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Call queuing

198kHz
Aspiring Champion
Posts: 3,446
Thanks: 405
Fixes: 11
Registered: 30-07-2008

Call queuing

I've just been reading the thread in this section - "All our operators are busy on a call..."
I can hardly believe it - after the first post, which is a justified rant against queuing systems, the thread develops into a discussion on the practicality of providing better quality audio for 'music on hold', and whether it should be rock or classical! And then people are even seriously discussing the possibility of opting for a 'mini-quiz' instead of music!! What the (self-censored) is going on?
Are we really so inured by today's so-called call handling systems that we now accept the frustration, stress, and sheer waste of time they inflict on us? Time was that if I'd a few queries to deal with, I'd have rung my electricity supplier, insurance company, BT, tax office and the DVLA all in one morning, with no stress and plenty of time to spare. Now? One per day is quite enough.
Call handling systems are inherently evil, and we should just get rid of the lot, not pussyfoot around trying to 'improve' the invention of the devil.
Wow - I feel better for that.
And credit where credit's due - to Plusnet for being one of the few large organisations to have a geographic number.
Remember you are unique - just like everyone else
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Call queuing

those queuing systems are loathsome.  resorting to pen and paper might be slower, but it generally gets better results with a lot less frustration.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Call queuing

I made a call to the Sheffield centre yesterday nearly 12 min, but not shown on my phone list, is this treated as a Homephone to other Plusnet and hence free?
paulby
Grafter
Posts: 1,619
Registered: 26-07-2007

Re: Call queuing

@pierre_pierre
I asked the same question a while back and the answer was "No, they're not counted as PN to PN."
However, it looks like the call updating is slow again - I've had no updates to the call list since Tuesday (and we made a few calls yesterday).
sassy62
Grafter
Posts: 139
Registered: 22-08-2008

Re: Call queuing

Quote from: artificer
those queuing systems are loathsome.  resorting to pen and paper might be slower, but it generally gets better results with a lot less frustration.

If you think Plusnet is bad ..try ringing Sky...how many menus do you have to go throughHuh..then you get 'your nearly done' (but you aint!!!!!)...and the proces rolls on...worst part about it..your paying 8 pence a minute for the call!
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: Call queuing

As someone who has to sit behind one of these queuing systems (one of the people that picks up when you get to the top of the queue for at least part of my job)  I do have to explain something here.
Call distribution systems work by hunting for a free extnsion when someone rings up, if all of the tech support/customer service agents are busy it would just lead to you getting the message that the number is busy so that would leave you with two choices:
1. Kepp redialling like a naniac in the hope of getting through (I'm sure you would be fed up with this too and would vent your anger on a forum or in days of old via a letter to a customer service manager, director or chief executive.
2. Engage ring back which only lasts for 45 minutes and disengages itself without letting you know and costs you 10p.
Now depending on the industry, some calls can take a long while to resolve (one call I had took 2 hours as had to wait for software to install on a very slow machine with a Windows installation that was past its best) but people don't conspire to keep you on hold for as long as possible but you would also be frustrated if your issue was not dealt with thoroughly when you did get through wouldn't you?
So yes I share your frustration and the boot is well and truly on the other foot when I have to ring my bank or whoever but as products and services in any sector become more complex, the support needs increase and so these systems are necessary unfortunately.
Plusnet have been good on the couple of occasions I've had to ring (very quick to answer) and there's always the ticketing system.
hadden
Grafter
Posts: 486
Thanks: 2
Registered: 27-07-2007

Re: Call queuing

I think some organisations with call handling seem to think that call waiting is an acceptable standard feature instead of a fall back procedure.
If they wanted to indicate that they were trying, they should be able to boast about the percentage of calls that are answered with no waiting time (and the wee sma' oors don't count).
If all their incoming calls have waiting time then the system is not working for the customer and is more like call mishandling.
Announcing the estimated waiting time for a call, while better than nothing, is no real solution and is just an admission of failure on their part.
To refer to the OP's point I don't think Call Handling systems are "inherently evil", but can exhibit "anti-social behaviour" when they have been possessed by a Call Waiting demon. There's a thought. I wonder if a call centre can be served an ASBO for ignoring folk.
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: Call queuing

I can only refer to my own professional experience (I don't work for PN or any ISP btw but do work in a software and online service support environment), we do all we can to answer calls quickly so people aren't left hanging around but its also important that customer queries are answsered thoroughly and where issues need to be escalated to developers we take the time to get the info we need.
Unfortunately, with the best will in the world there will always be times when there is more demand (calls) than there is spare staff to answer (supply), where I work everyone including management jumps on the phones when needed to keep wait times down as much as we can but sadly in customer service/tech support environments demand can fluctuate so it can be difficult to decice how many staff are needed on duty at a specific time of day, add to that if you have a service or network failure than people will hit the phones almost instantly and you will then of course be in a situation where demand outstrips supply even if you bring more staff in it will take some time for them to physically arrive and login to the line of business systems they need to help the customer.
So I can see things from both ends of the line (excuse the pun)
198kHz
Aspiring Champion
Posts: 3,446
Thanks: 405
Fixes: 11
Registered: 30-07-2008

Re: Call queuing

OK, I'm not so mad now. I appreciate your comments 'from the other side', techguy, and I'll accept that as things stand these systems have to exist. I do think though that some organisations are just taking the p***, especially the 0870 variety. Having said that, one of the worst is the BT 150 system.
My experience of exchange switching is limited to Strowger and TXE2, so are there any System X/Y folk around who can address this:
If there weren't any customer-based call handling systems, and the 'ring back' facility was not limited to 45 minutes, would the system cope with the number of 'ring back' requests?
Remember you are unique - just like everyone else
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: Call queuing

I hate them every bit as much as you do 4Candles and totally agree about the 0870 rip off (particularly if you work in a place like me where the call records from your extension are examined with a magnifying glass and you have to call the bank from your mobile)