Call Center Representative

Call Center Representative

ShirleyBananas

Albany, NY

Female, 31

I have spent the last 5 years as a call center representative for a health insurance company Ask me anything about my experiences -- like how we are monitored on every move we make and every word we utter, how we have to document and summarize calls while we're talking to you, etc. How nice a caller you are affects the lengths we'll go to try and help you, or the loopholes we're willing to share. p.s. There is usually a way around everything.

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12 Questions

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Last Answer on May 06, 2014

Best Rated

Are you ever allowed to hang up on a customer if they're being very rude?

Asked by dan79 over 3 years ago

Oh as much as I wanted to, I'm afraid not.. Only if they were being extremely rude and just insulting or cursing at you and were no longer asking you questions relevant to business. Even then you had to warn a threat to disconnect to try and allow them to calm down. Also if there was no response for over 1 minute, we are allowed to disconnect. Anything outside of those circumstances was a major no-no and possibly grounds for termination. They actually have a program to track whenever we press the "release" (hang up) button since we should always wait until the caller disconnects. If we press that button, then quality assurance will listen to the call to determine whether it was warranted or not.

What is the meanest thing a caller has ever said to you? Does that kind of stuff get under your skin?

Asked by Jason over 3 years ago

I had people tell me to die, that I'm an idiot, that I should get cancer.. Etc.. I can't remember them all. Stuff like that honestly didn't bug me because I knew they were just mad at the situation and had to take it out on the person that broke the news.

What really got on my nerves were the liars.. The "I never got that letter" people after we sent it 5 times.. The "I didn't know" people when it's clearly documented that the last rep already told them no, the "you told me it was covered" when we all know its not covered.. Stuff like that.

I especially thought it was funny when they try and pull that and I'm the last one they talked to.. I'd let them go on and on then advised it was me they spoke to last, then they'd usually hang up lol

Did your company ever consider outsourcing their call center to Asia? Do you have a sense of how much companies would save on labor costs if they did that?

Asked by RAPS over 3 years ago

No they never considered it, they don't want to frustrate customers even more.. I'd imagine it would probably save money though. I know my company prides itself on being local.

What's something you'll do if you like the person on the other end of the line that you won't do for a jerk?

Asked by Erika over 3 years ago

Well working in a call center is supremely boring.. you can't really get up from your desk and you have to take call after call.. so when you actually get a pleasant, friendly person on the phone it's a welcome relief and a chance for us to take a breather. I work in health insurance so for example if someone rude called in and asked if aqua therapy is covered, I will simply say no and ask if there is anything else I can help you with hoping you will just disconnect so I can move on with the next call. 

Now if you are friendly, upbeat or interesting, I would still have to say it's not covered.. but can offer you the names of some physical therapists that have aqua therapy treatment in their practice that would be covered, or a discount YMCA membership where you can use the pools and hot tubs or any free classes we may offer, or tell you that your doctor can submit a medical exception request to show why you truly need this certain treatment so it can be individual reviewed by a team of nurses to see if we can cover it for you... and if its denied you can always appeal it.. usually if its not super expensive or a direct contract exclusion, we will just cover it for you. 

So it's basically between doing the bare minimum for you because you're a jerk and I just want to get off this call. or going above and beyond because I feel a genuine connection with another human being and have nothing better to do so I will show you every avenue I'm aware of to try and get you what you want. 

 

I often ask for a CSR to call me back to follow-up or if we get disconnected, but almost always they say they can't dial out. Which I find to be BS; what kind of phone doesn't dial out? Are they just being lazy?

Asked by Marinersftw over 3 years ago

Ooh I'm glad you asked this one because it is BS and I'll explain why! OK so when you work in a call center it is all about stats.. There is something called an ASA (average speed of answer) and it measures how fast we pick up the phone once the call comes in. My job, our ASA had to average under 30 seconds..so if you were on hold for more then 30 seconds before you got a rep then our stats go down. If our stats are consistently too low, we got in trouble big time because it would effect the whole company image along with our HEDIS score (which is the gov't regulatory agency that holds health insurance companies to a high customer service standard, but I'm sure every line of business has something similar). This is also the same reason you have to go through all the prerecorded greetings before you get through to a rep, because then we technically answered the phone right away and if the automated system can answer your question, then that's less calls in queue for the reps.

So how do we keep a good ASA? All the reps have to be in available, which means we are ready to answer your call ASAP. Once we disconnected with the previous caller, we had 2 mins to document the call before we have to go back into available. That's what makes it almost impossible to call you back because if we did and the call was over 2 minutes, then we are not able to answer incoming calls and it lowers our stats. Our raises, reviews and job all rests on quality and good stats and if you suck at both, then you won't keep your job very long.

So no it's not being lazy and yes we can technically dial out, but we won't risk it. If you need your answer right away, just call into the call center because we all document our calls and the next rep will be able to see the same things your original rep can. 

 

You mentioned you work in health insurance. Politics aside, what was it like as a CCR during the Obamacare enrollment period? Seemed like most healthcare company's didn't foresee the avalanche.

Asked by Windswept82 over 3 years ago

Yeah, what a headache.. The government doesn't even have all the answers, everyone is confused and just learning as they go. I've seen it be both beneficial and detrimental, I guess it just depends on how sick you are. One of the main benefits are that most preventative and prenatal care is now covered in full.

A pet peeve: how much of an effect do those automated surveys have on your review/pay? I really like commending CS reps when they go above and beyond, but i NEVER stay on the line to take the survey bc i don't think it really does much. Am I wrong?

Asked by JerBear over 3 years ago

Eh, that's fine that you don't stay on the line for the surveys.. Can't speak for all places but for us we may just get a commendation from the manager or use them to measure metrics, but it doesn't affect our pay. If you'd really like to praise your representative, a simple complement is really appreciated or you can ask to speak with a manager to say what a good job we did.. They usually mentioned compliment calls in dept meetings and during our reviews, so they go a long way!