The call centre computers went down today. Only for a short time so it wasn’t too bad. It happens from time to time. We’re stuck answering the phone but can’t do anything on the system. The managers always come round with the inevitable ‘call-back’ sheets. I very rarely write anything on them. I try to do my best to answer queries without the computer. It’s not always possible. But I do manage to handle quite a few of the calls without the need to call people back.
The best time of course is when the phone lines go down. That is a rare occurrence and greeted with great enthusiasm and a round of cheers when it happens.
Most of the time the customers are actually understanding when we have computer problems. There are those who see it as an opportunity to have a go at us. And, of course, there are those who just aren’t bothered.
CUSTOMER: Could you look at my payments and dates please?
ME: I sorry but our computer systems have just gone down. I’m not able to do anything at the moment. Can’t call anything up at the moment.
CUSTOMER: You’ll need my policy number won’t you?
CUSTOMER: I’m looking at some of the policies on the website and would like further details.
COLLEAGUE: I’m afraid our computer systems have just gone down so I’m not able to get on the internet at the moment.
CUSTOMER: Oh! What a lame excuse. Just because you can’t be bothered to answer my questions.
COLLEAGUE: The computer system is down. I can’t access the internet.
CUSTOMER: Don’t bother yourself. I’ll go elsewhere.
At other times the computer is so slow that I’ve come close to putting my fist through the screen. We’ve just had our computers updated and they’ve got slower than normal, as well as kicking us out of a system while being in the middle of updating a record. I often wonder if computers have made our lives harder rather than easier.