Call Center Employee (Retail)

Call Center Employee (Retail)

Call Center Junkie

7 Years Experience

St Joseph, MO

Male, 27

I have been working in the Call Center retail Industry in the Sales and Customer Service aspect for 7 years. In the retail part, i have handled everything from tv and internet service through cell phones and beyond. I enjoy what I do because I get to talk to new people every day from all over the country and the world. Ask me anything, while i'll never claim to have seen and done it all, I have enough experience that I can usually figure it out if I don't already know it.

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23 Questions


Last Answer on April 13, 2015

Best Rated

What's the craziest story you've heard of a phone rep being rude or unprofessional to a caller?

Asked by Elise over 9 years ago

Well, I must say some of the experiences that have been in the news about comcast and the experience of their customers has been pretty intense. Having worked for a cable company that is a tleast putting an effort in to make sure the customer service experience is good even if the pricing and other issues remain, I feel horrible for the people that have to deal with them. If given the opportunity, I'd definately overhaul the customer experience with comcast.

I will say I once had to fire an agent because he was making sexual innuendos to call female caller. She was married and her father was a supervisor within my office... It was a pretty epic fail.

I also have sat in as a witness on the termination of some reps where they were in more of a collections type role and were being very aggressive, to the point of making empty threats of legal and financial actions against a customer. Not only is this illegal, but obviously, its extremely unprofessional. 

The one that stands out in recent memory, the customer was 10 days late on a payment. She had called in to make payment arrangements. He was telling her she was a low life. She was going to be facing wage garnishments and possible jail time. All over a cell phone bill. (this obviously wasn't the case) The agent worked for me and we weren't even in the collections department. I assumed the call, set up the arrangement and made sure the customer was aware that it was not acceptable for this treatment she recieved and that I would deal with it. The agents termination was in process before I finished the call.

You should never, as a customer, get harassed or abused by a phone rep. It is illegal for any company to claim legal action is getting taken when they aren't able to or will not be doing so. It is also illegal for anyone to call you claiming to be a legal representative of a company when that is not what they really are. Even if they are a collections company.

If you ever encounter this, report the company to the FCC- get the date and time of the call, the agents name, the agents ID number. As much info as possible. That company can face very hefty fines, possibly getting closed, for offenses like this. You always have rights as a caller. Don't let someone take them from you.

Why are most "you are on hold" and automated-phone-tree recorded voices female?

Asked by Sharif over 9 years ago

I can't say for sure but my assumption is that for most people, a female voice is more appealing and relaxing. So with that being the case, holding for 20 minutes is better with a female voice telling you that your call is important then a male from a psycology stand point.

The average major company only talks to around 10% of its customers. (This was from a study in 2010 or 2011) Meaning the ones who are having the problems are the ones calling in; (except in the sales capacity) so they want you to be calm when u get to the agent.

Great question though!

How much do overseas call center reps get paid, and do you think it's just a matter of time before all U.S. companies move their customer support overseas?

Asked by Beisbol over 9 years ago

I don't think any intelligent company should move their service completely overseas. I see the benefits and think they do have some purpose. But to completely move services overseas would be bad for the economy and very bad PR. Companies do everything they can to avoid the press finding out when they send jobs overseas, its bad for business.

As far as pay, it's comparable to what we make, meaning most are still on the lower end of their middle class and up but the reason its cheaper is culture and cost of living. Then the business side you throw in tax benefits and facilities cost, it has its purpose. Especially for companies that close the american offices on holidays. They can keep the phones staffed and the money coming in but the Americans get their holiday time and the Americans (unknowingly) get the brunt of the traffic during the holiday times of the overseas couterparts

If I ask to speak to a supervisor, are you required to transfer me to one?

Asked by Wags15 over 9 years ago

That's a trick question. The most accurate answer is, not immediately. At least not in my experience.

The reality of the call center industry is, most front line reps (the ones on the phone) could dance circles around the supervisors when it comes to policy knowledge. My current supervisor has over 15 years experience in the call center industry in various positions and types of calls. She started after i did with the company i'm currently at, with less training on the policies. 

While that's not ideal to us as reps, supervisors are really more for the reps. They are the baby sitters if you will. My supervisor has, and still will on occasion, ask me what the policy is that a customer is disputing when she takes a call from me.

Who would you rather speak with me or her? She is a really good person, and will agree with you that i can be a jerk. But the reality is, she will back me 99.99% of the time.

