I admit I’m a bit late in publishing this scandal involving the PLDT call center agent who was caught cursing a customer on tape. It has spawned into a viral case which prompted the blogosphere and other related social-networking services to capitalize on the heat of the scandal. It was uploaded in 2006 and made more than 200,000 hits and almost two hundred ratings, but nevertheless still important for those considering a service from PLDT. I certainly feel the weight of this being a customer of PLDT myself. Take note that I am dissatisfied myself and I feel betrayed by this ISP giant if I may say. You can read here my past tech rant on PLDT myDSL. PLDT certainly employs a lousy customer service and ill-equipped agents at worst.
I do not condone how the customer bullied, cursed and belittled the agent. It was wrong and downright unprofessional. It is a social and moral decay of sorts for any person to treat anybody like that. As we say, “Your right as a person stops when the rights of others begin.” The person over the phone is not a machine nor a dog – whom you can lash with shame and be stripped of dignity. However, the agent involved made the worst out of that scenario. I was a call center employee before and I knew the task and the weight of the load it carries to satisfy the needs of an irate customer. Had the agent taken control of the situation and not let her emotions cloud her judgment, it couldn’t have gone the way it went. Muting your microphone while you curse back the customer is never an option.
It is what we call “Customer Service”, not customer disservice. We must bring not our emotions over the very job which we took an oath to provide with utmost responsibility. It is a moral obligation of a CSR to assure the customer how the company is doing its best to provide quality service and meet the very needs they pay for. The bad thing here in our country, bureaucracy and personal upliftment is higher in priority than selfless customer service. It is a social norm like a lingering cancer that must be eradicated so that we as a nation can progress.
The CSR or agent could have made steps to avoid the unnecessary heated altercation with an irate and disappointed client or customer. One’s effectivity in communication is crucial in not only assuring a satisfied customer but also avoiding substancial loss of a number of dissatisfied customers for your company:
Never allow your emotion, attitude and opinion affect your conversation with the customer. Be courteous at best.
Ensure that you have acquired all the necessary info from your customer like their name, address and account details.
Do not interrupt your customer while they are speaking. Listen and analyze the issue at hand.
Show your respect and concern while establishing rapport.
Each customer is different. They may not be as technically sound as you are, nor aware of the intricacies your company provides, but never let their ignorance affect the way you handle the rights they are entitled to.
If the customer is irate, and not following the steps necessary for your support, get help from your supervisor. If your supervisor is not around, document the details of your conversation and if needed, create a ticket so that if they make a callback, their needs will be immediately attended to. In this way, you are assuring the customer that you care for their needs and may prevent any unnecessary situations to get out of hand. If the customer attacked you personally without any provocation, compose yourself and tell them that if they don’t follow your support, you have a supervisor that can attend to them. Or if they continue in swearing and cursing, and your supervisor is not around, just make them callback and create their ticket. In the case shown in the PLDT scandal, the agent is not in any position to curse back the customer even if it was accidental.
Maintain professionalism. Steer away from any irrelevant personal or emotional conversations.
Do not give out any personal information. You only represent the service your company provides. You are not the service.
Be honest and upfront with the customer. Don’t make promises nor white lies just to buy them off.
The damage has been done and nobody can stop it from spreading. May this somehow alarm the PLDT execs of how weak their customer service is, as perceived by the general public. This is a reflection of a rotten bureaucracy. Reforms should be made to ensure the quality of service provided. Do not take your customers for granted, unless you intend of losing them.