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Call Center Horror Stories

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The world of Call Centers is a beast that can bring out the best and the worst in us. Agents can feel real satisfaction when they hang up knowing they've added genuine value, but it can also come with immense frustration when they receive a scream on the other side of the line.

I understand it is not an easy job. However, it's important to put yourself in the customer's shoes every now and then, to help us understand what we can improve.

I spoke to several clients who have had their fair share of call-center experience. From social media to phones, they've seen it all.

Their call center horror stories are so scary that they will haunt you at night. Just kidding. But really, we're going to look at the call center's sloppiness and note alternative solutions to deal with this difficult situation.


Who Hangs Up the Phone?

Stacey (Busy Mom, Pittsburgh)

A payment system company that calls me often has a waiting time of around 15 to 20 minutes. When I finally got in touch with an agent, I explained my long, complicated story and usually, the agent ended up arresting me and transferring me from one agent to another. As a result, I had to explain my concerns over and over again.

My calls with this company tend to always last more than 30 minutes, plus a 30 minute wait time. One time I had to call back 3 times because I kept hanging up or disconnected for no reason. By the time the third had to queue and explain my case to several agents, I was screaming and angry.

What could be done better?

    • Practice. If each agent is trained to handle multiple cases, they don't have to move customers from agent to agency and can handle situations on their own, eliminating the need for customers to explain themselves again and again.
    • Take better notes. It is very upsetting for a customer to have to explain their case over and over again when they are transferred, especially if it is a complex situation. By using integrated software where the agent can view the client's journey and login detail, these accidents can be easily avoided and the agent taking over will know exactly where the last one was left without having to ask the client to re-explain.
    • Get a callback number. In the good faith that the line was accidentally cut three times, the agent should ask the customer directly from their caller's number if there is any disconnect. By doing so, the agent shows good faith by being proactive, but most importantly, it avoids the customer from having to deal with another agent, having to explain again, and waiting in line.
    • Measuring the right KPIs. But let's say the disconnection is for some reason not accidental, could it be that management is measuring the wrong KPIs? Something like average handling time can affect service agents sent to customers, resulting in more 'accidental' transfers or disconnections to stay within AHT ( Average Handling Time ).

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