Dial H... for help!

Dial H... for help!


“Good morning sir, how may I help you?”  Well, for starters, I’m a woman and it’s 5 pm.!

The amazing thing about calling a service centre for anything as small as, well, fixing your washing machine for instance (for the simple reason that this is what I’ve been dealing with for the past 12 days) is that people are always happy to help you and it’s always “top of the morning to you Sir!”  

I live in, what I would like to think, is a fairly large metro.  However, I find myself spending the better part of nearly every morning, and most evenings, spelling out the name of my city just so I can try and describe how amazing it would feel to be able to have my clothes washed by a machine again someday soon. 

At this stage, I could probably tell what the problem is and fix it myself if I could just manage the time — between dropping the children off at school, cooking meals, feeding the dogs, getting the house cleaned, stocking up with groceries, picking the children up again, ensuring nobody is cranky or hungry (and this includes the spouse), keeping my plants alive or frankly just breathing!  However, if a sympathetic ear is all I need, there’s always the person at the other end of my phone line (usually all the way in Gurgaon) with the strong assurance that a technician will be at my doorstep in another hour’s time.

Some tips
Now don’t get me wrong, while I love what the call centre in Uttarakhand does for the livelihood of people there, there are moments where I’d also love to re-write the script they’ve been handed out to answer every call about a washing machine that refuses to spin! 

Here’s what would make a difference:

*Getting the time right — let’s make it a good morning, evening, noon or night!
*It would feel awesome to be identified as a woman — my name certainly identifies me as one!
*The less time spent ‘on hold’ before a customer service agent answers a call the better.  Old Jungle Saying:  Blood pressures are known to be lower when calls are answered faster.
*If a caller has been asked to punch in his phone number by the automated voice, maybe it’s not so important to have the phone number repeated at least three times again for the human service agent who actually finally takes the call (and it would help if a customer is not told their contact details do not exist, on the third repetition, before figuring out the agent has punched in the wrong numbers!).
*Let the tech-support people answer tech-support calls and the sales and marketing information executives stick to what they’ve been trained to do.  Because, no, the person calling to complain about a busted water filter would not be interested in a new vacuum cleaner available on installments!
*Deviating from a script might not be the end of the world as we know it.  Getting a complaint about a service centre in a certain city shouldn’t be tantamount to asking, for instance, what a certain Mr Hazare was drinking for his 12 days of fasting!

While it would be nice to sit and rant about how horrid it is to call a service centre these days, it does help also to note that most of the time these services are outsourced to companies where employees have no clue as to what the original firm had in mind as far as their “ignore all clients once they have bought your product” or whatever other corporate policy reads.

For all I know, the person manning my calls about my brilliant washing machine does have a double Master’s degree in chemistry and is stuck doing this because she is a single parent! 

So, there is still a part of me that feels bad yelling at whoever answers my call, and I always feel I might cost the person her job by asking to speak to the supervisor instead (worse if they actually do record and listen to customer-calls as the mechanical voice tells me they do every day). 

Which would explain why it’s been 12 days since my washing machine stopped working and I’m still stuck washing the family clothes and linen by hand with no help from my washing powder that advertises “dirt busters” with one soak in a bucket filled with lather (and I do not look like a million bucks once the washing is done either)!

There is just one ultimate way to beat the system, however: Hit redial on the phone and dial 1 for English!  Come to think of it, maybe there’s something symbolic about 12 days, fasting or not!  “Thank you so much for calling Sir, have a good day!”