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"I Want to Speak to a Supervisor" Messages in this topic - RSS

Guest


4/28/2006
Guest
How do you respond to a customer who insists on speaking to a supervisor or "someone in authority" for routine issues that an agent is capable of handling? Is it rude to refuse the transfer?

- Lynn Cherry, Skylight Financial
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Guest


5/12/2006
Guest
From a supervisor's standpoint, it can be a bit frustrating. We have so much on our plate as it is handling site needs, and (if outsourced) the needs of the client all at the same time. If a customer is requesting to speak to a supervisor, then by all means, do so. There are many times when your customer may have had a bad experience with a previous rep, whether your company or not, and needs to ensure they are being taken care of properly. One idea is to implement something to the extent of "Senior Analyst,” or “Customer Care Expert.” Both would act as a point of escalation. It would also give that extra level for the irate callers that want to speak to the supervisor's supervisor.

- Andrew Alvarez, Spherion
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Guest


6/2/2006
Guest
A customer who insists on speaking to a person with seniority is of the assumption that the agent who answered the call is not empowered to either make an informed decision or does not trust in the staff's ability to ensure that the customer query will be resolved within reasonable time. Invariably this is probably due to past experience.

It is my belief that call centre managers do not always provide staff with the confidence and assertiveness techniques they need to deliver on the customer experience.

Our response should be: My name is ????? Leave your query/ request with me and if I am not able to deliver on my service commitment to you then I will gladly get the supervisor to call you.

Or

My name is ????? Leave your query/ request with me and if I do not deliver on my service commitment to you then you are welcome to contact my supervisor directly on _________ to report bad service.

This statement enforces empowerment. Empowerment comes with accountability for which the call centre agent is responsible. We need to put the ball back into our staff's court as referring problematic customers is usually a cop out.

- Angelique Strumpher
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Guest


6/2/2006
Guest
In our small community bank call center, under 10 agents, we have just one supervisor who is not always available to take over a customer's call. In order to still provide the customer with the feel that their call is being escalated, we have developed a little trick. Instead of passing the call along to a supervisor, we just pass it to another agent. Prior to transferring the call, we quickly inform the other rep of the situation and our reasons for any decisions that we have made. The second rep simply announces themselves as "Senior Customer Service Representative," which is a made up title in our department. This way the customer feels like their call and their business is important, without making a mountain out of a molehill.

- Anonymous
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Guest


6/16/2006
Guest
Yes, I agree with your response. I was working in a call center with just 40 seats and when customers insist on talking to supervisor we just passed it to the next guy, introducing him as supervisor.

And it's most of the time done with Do Not Call (DNC) list customers, when the customer claims to be on the DNC list.

I would appreciate it if you could give us more help by providing help to improve agents, managers, etc. issues separately so that even an agent can know how he can become manager and at the same time manager can come to know about the issues of agents.

Thanks.

- Praveen
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Guest


6/16/2006
Guest
"Given a chance, I'll be glad to assist you with your query, after which if you still find the need to speak with a supervisor I will transfer the call."

- Sel
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Guest


6/27/2006
Guest
A customer/ caller who insists on being transfered to a person in authority is a person that may have had a bad experience with a rep.
I have been in the call center industry for more than five years and besides management's efforts to provide excellent service to customers, some reps just don't get it or don't want to understand what we try to accomplish.

I work in a call center with more than 256 seats and our purpose is to serve our customers' needs, so whenever someone insists on speaking to a person with seniority the procedure is the following:

"Sir/ ma'am I will be glad to assist you with your request, after which if you still need further information or assistance I will transfer you to my supervisor."

If the customer keeps on insisting he/she should be transferred immediately.

- Stanley Philippe, Datavimenca
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Guest


7/14/2006
Guest
I would caution you against making the needs of the business (the need to conserve supervisors' time, the need to handle calls efficiently and cost-effectively) more important than the needs of the customer. To refuse to escalate a calls says, "We don't have the resources to adequately address our customer's issues to their satisfaction," "Our supervisors are too busy doing other things that are important to our business (?) rather than speaking with our customers," "We don't care if you're not getting the service you want."

