Most Australian companies if they’re large enough have many of their call centres overseas. I guess economics of having it outside of Australia keep the prices competitive. But there is nothing more frustrating than the silent pause and crackle  to signify that your call has gone off to  another country. Sometimes it can be horrendous trying to contact an Australian company as you sift through their scripts on their website to try and find a contact phone number. In many cases and possibly the most frustrating is when your first point of contact is a robot pretending to be a human.

It is interesting to watch how we interact with these robots. I catch myself being polite asking them sincere questions and expecting to get an intelligent answer.  They then decide as they listen to your problem, that you do not quite qualify for a human voice. Then hopefully you finally find your way to the last link in the chain by enduring that initiation. (I think the company is hoping you have just given up by now) Now you are finally at the third leg, at least you think you are talking with a human, but how can you be sure as it is still a text conversation.

The other day I was calling a credit card hotline of one of our premier Australian businesses  and after a long ring, the phone was answered. What sounded like a russle of leaves was in fact someone searching for their phone under papers when they have been woken up in the middle of the night. At first, I thought you’ve got to be joking. I’m imagining this. But when roosters started crowing in the background, I knew that this wasn’t a dream.

I was asking important questions about my credit card with a young lady in a village in the Philippines. She was polite enough but the whole situation was just ridiculous. Just how far are these companies willing  to fall for the sake of profit and what a relief when get you short waiting times and someone that you can clearly understand to answer your problems.

Nothing beats personal service, special service to make someone feel good. The problem is not with the people, in fact it can be embarrassing as you explain your first world problem, with someone that most probably lives in a third world country and when you are dealing with a company paying these phone responders on the end of line in the Philippines pittance just so the company can make a profit.

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