At the moment the airline industry is in turmoil thanks to the ongoing quarantine orders, border closures and all the rest of it. Everyone’s plans have changed and one thing that is key to remember is to be nice to those serving you.
People tend to think of themselves and how things affect them and their families, which is natural. However, you also need to try to remember to take into account others as much as possible.
How Does A Call Centre Work?
Once upon a time, I worked in a call centre, dealing with account queries for an Internet Service Provider or ISP. Whenever something went wrong with billing or even with service outages, our call volumes increased markedly.
Customer service centres are staffed to handle the usual number of calls expected throughout a week. More people are on at certain times during the day, usually achieved by having various shift start times. In normal times, everything works as it should and people get dealt with after an acceptable waiting period.
It Pays To Be Nice!
Naturally when everything hits the fan, it means call volumes increase, leading to increased waiting times for the customers. This generally makes some people’s anger ratchet up as the minutes go by. Who is the target of this anger? The poor customer service agent, once they answer the call.
This is absolutely not on, as they are dealing with a new situation as much as you. After I was promoted, I relished talking to those who demanded to speak to supervisor, especially if they’d been yelling at one of my colleagues. Why would I enjoy this? People often came to me all peaches and cream, politely asking me to do this or that. Others would be screamers. Others would change their story for me as the previous one didn’t work. Either way, it was always an experience.
There’s one secret of customer service you should know, if you’ve never worked in this area. A nice person will often get what they want, whereas a screamer will often get nothing. We would literally do all we could to help the good ones, giving credits, allowing contract exits with no penalty and things like that.
The rude, arrogant, patronising and mean people? We would interpret the rules to the letter. One month into a 12 month contract and want to cancel? You were angry at me, yelled or swore? Guess what, we’ll charge you each one of those 11 remaining months. You were lovely or made me laugh? Well, we might let those 11 months go, or maybe only charge you for three. As I said, it pays to be nice!
Many airlines have notices on their web sites to only call if flights are in the next 72 hours. British Airways even has an Instagram story reminding people that most things can be done online. People in a panic are ringing the airline rather than reading the web site and helping themselves.
Either way, be nice, always be nice. Even if you’ve been holding for two hours, be nice. It’s likely the person before you or the one before that was nasty to the person you’re speaking to. Greet them, ask how their day is going, be human… not only will it be appreciated, but you will likely get the best assistance you can.
Have you ever worked in customer service? Were you also nicer to the nice people than the nasty ones? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.