A request for escalation is a red flag: The caller is angry, dissatisfied, at the end of his rope. Many times there are factual issues that rep is capable of handling and many times the answer the caller gets from the supervisor is no different than the one they'll get from the rep, but the bottom line is: Is it worth losing that customer's business and having them bad mouth you to everyone who will listen because you weren't willing to escalate their issue?

- Rebecca Gibson, Magellan Health Services
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Guest


8/11/2006
Guest
I believe that if someone requests a supervisor, it is the right of that person, and the responibility of that supervisor to speak with them. I do not think it is the right of that call center worker to determine that the person just gets passed on to someone else.

- Melissa Wilkerson, Nursing Call Center
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Guest


8/11/2006
Guest
I work with a call center with over 800 inbound seats, and what we have done is have a set of highly trained and vintaged agents who handle escalated, complicated calls.

These agents are not monitored for the handle time and talk time and have been given higher levels of empowerments just like a team leader. They are also off calls during the day to call back customers. All transfers done to them are warm transfers, so they are in a better position to handle the customer. This resolves the issue of having a supervisor always available. We also provide our agents an escalation matrix which can be shared with customers so that there is no case of stonewalling customers.

- Anonymous
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Guest


9/22/2006
Guest
I feel that misrepresenting yourself as being a supervisor or senior rep when the people who hold those titles are not available is inappropriate at best. We only continue to escalate an issue for a customer if we as the "acting supervisor" don't follow through on our commitments. Then it's the organization as a whole that fails.

I agree with trying to resolve the issue before sending to a supervisor. People would be surprised at the autonomy many companies are now offering in allowing their coordinators to make these decisions.

- Anonymous
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Guest


10/6/2006
Guest
It is unconscionable for an organization to misrepresent the escalation of a call by merely passing it off to another agent when a customer demands a supervisor. There is nothing wrong with explaining to the customer, however, that "I am in a position to respond to your concern and assist you in any way that we can without the need to transfer you any further. I am sorry that you were not happy with the response to your concern, but that is what we can do for you at this time. If you are looking to escalate your call in order to obtain a different answer, I apologize, but our position will not change."

- Sahan
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Guest


10/6/2006
Guest
What an agent should do with a "I want to speak with a supervisor call" is to be empathetic to the customer and ask what the customer's needs are. Empathy helps to bring down the customer a notch or two and make a win-win situation in the end for both agent and customer. The agent can let the customer know that they can help them just as well or even better than the supervisor can help them, which can give the customer confidence in the agent resolving the matter. I don't suggest the agent to tell the customer "the supervisor will tell you the same thing I will tell you" since it would make the customer feel like the agent is being rude, and want to be transferred to the supervisor. But we must not forget that tone is everything on a call and that can really make or break the relationship customers have with the company and it's employees.

- Angie K.
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Guest


10/6/2006
Guest
I concur with the responders who recommend that the call be transferred to either an actual supervisor or to a specific group of agents designated and trained in handing these escalated calls.

Additionally, I would add the recommendation that you put metrics in place to track the frequency of these calls. These metrics should include the data elements of date, time of day, call type / gate, reason for the call, resolution (if possible) and agent transferring (again, if possible). These metrics will allow you to gauge the extent of this event and, more importantly, allow you to examine root cause to mitigate the occurrence of this request. For example, your “root cause analysis” derived from the above metrics may reveal that your agents are having difficulty addressing one particular call type. You then could / should / would take action to train and coach your agents on better handling the identified call type with the goal of reducing transferred calls. This is just one example, as your root cause analysis could actually turn up many different things, or a combination of different causes.

In short – focus on the cause of the transfer(s) and you will reap a greater return than just addressing the response.

- Rick (VP Large Financial Company / Black Belt Six Sigma / 25 yrs in call center industry)
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Guest


10/20/2006
Guest
(He asks rhetorically) If you're going to lie to the customer about another agent pretending to be a supervisor, why not just put the customer on hold and pretend that you called the supervisor and got permission to simply repeat the previously stated answer/position? In either case you're demonstrating unethical and (frankly) immoral behavior as an individual. If your company tolerates that, then they take on that guilt as well. We all know customers can be irrational and can demand more than we think they deserve. But that does not give us as reps or our employers permission to lose our own integrity. Be honest. Explain to the caller that a supervisor is not available. Offer another channel for the concern to be escalated (email, voicemail) and emphasize that you personally are eager and empowered to help right now.

