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Reply To: Shifting Waste – service

Chris McCoy


I just stumbled across this site by accident, but I’d like to join in. I don’t really know anything about the call center industry, but let me relate a short story to you:

I called a major car rental company recently. I was presumably connected to one of their call centers to handle my booking requirement. I wanted to rent a car overseas, and I had an idea of the type of car I wanted. The person I was speaking to me could tell me the exact availability and pricing in the city I was travelling to. I couldn’t remember my arrival time, but that was no problem. He took my flight number, and immediately knew what time I would pick up the car.

Then, things got a little difficult. I have a six month old son and a two year old daughter, and I needed car seats for them. But the booking person was not able to advise me on the availability of car seats. Worse, he didn’t know that different types of car seats were needed for each of my children, because of the difference in ages. Worse still, he couldn’t help me when I asked about the legal requirements in that country for child restraints.

His suggestion was that I discuss this with the representative when I arrived to pick up my car. I was expected to travel 4000 miles without even knowing if I would be able to drive away from the airport!

I finished the call with a bad impression of the company, but whose fault was it? I can’t blame the person I spoke to; he was very courteous and as helpful as he could be. So, it has to come down to one of two things. Either, the product he was selling (car rental) is not clearly defined within the company’s business. Or, that definition has not been communication to the staff taking the bookings.

I reckon it’s the second reason. But isn’t this all too common? If you phone a call center and you have a standard enquiry which follows their scripts nicely, then all goes well. If you ask anything non-standard, they’re lost. I don’t think it’s a problem with the people. It must be something to do with the way they are trained.