THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The cure for call centres

I have a small loan with MBNA bank and the last payment by direct debit was missed because of a mess up with my current account bankers at HSBC. So yesterday my mobile phone rings and its another call centre in the Indian sub-continent. They have been very lucky to catch me. MBNA: “Hello Mr Barrow, this is (undecipherable) from MBNA and I would like to speak to you about your loan. Before I begin could you please help me to clear you through security and tell me your date of birth.” CB: “How do I know who you are?” MBNA: “Excuse me?” CB: “Well how do I know that you are really MBNA – you could be anybody.” MBNA: “Well I am from MBNA and I have all your details in front of me on the computer.” CB: “Well tell me some of the details so that I know who you are.” MBNA: “Well to do that you have to go through my security check and tell me your date of birth.” CB: “If I tell you my date of birth and you are not really MBNA I would just be giving you more information.” MBNA: “But I already know your date of birth Mr Barrow.” CB: “Well why are you asking me then?” MBNA: “To check you through security.” CB: “But how do I know who you are?” The conversation carried on like that for a while – I was walking down the street and had nothing else to do – they were paying for an international call to my mobile (ouch) and I enjoyed listening as she frantically ran her fingers down flow charts in a hopeless attempt to know what to say next. After a while I did her give her my DOB but refused to clear the outstanding payment by giving her my credit card details over the phone – the cheque is in the post. When will corporates realise that outsourcing their call centres to the Far East just makes customers irritated and ready to move on somewhere else? For now – I’m going to enjoy wasting their time and money.

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