Disconnected? Call back.

It may seem like common sense, but calling a customer back if the call is disconnected is not a common practice in call centers. Usually, if a call is dropped, it is a good thing that lets the particular representative move on to the next call. Obviously, that isn’t how it should be.

The procedure for calling customers back may vary slightly in larger call centers, but outbound dialing is frequently enabled in smaller call centers. In small call centers, agents frequently have the ability to make calls to customers and can do rather easily. Most call centers look up customer information at one point during the call and a lot of them have caller ID to make the process of calling customers back even easier.

Calling customers back isn’t complicated. It is an easy procedure to standardize and is technologically feasible in most call centers. And, it can make a gigantic difference in the customer service experience. Besides having to avoid the hassles of calling back and waiting again, customers who receive a call back if disconnected have the opportunity to continue to work with the same representative to resolve their issue.

On the representative side, it probably takes less time for a representative to call a customer back than it does for a customer to call back, go over the entire issue with a new agent, and hopefully pick up where that customer was at before he or she was disconnected. The fewer people involved in resolving the issue, the less chance of someone overwriting someone’s work or misunderstanding what was done already.

The main disadvantage to not calling a customer back after he or she is disconnected is not well founded. If the disadvantage is that calling a customer back takes the representative off the phone for that time and doesn’t let that representative work with other customers, it is ridiculous. The representative would have been on the phone anyway. Customer service departments that care about their customers should not depend on unreliable cell phones or careless agents who may hang up on a customer accidentally to keep their call times down.

So the next time you are disconnected or you hear about a representative being disconnected from a call for one reason or another, call the customer back. It is almost sure to save time, hassle, and aggravation.

3 Responses to “Disconnected? Call back.”

  1. Paul Sweeney said:

    Jul 29, 08 at 7:57 am

    Oh dear god. There is no excuse for not calling a customer back. There is also no excuse for not calling a percentage of your customers back and asking them “did you get what you need from that call”, in a survey mechanism. Simple three questions is usually all you need. Here is a question to ask yourself: how would you feel if you were talking to a business contact and your call dropped, and he/she didn’t bother to call you back, ever? !!

  2. Tim Redmond said:

    Nov 26, 08 at 9:22 am

    From the customer perspective, we all want to receive a call back. We want to feel heard, appreciated and even more importantly, we want our issue resolved. Although you have listed the problems with not calling customers back, I can certainly list reasons why customers are not called back in several of the call centers I have worked. As a customer service rep, I know that these are not excuses at all.

    Now I will admit, all of these are subject to abuse by one or more parties including decision making executives who control the big picture.

    I used to get upset when I didn’t get a call back, but since I have worked in a call center for several years, I know that the issue is not a cut and dry issue. For all of those who think that the customer service rep is being lazy, walk a mile in our shoes.

    1. when a call drops, often another caller is on the other end. How would you feel if you just got to a rep and he/she placed you on hold to deal with a previous customer? Frankly, several times I have had a call come in after a dropped call while I’m finishing my notes and I handle that situation. When I’m finished, I try to call the customer back but get a busy signal. I look on the account only to find that they have already called back. Most customers do not wait to get a call back and it is unlikely that every dropped call is going to be followed by a break enough to call a customer back.

    2. In many call centers, a rep who calls a customer back loses, because that outbound call goes against his/her call matrix. I think that is bull, but the rep suffers for doing this.

    3. Often queues spike at anytime and dropped calls occur quite often during those time periods. Some induced by reps and others by the system. The law of averages yields that the more something is interacted, the more you have a chance of failure. Now I’m not referring to the normal times when there is a high call volume, but those special times when something seems to be wrong or different. These could be an outage in the cell network, an influx of calls on a relatively new product, or pre rollout of something new.

    4. customer service reps have no true input into the process. they are drones. They have to follow the rules or that seat will fill with someone else. Call centers have an extremely high rate of turnover, thus, overhead is always high in the customer service department.

    5. We work in an ever changing dynamic often with rules changing from week to week, yet we’re supposed to be experts in our field.

    6. To deal with a customer service rep, get to the point. We don’t need stories about your dog just to hear in the end that you need help installing windows on a computer. Customer service reps are under pressure from both the company and the customers and often without help from either side to resolve the problem. Common sense it should be common sense that a customer knows his/her account information. It should be common sense that the customer read the manual for their product. Sometimes we have to train customers on things not necessarily covered by my company.

  3. Service Untitled said:

    Nov 26, 08 at 1:26 pm

    Tim,

    Those are some excellent points and thanks for posting them. Calling customers back can certainly be difficult in a lot of call centers and you addressed many of the difficulties in your comment. Ideally, managers would create an environment in which calling the customer back would be feasible and not work against customer service representatives, but that is only true in a minority of call centers.