. Absolutely horrible.

TimtheHunter1 karma

We're working on getting an escalation line, at least that's what I'm told. Tbh I don't mind it when I'm taking escalations because I don't have to sit at a desk, I walk the floor waiting to take escalations. I don't even mind having to give up escalations because I usually get 5-10 minutes of not doing anything, it's just this particular instance tilted me out of the hemisphere.

SmilingAnus1 karma

How often do you dispatch a tech when you know damn well there's nothing I can do, no magical wire I can wiggle to make them happy?

TimtheHunter1 karma

I actually work in billing, so I just transfer to technical :) But when I worked in technical, I had no tools at my disposal other than resending a hit to a box, so it was often 'powercycle, send a hit, roll a truck' for me.

skifdank1 karma

Are the majority of slow connection calls because of peak hour usage on over subscribed circuits?

TimtheHunter1 karma

Not tech support, but most of the time I tell them to go to speedtest.net to check if they're getting the speed they are supposed to be getting... 9/10 times they are, and it's an issue with their computers being slow. Get a lot of that.