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Failing Grades for Company Call Centers' Response Times

December 26, 2012

When you have a problem and you call a utility or service company, is it asking too much that they treat you like a valued customer? In business, the customers are the determining factor in how successful the company will be.

In Israel, it’s been one and a half weeks since response time restrictions were put into place. The regulations require customer service call centers to answer all of their consumers’ calls within three minutes. It is understandable that sometimes there’s a high volume of calls and they cannot all be answered within three minutes. In such a situation, the regulation states that if a call cannot be answered within three minutes, the caller must be given the option to leave a message with a callback number.

Once the caller hangs up, they’re supposed to receive a return call within three hours. This rule currently applies to communications companies.

Included are cellular, Internet and television service providers, water utilities, providers of natural gas and the Israel Electric Corporation. Firms who provide ongoing medical support services must also abide by this new regulation.

TheMarker is a website that opened to the public in May of 2000, and offers coverage of the capital markets in Israel, as well as globally. They recently performed a response time test contacting many of the companies included in the regulation.

According to TheMarker, two of the companies – Golan Telecom, a cellular service provider and the Israel Electric Corporation – failed to comply. In a message offered by The Israel Electric Corporation, the caller was told that average wait time would be two minutes. The caller waited over six minutes with several opportunities for the caller to leave a message.

But when a second test call was made, a message was left but the call was never returned.

IEC (News - Alert) has two explanations. First, the caller didn’t say the phone number; they used the keypad and apparently the number was not recorded. The other excuse was that the call was made from a different number than the one that was left.

What I find interesting about this is that if the company could not understand the keypad numbers left, how would they know that the number was different from phone that the call was made from?

IEC made a major change, updating its outgoing message and making it clear to leave your phone number by voice.

When Golan Telecom was called, the caller waited on the line for almost 17 minutes, at which time the call was disconnected. In response to this report, Golan Telecom said it was expediting improvements to its response time.

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Edited by Braden Becker

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