The Straits Times published a reply from Singapore Airlines, promising to improve the responsiveness of their call center.
This problem is faced not only by Singapore Airlines but also by many large organisations in Singapore, i.e banks, telephone companies, airlines and government agencies. The key causes of the poor response are:
a) large volume of incoming calss
b) outsourcing of calls to third countries
c) mis-use of technology that frustrates the customers, e.g. automated voice response systems
d) poor method of handling the calls
A good example of a responsive call center is NTUC Income. I called 63 462663 (63 INCOME) a few days ago. The call was answered by a human voice on the 3rd ring. The staff recognized me, as my mobile phone was registered with them. They have a simple verification of caller.
I asked this question, "I have several policies with NTUC Income. Can you check if any of my policies are overdue and not paid?" This question, which required a search of life, general and health insurance policies (kept in different databases), was answered in 1 minute, "All your policies are paid up to date".
NTUC Income achieved the global award (#1) for innovation and customer service 4 years ago, when I was the CEO. It was achieved through the innovative use of low cost technology backed by a practical, common sense approach in providing customer service. I am happy to note that the high standard of customer service of the call center has persisted over the years.
Tan Kin Lian
Note: If you deal with an organisation with a bad call center, ask them to consult me at email@example.com.
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