It’s bad enough when your utility’s customer service desk lines are dead in the middle of a crisis. But what if your call actually comes through? And what if the customer service rep you’re talking to panics when you become assertive in making your complaint? What if he/she swears at you?
This was exactly what happened with PLDT‘s helpdesk in this incident as cited on Jepoy’s Captain’s Log. You can download the WAV file here. It’s either recorded by the caller or this could have been from the call center’s archived calls.
Here’s the skinny:
* The caller was complaining about his DSL service being down for a full day.
* The CSR says the tech department cites software updates for the downtime, and the client should expect the service to resume after a day.
* The client asks for a rebate for the two days downtime, but the CSR is reluctant.
* The client says he doesn’t want to pay for service not rendered, and utters a swear-word (not directed at the CSR).
* The CSR responds, swearing at the client.
* Client gets angry–while still calm–at the CSR for cussing.
* CSR pleads for the client not to get angry, *claiming she did not swear*.
* After the client reminds her that *she indeed cussed*, she responds she only said that because the client swore at her.
* Client says he just swore in general, but did not direct it at the CSR. Client asks for a supervisor.
* CSR panics and cries. She then disconnects the call.
The client was able to get the CSR’s name, during that time she had not realized her mistake of cussing at the client. I’m not sure what happened to this call center employee, but I’m pretty sure either PLDT had this on record (call centers _do_ record calls) or the client sent in a copy along with a complaint.
I don’t think the CSR intended to swear at the client, though. Maybe the cussing was an automatic reaction from hearing a swear word uttered–things like this could happen when one is under pressure, and when arguing. From stories I’ve been hearing, call center conditions are quite toxic, especially with the shifting (which changes every few weeks or so), six-day workweeks, and the generally poor labor conditions in the Philippines.
Now I understand things can get pretty stressful in call center situations, especially if the client the CSR is talking to is quite stupid and couldn’t tell a cupholder from a CD-ROM tray. But this is different. And a company’s helpdesk still does not have the right to swear at clients making legitimate complaints.
The helpdesk rep should have at least had the presence of mind to remember that she’s on the job and that she’s carrying the company’s reputation in her dealings with clients.
At the very least, the PLDT call center has probably been employing poorly-trained helpdesk personnel. Complacency? I guess so. Being the largest telecom network in the country, PLDT must have been sitting on its laurels and thinking customer service isn’t a priority.
On afterthought, I don’t think anyone has bothered to verify this incident with PLDT. For one, I don’t think I heard the word PLDT anywhere–the CSR just said “welcome to DSL helpdesk.” And it’s even possible that this was not a call in the first place, and that the conversation was simply recorded for the purpose of discrediting a company.
Does anyone have direct contact to PLDT higher-ups or at least the company (or department) that manages its call center/s? Any information would surely be helpful.