Call centers are terrible and have singlehandedly ruined legitimate customer service in America. I’ve had two terrible experiences in the past two weeks with them, both situations where my experience as a customer should have been simple and should have taken a few minutes tops, but instead turned into multi-day affairs solely because I had to go through telephone support call centers.
The main problem is that the people that staff them are very, very stupid.
Call centers are very low-wage, low-intelligence/education jobs, and they tend to attract only the dregs of society as employees in the first place. Criminal records, no high school education or basic G.E.D. tend to be par for the course. Even worse, the types of people that are able to stick it out and actually become long-term employees at these places are those that are possessed of a special sort of brain-dead stupidity, a zen-like ability to literally turn off the human part of their minds so that they can endure the monotony and constant workload of incoming calls. These people are somehow less than human, and they’re the ones that you’re going to be dealing with when you call up.
We all know that everything is scripted when you talk to someone at a call center - everything is a prompt on a screen, because their complete lack of intelligence means that they cannot be trusted or allowed to actually solve problems or practice any shred of autonomy. And with such poor education, their reading ability is usually stunted somewhere around the first grade level, so listening to them attempt to read off the prompts on their screen is a strange mixture of hilarious and infuriating at the same time:
The worst and most insulting aspect of the entire thing is that in 2008, with interactive web pages and so on, the only reason that somebody would need to call a customer service call center in the first place is for some sort of special circumstance that isn’t covered by the standard answers, forms, and rules on the website or on the script. This leaves the gaping yokel on the other end of the phone trying to apply completely irrelevant options on their script to your nuanced problem or question, which increases frustration and confusion for everyone involved.
If I had a simple, easy-to-fix situation, I wouldn’t need to be calling you in the first place! That’s why I’m calling, because the current rules and concepts in place do not apply to my situation and I need to talk to a human to get it sorted out!
The worst part is that these sample people, who are so ignorant and untrustworthy that they must read off of pre-prepared scripts like human robots, are actually given control over “accidentally” disconnecting your call, transferring you to other departments, putting and leaving you on hold with no intention of every picking back up, and so on. And they do this constantly and vindictively, or even when you just have a problem that doesn’t fit neatly into the script on their screen which, once again, is the entire reason that anyone would call a customer service call center in the first place. They’re so inhuman and undeserving of basic autonomy in the workplace that they’re confined to scripts that prevent them from any personal input or problem solving, but then they’re given control over disconnecting and transferring calls!? And once you “accidentally” get transferred to another department, you have to tell your whole situation all over again and then the same thing happens. Or you get disconnected and you have to go through the entire phone menu again and wait 15 minutes for a person to answer before repeating everything outlined in the previous paragraph once again.
Something must be done about this. It is literally ruining American business from the customer standpoint.