We have all undergone a call centre experience – and the word undergone is apt, given that the pain and tedium can make the experience akin to a visit to the dentist, but without the fresh feeling at the end. Service organisations love them though, and for good reason; they offer an efficient, structured and consistent way (for them) to handle a large volume of customer enquiries.
All our customer requests are slightly different and, as such, we need to be guided through the process effectively, something call centres are good at. They also have established structures and metrics to manage them such as call volume counts, time-to-answer, and sales conversions. These frameworks allow companies to exert a large degree of control over the customer interaction; we are subject to dedicated opening hours set by the business, IVR directing the flow customer traffic, having to self-select an issue and choose from a menu delivered by an automated voice, or worse, being asked to vocalise the issue ourselves to a blankly, uncomprehending, synthesised voice.