I tell you that to tell you this:

Our job is to resolve your issue in one call. No matter what business sector. Whether it's technical, financial, medical, legal, or any other line of business; our job is to make sure you don't have to call back unless absolutely necessary. 

For several companies, this is one of the metrics they base the agents performance reviews and bonuses on. The reasoning for this is simple. If they take care of your issue the first time, the call volume is lower so they spend less in staffing. 2. you are a happier customer. The fact that resolving your issue correctly the first time effects their money, the agents have all the incentive they need to make sure you don't need to call back in.

So when you ask for a supervisor, my job is to first confirm the reason. Second, it's to tell you exactly what the supervisor will say and inform you of that fact, making sure you understand, it's usually a waste of time to go to that level. However, if you still want to speak with a supervisor, THEN we facilitate the supervisor hand off unless the supervisor gives us something different to tell the customer. (not impossible, but not unheard of)

The average training (in my experience) for a call center rep is 6-8 weeks. Most supervisors that don't start as an agent with that company, go through less then half the training an agent goes through because the company is focused on getting them up to speed on the HR part of their job.

Does that all make sense?

Is there much difference between callers in different industry sectors? Like are users calling about their Internet service better/worse than callers about phone service, appliance repair, etc?

Asked by dan79 over 9 years ago

It really depends on the part of the country and the issue. I will say that callers about cell phone issues and internet issues are usually the worst. Because of how technology based our society has become, most people place too much reliance on those two services so if one goes out, they feel like they are cut off from the rest of the world. 

I would say if i had to pick one though, cell phone users are typically the worst. I remember one customer I spoke with who was crying when she called in and it took me ten minutes to figure out what the issue really was because I couldn't understand her. Her service wasn't working and it was the end of the world because she had been excluded from some party that she "NEEDED" to be at. The reality of the problem? She had accidentally turned airplane mode on and that's why she wasn't getting any calls or able to make any.

Do you think most CS reps think of it as their long-term career or just something temporary? How about you? Is it intellectually stimulating enough for you in the long run?

Asked by Snooper over 9 years ago

To be honest, when i started in this industry, it was a paycheck until i decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Having still been undecided in what I want to do with my life, I have continued to atleast better myself in the industry I do work in, so that hopefully i will come across something that will stimulate me long term. I enjoy the person to person interaction but I do not feel this is something (for me) that is a lifetime career. I still have yet to meet one person that does. Everyone that I have come into contact with in my work has fallen into the position because they needed a job and just never left because of one reason or another. Being a phone rep for the rest of your life (in most business sectors) doesn't pay even to the middle of the middle class and I have a wife who is a stay at home mother for our son so we definitely struggle financially. Getting into management does provide a pay increase but it definitely lacks the mental stimulation i'm looking for as well. So while I will definitely try to advance my career in this industry so that if nothing else i have the management experience on my resume when I do find what I want to do with my life, I have no intention of staying for the rest of my professional life.

I've heard that a lot of startups are hiring really well-educated college grads and paying them a lot, reasoning that customer service is often a client's most lasting impression of a brand. What do you think, and is it something you see spreading?

Asked by Brooke over 9 years ago

I have heard of this, and I'm glad you asked!

In my first supervisor position, i was working for a cell phone company and I hired a young man who was 26 and had a bachelors in business management. I was 21 and had been in the industry for 1.5 years (ish) and had been a manager at a restaurant before that. He didn't make it through training. He was so knowledgeable he wasn't able to change to doing things the way the company did and he was very difficult to try and help develop because he felt his degree made him in a higher position over myself and the other supervisors. He was, by definition, overqualified to sell cell phones. Weird, right?!

Having a degree in any field is a fantastic accomplishment. I'm working on one right now. But without the work experience in our industry, its a major shock and few can handle it. A young lady i worked with until recently left the company because despite having an accounting degree and us working with loan applications, she felt her knowledge wasn't being utilized to its potential. She was bored.

I think it has potential in certain lines of business (Google and Amazon are probably big companies taking advantage of the college grads) but most businesses, this would cause more harm then good in my opinion. The term "data dumping" or overloading a customer with information is generally more harmful then helpful in our industry for one simple reason. Time is money. The second cell phone company I worked for found that an average call at Resolve the issue, move on to the next. That's what we do. The more we talk, the more issues WE create.