The call centre conundrum

The call centre conundrum

No doubt, most of you, our readers, get frustrated when you try to get in touch with a large company or government department in the UK – I know I do! If it’s not bad enough trying to find the number to call in the first place, then once you get through you are faced with what appears to be a never ending choice – all you seem to hear is ‘press 1 for this service’, press 2 for that service’ and so on.

Eventually, and no doubt with the patience of Job, you manage to find the option you want and so you press the appropriate number just waiting to hear that friendly voice of a call centre operative whose sole reason for being is to help you, the customer! But no, your hopes are dashed when you are faced with even more automated options (by which time your cup of tea is getting cold) until after what seems like hours, yet again you have to find the option you are looking for.

Hurray, you say, I’m nearly there (but you might be somewhat poorer for the amount of time the phone call is taking when you get your phone bill) then you are heartened by the words

‘We are now transferring you to one of our operators who will be with you shortly.’

Where was I? – that’s no doubt the phrase you use some 10 minutes later when you finally hear the voice of another human being on the end of the phone line – anyway, quickly remembering what it was you called about you get ready to speak – only to find that in most cases you can’t hear the operative clearly – that’s either because there is a lot of background noise emanating from the call centre itself – or because you find you have been connected to a person in Mumbai or some other far off destination.


As you get older, your hearing naturally becomes impaired, and it is more and more difficult to hear people clearly on the telephone, especially if they are speaking accented English.

And let’s be clear about this, I’ve nothing against the people personally, after all they are only trying to do the job for which they have been employed, but I’m sure you all know what I mean!

Anyway, there appears to be a chink of light at the end of this tunnel and perhaps the policy of outsourcing call centres overseas is about to change – well certainly in one of the companies you all know very well!

So, let’s applaud the recent announcement that BT promises to answer more than 80% of its customers’ calls in the UK by the end of 2016 and plans to increase this number further in the years to come. The implications of this announcement are even more significant as the company has created more than 1,000 jobs in the UK in preparation to meet this commitment.

In my view, BT should be applauded for making these efforts to improve its customer service, after all we are all very quick to criticise, but let’s, for once, give praise where it’s due – so well done BT – and let’s hope that they prove to be one of many other companies that make this decision in the future.

Please do tell me what you think! Now, where’s that electricity bill I need to query?


By Charlotte Courthold