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Customer service waiter

"Hello, I'm Nick and I'll be your customer service contact"
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It has been said that a call centre is 'the best way to insult your customers'. The Customer service waiter would eliminate the need to have such big centres.

As a customer subscribes to a service (or buys a product), they are assigned a customer service operator in the way waiters are assigned in restaurants.
Then, when that person calls for support, they enter the extension for their customer service waiter.

This would allow customer service staff to build up a rappor with their clients, so they could make conversation during a call, and a history of problems could be established.

Each CSW would have a client base of around 20 people. There would be a few hundred employees working for the customer service department, either at home or at work.

NickTheGreat, Sep 05 2002


       Great idea... BUT... the turnover in call centers or other customer service / support jobs is much to high to allow this to be practical. The system would report "your service waiter is no longer with the company, a new service waiter has been assigned" far too often.   

       I have also tried to get techs to make copious notes into a customer database and then setup the system to retrieve the customer record from caller ID while the caller is holding for the "next available rep". This also met with very limited success.   

       The best idea I have seen lately was the general rating of the personality or other attributes of the caller. I'll have to see how that works next time I have to manage such a beast.
James Newton, Sep 05 2002

       I wonder why they don't just automatically log all tech support telephone conversations. Perhaps it is the disclaimer(This call is being recorded...) that would spook paranoid people from calling in, or demanding that the recording mechanism be turned off.
BinaryCookies, Sep 06 2002

       I think that this is widely baked, as is, by many customer services call centers. An interesting twist, IMO, would be to create a central call center who did all your calling for you - just call up your personal waiter, tell him the problem, ask him the question, and he gracefully accepts his mission, and calls you back after he's got through (after being on hold for half an hour) with all the information you could possibly want.
yamahito, Sep 06 2002

       BinaryCookies: In large part because it would be a huge amount of recordings, enough so that it would likely never be used, or useful. Most places I call anymore have the 'This call may be recorded' thing going.   

       Yamahito: The problem there is that unless you plan to give your waiter the computer or whatever, he's going to have to keep pestering you. It's necessary to know what the computer is doing when prodded certain ways to fix it.   

       StarChaser the ex-Tech Support Tyger.
StarChaser, Sep 07 2002

       your call will be forwared to Hellen Waite
batara, Sep 08 2002

       The main reason why big recording or text archives of previous calls do not work is because of the time it takes for a new rep to "come up to speed" on a customers history. Accurate summary is key, and that seems to be a brains-beauty thing... you can have accurate or you can have summary, but you can't have both.
James Newton, Sep 09 2002

       Most Customer Relationship Managment Systems hold this kind of information and can be accessed by everyone, so in theory your call should be on there instantly (you know all the tapping sounds thats them entering your every word!). This then means that although you may not get the same rep when you call back the agent should be able to access all your details, previous problems etc.
lolo, Sep 09 2002

       It depends on the call management system. I had five of the damn things. One of them made it easy to find the previous calls, two of them would do it but it was hard, the other three had little or no history.   

       Call centers do not always have your history available.
StarChaser, Sep 11 2002

       1 + 2 + 3 == 5 now, does it? Blimey, best start that maths course again...
NickTheGreat, Sep 11 2002

       Call centers can, to a limited degree, route calls to the same phone during the same day. If a person calls in four times, it is somewhat likely they will get the same rep and such, speeding up call times because the rep will probably remember some of the details from the call. However if the notes are good enough, anyone should be able to pick up the call and take care of it based on the caller's ID or confirmation number.   

       Customer Service Waiters goes completely against the grain of the Call Center Concept (CCC) which implies that a group of underpaid undertwenties must be made to work as hard as possible by taking calls as needed, when needed, at all costs. There is sometimes no way to keep up such a high speed, and specifically pick the rep to be used. And thus turnover is high in such conditions.
polartomato, Sep 11 2002

       For retail, how would this be better than having my call go to the first available call rep? I would have to wait longer to talk to my assigned waiter, and other call reps would be sitting around.   

       However, many corporate (not consumer) sales call centers have reps assigned to large customer accounts. So when purchasing agent Joanie calls her supplier to order more industrial-grade starch, she always talks to Kim, who has a good idea what she wants and in what sort of containers, building up an excellent rappor(t). But Kim also has other customers.
ConsultingDetective, Jan 30 2004


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