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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Your call is important to us, but you need to wait!

All our operators are currently on the phone. Your call is extremely important to us. Your call will be attended to in the order in which it was received. You may wish to wait or you may call back later.

You may remember the above sentences byheart if you happen to speak to call centers quite often. Almost all the banks are using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. Although this was welcomed initially, people have started developing a hate towards it in recent times. Invariably, the waiting time is quite lengthy and you seldom get to speak to the operators within a reasonable amount of time. Further since it is a virtual queue, you hardly get to know how ahead / behind you are in the queue. Based on your judgement, you need to take a call whether it is worth waiting or is it wise to call back later. Although IVR is considered technologically sophisticated, it is increasingly being considered as a bureaucratic system. I have had cases where I was made to wait for 1 hour to reconfirm a flight booking. (I made the mistake of reconfirming it over phone rather that doing it online).

If the banks / call centers gave out a virtual token number or gave you some idea about the average waiting time it might give you a clearer picture of the situation and help you arrive at a decision. In the absence of such a system, you might even hang up just before your call is attended to by the Customer Service Officer. During a recent call to one of the banks, they noted down my phone number and offered to call me back within 2 hours. Irrespective of how simple / complicated your query is, they are doing this to cut down the waiting time. However, if your query can be resolved by the Automated Voice Response system, your query will be handled immediately by the system. If you need to speak to the Customer Service Representative to resolve your query, they would take your number and offer to call you back within two hours.

This looks like a welcome move provided you have the patience to wait for two hours. If you are doing an urgent Internet banking transaction / ATM transaction, chances are that you would want a quick fix solution rather than a courteous reply that they will call you back within two hours. I guess this move is just an experiment to see the response before they decide to roll it out in a full-fledged manner.


  • It is really irritating when you wait for half an hour and then a stupid guy with vacuum in his head answers the phone.

    By Blogger Cibot, at 6:38 PM  

  • You can't help it.. It counts for a really good percent of India's GDP!!
    The call center video posted earlier was just awesome...!!..:-)

    By Blogger Ajit, at 8:38 PM  

  • By Blogger பரி (Pari), at 11:02 PM  

  • Hey,
    Whenever I called ICICI bank in Mumbai, along with the message that I'm on hold they also gave the approximate time on hold. Pretty useful info!
    Also I've noticed, atleast in Mumbai, that it is very easy to get to a human being if calls made before normal office hours.

    By Blogger Jammy, at 12:20 PM  

  • Believe it or not, when you call Railway Enquiry of South Central Railway (from Hyderabad atleast), it gives you a waitlist number if you're in a queue (something like 'Your position now is 8' and it keeps counting down till someone attends to you)! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that. :-)

    By Blogger Priya, at 3:44 PM  

  • voice mail? check out what God has to say

    By Blogger smiley, at 9:53 PM  

  • One of the banks in UK provide me the approx waiting time when I call up.

    Another one offers to take my number and they wd call back.

    Unfortunately, i don't bank with either of these two.

    By Blogger Chakra Sampath, at 2:04 PM  

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