- RepCare
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Guest


10/20/2006
Guest
I work in a contact center with over 600 seats. Now, being a supervisor I can say, passing the customer to a higher level is very important. A supervisor has the skills needed to know how to handle the customer. Just passing it to your neighbor who has the same phone handling skills as you doesn't make a marginal difference. How you deal with a customer makes a world of difference.

When we are extremely busy I work overtime on the phone to help with the call volume. I have numerous customers say to me immediatly upon asnwering that they wish to speak to a supervisor. With out skipping a beat I ask them to tell me the problem so I can let my superior know before passing on the call. After the customer states the problem, I tell them that its a very simple issue and I can help them out and how it can be done. Being able to take control of the call and not only calming the customer down but to leave them with the feeling that I've made a huge differece is what needs to happen.

I've taken alot of simple calls from reps who just don't handle their calls properly. Instead of stating what they can do, a lot of the time the rep will state what they can't do, and this makes all the difference. Over the course of the last few years when I've worked on the phone I've never passed a call on. If the rep handles the phone correctly the most that should be needed is a little note to the superior in regards to what's going on and what needs to happen.

Identifying and correcting reps' phone etiquette should be a top priority of any contact center, These people represent who your company is.

- Marcus Dyck, Sears Canada
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Guest


11/3/2006
Guest
I worked previously in an 500+ seat center for a major satellite company where I was one of sixty supervisors, and I currently work in a 10-seat center for a non-profit where I am the only supervisor. I concur that having another agent take the call claiming they are a supervisor, or refusing the transfer altogether are both unethical, unacceptable options. At the very least, it's poor customer service, at worst completely inhumane. I agree that agents should be empowered to handle escalated situations, but to the effect of creating less supervisor calls, not trying to handle them themselves.

- Mason Weaver, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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12/1/2006
Guest
Some great tips. To summarise the best of them;

1) Empower your agents with adequate training and strong processes
2) Create a second tier of support - Senior Reps / Supervisors, and third tier of support - Team Leaders
3) Put metrics & reporting in place to track escalations - Why are they being escalated, what was the resolution, and of course your usual handle time data. Then feed this data back into the business for improvement.
4) Ensure your Team Leaders & key people take action on that feedback!

In my opinion, your team leaders should spend more time developing staff and their careers, as well as achieving strategy goals for your contact centre. They should spend less time speaking with customers. This doesn't mean to say that Team Leader's shouldn't be "The Best of the Best" in customer service, but they can provide more value (and in the end you'll get less escalations) if their energies are applied elsewhere.

- Luke Fowler, AUSTRALIA
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12/1/2006
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I am a supervisor at one of the largest outsourced call center providers in the United States. All of our centers have an average of 400+ inbound seats. De-escalation training is very imperative in large call centers. The viewpoint and solution changes greatly when considering the size of the center.

In a small center the idea of an escalation to a supervisor of some sort is more feasible because the workload is not as heavy. In a larger call center, with many supervisors, it causes problems because other questions may go unanswered while the supervisor takes this call. Therefore, the quality of service drops, causing longer handle time and poor first call resolution statistics.

The agent should ask the customer for the information to pass along to the supervisor, while in the meantime looking at the problem themselves. If the customer's problem is within the skills of that rep (and it always should be), they then can state to the customer that it is easily fixable and can handle it for them quickly, followed by a lot of empathy to calm the customer. All call centers should have de-escalation as part of their main training of new hires and incorporated in further training later.

- Erik
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4/6/2007
Guest
I think when the customer asks for a supervisor he believes that the supervisor will do the things which the agent can't do or maybe the customer wants to hear the information from a high level just for his satisfaction, so you have to transfer him to the supervisor just to keep your customer satisfied.

- Ayman M.Abd El Monen, Xceed Contact Center
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