One of the best parts about writing a blog is reading the comments of your audience; hearing interseted readers' candidly respond to your thoughts.
The following comment is a great example. I'd written a post about a source of the frustrations that customers have with call centers, resulting from the call center being treated as a "cost center" by executive management. The person that wrote this comment is a long-time call center employee. She describes her experiences and perspectives from inside the call center.
I'm sharing this comment because it illustrates the importance of the customer being an active participant in the customer experience. I've highlighted those passages that best illustrate the point. Read it, and see what you think:
"I work for a cellular company in the states and I just want to say that we're not underpaid. We're actually rewarded quite well. I think the problem is mainly that most people who call in tend to harbor a grudge towards the last representative that they spoke with therefore starting the call off on a bad note.
It is frustrating when you want to help the customer but the customer won't let go of their previous complaint long enough to hear that you want to resolve it. I've been that angry customer and I know what it's like to feel that you are not being helped or that the person you are talking to is just trying to get you off the phone or pass the buck to someone else.
What we all need to consider is that one of us doing our job.. I get paid to sit at a desk, wear a headset and do my best to resolve customers issues. But sometimes that is literally impossible and it's incredibly frustrating when you want to help and you want to provide a positive experience for the customer but there is nothing you can do because of policies or because people want to blame you for what they didn't know..
Bottom line, if you call a call center, be nice. If the representative isn't being nice to you, say so. Tell them that you understand that their job must be really hard and stressful and you don't want to make that any worse and tell them what you want specifically. Don't just tell them "this isn't what I signed up for" or "this isn't what I was told my bill would be". Tell them you want "XYZ" and chances are they will make the necessary changes. We can't read minds. We can only hope that the questions we ask are the right ones and that your answers guide us to finding the right information in our resources.
I have been on the phone with people who had hundreds of dollars in past due charges who wanted a credits they really shouldn't have received. But they were nice so I helped them out. I've been on the phone with people who had a zero- balance and always paid their bill on time who got screwed with long distance or roaming that I could have adjusted if I really wanted to but they were rude and disrespectful and you know what, I didn't.
Treat people how you want to be treated. Even if they're in another country, even if they have an accent and you assume they are overseas..in my call center, we're all American even though we may not sound like it. Don't assume."
The point is this:
As customers, we have more control over the experience we receive, than we may think. The customer experience is indeed, a two-way street.