Mobile Phones

We’re not allowed to use our mobile phones in the call centre. It’s annoying for the staff, but it’s safer for the customers. It may sound a bit strange to people who are not familiar with the workings of a call centre.

Basically we are dealing with payment details every day. Credit cards, debit cards, direct debits. It’s a sad fact that there are some very unscrupulous people out there who would welcome the opportunity to have access to another persons bank details. Many people, myself included, have been the victim of fraud.

My company does stringent checks on people and random yearly credit checks to try and filter these type of people out. The methods used are not fool proof however, so they also try to limit the duplication methods. This includes banning devices such as mobiles or iphones that can record or scan details. We are not allowed to write bank details down or leave any type of customer details on our desks. All security measures to make things safer for the customer.

Unfortunately not every company thinks like this.

Yesterday I went into town with my parents who are in their 70’s. My mom wanted a new mobile contract. We went into a very well known mobile place. The assistants were very nice and friendly – it wasn’t at all Scary Mary. My mom chose the contract she wanted and handed over her bank details to set it up. The manager of the shop, yes I said MANAGER, stood behind the assistant and took out his mobile phone. He began writing a text while the assistant was setting up the payment details. My parents didn’t think anything of this but I was shocked.

‘Are you guys regulated by the FCA?’ I asked the assistant.

The manager answered, ‘yes. Our insurance is regulated by the FCA.’

‘I’m asking because my company is regulated and if I used my mobile phone while I was setting up payment details I would be fired.’ I pointed out.

The manager very hastily put his mobile away and tried to say it was his work phone. I don’t care if it’s his work phone. You’d think that he’d have more sense than to text while there are payment details are in front of him. Did he think that an elderly couple didn’t require any respect, or was he actually up to no good?

Make up your own mind.

I going to turn into Scary Mary, and send in a written complaint.

Full Moon Is Almost Here

It’s almost a full moon and the loonies are out in force. Loonies/looney from lunar meaning moon. Just in case you didn’t know. People in centuries past believed that the moon had an effect on the way people behaved or thought. Science of course sees this as an old wives tale. Working at the call centre and in other jobs previously dealing with the public, I have seen evidence that it is true.

Two callers yesterday told me they’d had a mailing for a policy. They both asked the price even though it is in large writing on the leaflet. One guy even insisted that the price wasn’t on there. I told him it was £12. ‘I know that. It says it on here,’ he then said. I set the policy up for him and gave him the phone number for claims.

‘What if I have an emergency?’ he asked.

‘Then you need claims.’

‘I know that. What’s the number I call?’

‘The one I’ve just given you and said was for claims.’

Another guy gave me the address of a property he wanted covered. ‘Is this were you live?’ I asked him. He said yes so I began the process of setting up the cover.

‘Can you send the documents to my office?’ he asked.

‘No problem. I just need to check the eligibility of the property first. Is this your main place of residence?’ I asked for the second time.

‘No. I rent it out.’

Or how about the caller who clearly didn’t know what she wanted.

‘Do you want the cover with or without excess?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know. What do other people do?’

‘They decided what is best suited for them first, and then go for that option.’

‘But what option do they go for?’

‘The one that suits their needs. You need to decide which option suits you best.’ I politely explained.

After several minutes of debating the options she eventually chose. I then asked, ‘would you like us to allow your tenants to call up and make a claim?’

Several minutes later she decided it was best for the agents to deal with that type of thing. We then moved on to the payment option. ‘Would you like to pay with debit or credit card or direct debit?’

‘I don’t know. What’s the best way?’

Ten minutes later I actually managed to finish setting up the policy.

I’m off today. Tomorrow is the full moon and I’m in work. I am not looking forward to it but it should be eventful nonetheless.

Rocket Science

Well here we go again. Christmas barely over and the new year not yet started, but it’s already a matter of rocket science to call us.

A very nice man rang to set up a new policy. Told me he’d already spoken to a colleague and he’d had details of the cover to read through before setting it up. No problem until I got to the payment details.

‘Can you hold while I find my card?’ He asked.

Surely if you want to take something out over the phone and you have all the details, including the price, you would know that you would need your payment details. Or at least the majority of people would. For some people it seems that this simple matter is rocket science.

Two customers asked me how to send in a cheque. Both of them had been with us for several years.

‘Same as last year,’ I said. ‘You fill out the check, attach the reply slip – making sure that your details are correct – and post it to us.’

Rocket science.


One of the most routine things we do in the call centre is renew a policy. We do many renewals each day. Customers even ring in if their policy is on automatic renewal, even though we send out documents a few weeks before renewal telling them it will be automatically renewed. Here’s a few of the more memorable calls:

CUSTOMER: I’ve had a letter. Am I through to the right place?
ME: I don’t know. Maybe if you tell me what the letter is and why you are calling I might be able to answer that question.

CUSTOMER: I want to speak to HR about my renewal.
ME: You want to speak to Human Resources about your renewal? They employ people. They don’t know anything about your policy.
CUSTOMER: Well I need to speak to them about my renewal. Or somebody at least.

ME: The policy will automatically renew next year unless you tell me differently.
CUSTOMER: Does that mean I get a year free?
ME: No.

CUSTOMER: Here’s my card number. Just renew my policy.
ME: How about giving me your address first so that I know what I’m renewing and who I’m renewing it for.

CUSTOMER: I’ve had my renewal and I just wanted to let you know that I’m posting my cheque tomorrow.
ME: Thank you for letting me know. Sorry you had to wait in a call queue for 10 minutes to tell me. Unfortunately we have a lot of people phoning today for no reason.

CUSTOMER: I’ve had my renewal. It’s gone up by 33.4%. What do you say about that?
ME: It hasn’t gone up. It’s the same price as last year. Check your bank statement.

No business can continue without customers. But us agents would certainly have more peace of mind without them.

Are You Listening?

When customers phone us they often have an idea of what we are going to say, or more often an idea of what they want us say. Sometimes it can take several minutes before we can get through to the customer with the actual facts. Here are a few examples:

ME: Your policy was renewed at the end of November, but payment will be requested at the end of December because you pay a month in arrears.
CUSTOMER: Has payment been taken yet?
ME: No. Payment will be requested at the end of December.
CUSTOMER: Why hasn’t the payment cleared? It’s not on my bank statement.

CUSTOMER: I went to the bank to pay the renewal but they said they couldn’t do it. They told me to call you.
ME: We don’t have the facility to pay at the bank. You can renew over the phone by debit/credit card or direct debit. Or send a cheque/postal order in the post. Would you like me to renew it for you now?
CUSTOMER: Yes. I don’t have a credit card.
ME: I can do it on direct debit for you.
CUSTOMER: I want to pay cash at the bank.

ME: Next year your policy will be renewed automatically unless you tell me you don’t want that to happen.
CUSTOMER: Does that mean I get a free years cover?

ME: I need the policy holders permission before I can discuss the policy details with you.
CUSTOMER: Oh. But when is it due to be renewed?
ME: I need the policy holders permission before I can discuss the policy details with you.
CUSTOMER: Well it’s due for renewal on 5th of December, so can you renew it now and I’ll pay for it?

Listening is an art it seems.

Margaret Road Wednesbury WS10 7QT 07505067286 By appointment only, so please contact me to discuss available times.