Customer Care Call Centres

Customer Care Call Centres

Do you really

think I care?

The vexed subject of Customer Care Call Centres, which is a natural transition from the opening remarks on “Merve’s Musings” there follows a few observations of my own real-life interactions which I would guess are pretty universal.

Without commissioning any expensive or unnecessary survey on this grand title, I would imagine there is probably common agreement that one crucial word missing from this seemingly empathetic title – and that word is “couldn’t”. Pretty clear where it fits, but if you would like to be a bit creative with something even more precise then please feel free.

The routine is all pretty standard really. Bracing myself for an ongoing exercise in frustration bordering on thoughts of becoming an axe murderer before even dialling the relevant number, I never the less decide to become a temporary masochist.

Taking the deepest of breaths and plunging right in, one enters the surreal world of electronic voices and choices. This normally starts with a non-apologetic welcome informing you that they are far too busy to be bothered with my call at present so I’ll have to wait. Adding insult to preliminary injury this opening gambit is supplemented by the barefaced lie that my call is actually important to them !

The next right of passage is being confronted with an ever bewildering selection of numbered options that I either don’t understand or just don’t fit. Having been electronically reprimanded for not making any selection at all, the inevitability of the approaching black hole arrives quicker than one can utter the words – “I just wanna speak to a real live person”. Off we go into ever-increasing circles of ending back where we started or, being randomly cut off, and having to endure the complete agony all over again.

One of the more creative ways that Customer care Call Centres cut a client off is to actually, miracle of miracles, get you through to a human being only to be told that “this is not the right department, I’ll transfer you”. Before being able to implore whoever it is to “please don’t do that”, you are confronted with a dead phone line, soon to be replaced by the inevitable dialling tone, and the whole circus starts over yet again !


A recent experience whilst waiting in that Call Centre equivalent partner in crime, a Client Services queue, in one of our major Banks was as bizarre as it was amusing. Name withheld to protect the guilty, although why I’m not sure.

Starting to suffer the onset of rigamortis in a sadistic corporate invention designed precisely for that purpose, I and my fellow queuing clients were “privileged” to witness an incident that was right out of the best of Fawlty Towers. The stressed-out lone Client Service assistant out of the 4 standard closed stations next to her, eventually gave up staring into her screen and punching interminable non-respondent keys. She resorted to forcefully picking up the phone, and guess what ? Even Basil Fawlty couldn’t write this script – called her own Bank’s Customer Care Centre !

What transpired was not only beyond belief but uncannily predictable. Role reversal at it’s very best, and you may well be able to guess most of it apart from the final comment as the phone went down in complete disgust – “this is ********* impossible !” I kid you not. The entertainment value was absolutely priceless.


I have been a South African registered Tourist Guide for some 24 years, and also developed my own Tour Operating Business in keeping with sound business principles. I can help you with all of this.

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