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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Why helplines are so unhelpful?

    Do you think helplines are really useful? Have you found the helpline of any service of value?

    No, there is no difference between Government sector and the private sector. Both are terrible in this regard. Both are unhelpful, some people say that private companies are far worse in this regard.

    I am talking about the helplines and the helpline officials. First thing first. It is sometime very difficult to connect the helpline. Thereafter, the helpline gives very complex instructions. At last, if you are fortunate enough, the helpline attending officials ask so many details, the answers of which require minute study of various documents. Thereafter, after listening to your grievances, they give such a reply which doesn't have any head or tail. If you repeat the question, they would repeat the same answer. If you insist on the proper answer, they will blame you for the mistake and finally ask you to e-mail a screenshot of the problem or similar other things. After receiving the e-mail, they will send again an irrelevant reply and if you persist, after three or four such e-mails, the problem will be sorted out.

    Why don't these officials are properly trained? More importantly, why don't the company managements give complete information to the helpline officials, so that they can deal with the grievances properly?
  • #639534
    Yes I agree with the author that the government department helplines are not really helpful. Earlier I had the BSNL land line connection and net attached to it. Normally it was trouble free but when the trouble sets in due to some technical problem, the net goes off and the helpline is the hell. One has to keep on call and the res-ponder wont lift at all. Like wise electricity toll free number, in case of power failure, if we call the ring goes on and there is no attendant. Only on the day of inauguration such phones are attended and that too demonstrated on the stage. Even the gas refill booking on IVRS is cumbersome. Some time we are habituate to press 1 , but that is for the cancellation or withdraw from the gas subsidy "give up" option. So we have to be careful while dealing with government numbers on helpline.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #639536
    I had very bad and tough experience many times with these helplines. They ask us to type so many things and finally, when we want to connect to the executive it will take a very long time for that man to come on to the line. After he comes on to the line before hearing to us he will ask a number of questions and we have to prove our identity. By that time we will get exhausted and we will not be in a mood to ask anything. By any chance in between the talk if the line gets disconnected again you have to start from the beginning and you have to carry out the entire drill again. Anything wrong in between the entire exercise will be futile.
    always confident

  • #639542
    Mr. Mohan:There is not much difference between Government sector and the private sector. Both are equally unhelpful. Even after, when you manage to talk to the official, he/she will give some terrible reply or blame you for the problem. These people are not properly trained, or all necessary information are not available with them.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #639548
    Helplines have a limited scope. They will not solve our problems so easily as we visualise.

    The executives working in these centers are trained for certain things only and beyond that they will simply say that they will be forwarding it to their higher ups for necessary action.

    The connecting system of these centers is automated and you can reach them only after a long sequence of pressing the numbers. They first try to satisfy you with computer messages and only afterwards connect you to the concerned executive. As a large number of people are trying to talk to them, naturally we have to wait for our turn.

    Now some of the companies have started SMS based instructions for blocking your card or deactivation of an action and things like that and once more such things are introduced we will be in a comfrcomfortable position.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #639569

    I am getting more and more disappointed from my experience with the 'helplines' 'contact us' -whether private or public sector. In private sector nowadays it has become a habit to give some pre prepared templates to complain vai their website. So we cannot complain or ask anything more than that. That is a great trick. Most often the telephone connection will tire us out by keeping us on hook and making us to listen some music or some recorded marketing lines. Otherwise we will not get connected or get an answer'all our officials are busy'. You will naturally curse yourself and your thought of having dealt with the company or organisation.

    When I asked my doubt on a matter to the concerned department, even after explaining my practical problem clearly many times, every time I got the same stereotyped answer of quoting some circular or clause already available i their website.

    At last I had to reply them 'I throw my hands up, and surrender.No doubts sir.Please treat it as closed'.

  • #639570
    Yes even in private sector the call center helpline is horrible. "your are in queue please wait" and a worst music goes on playing again and again as if we are having lots of time to waste. And when the operator comes on line again he would waste time taking all the details. Especially the ACT fiber network are really mastered how to harass their customers. And after taking all the details they would ask for 48 hours time to attend and the problem and that would be small and can be attended immediately. Such is the worst case of even private companies who were after us to take their services and then they damn care for us.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #639657
    Ha ha.

    Quite irritating that after so many options when we are handed over to the customer care than we find the line getting busy continuously or what if this gets disconnected by itself. But in due course, the best customer service I have found of Airtel. If I have sent them the mail, then probably I will get a call within 24 hours.

  • #639663
    I agree with the author that helplines are not so helpful. Most of the companies nowadays have automated response as the first level of response. Only if the customer needs more information then they are taken to customer care people who ask for many details for verification purpose. I certainly agree that not everyone in the response team is knowledgeable to help us. However, I see there are few things which we need to think about the customer care people.
    - They handle 100's of calls every day regarding various issues. Even though it's their work, we need to understand the difficulties of it. Not every customer will talk to them in a polite way. Some will scold, abuse and shout at them. They will have to bear all this to earn their bread.
    - The volume of call and waiting times will definitely increase when there is high demand. For example, data pack is not working for many customers and everyone is trying to reach the customer care through the phone. In this case, it's obvious that you will have to wait for longer time.
    - They just need to collect your details such as DOB, account number or any other security code in order to verify it's you. This is one of the mandatory things which no one can avoid due to security issues.

    These are some of the difficult areas I see from them yet there is a need for improvement in the way the queries are resolved.


  • #639668
    But Mr. Rizwan, admitting all the factors mentioned by you, do the helpline-attending officials help the customers/people? Do they possess all necessary information themselves to help the customers?
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #639682
    Mr. Partha,
    I think it really depends on the issue for which we are contacting them. Most of the customer care team people are trained to answer frequently asked questions, check the sim working conditions, etc., Many of them try to resolve our queries or at least they will try to redirect to the right people. They will have information only up to the level they have access to beyond which they have to either redirect your query or provide no information at all.

    Please note the customer care people are also rated based on their performance. We might have seen getting an SMS alert after a call with the customer care. Most of the service providers do this nowadays. The ratings will be directly captured for that individual and it matters to them during performance rating, appraisal, hikes, promotions, etc., So they have to try their best to help you.


  • #639802
    According to Mr. Rizwan, the helpline-attending officials do try to help the customers/people by providing information. But the reaction/comments of other Members point to the different direction. Not only me, many Members feel that helplines are very unhelpful.

    Now the question is: How can the companies or organisations make their helplines more useful and customer-friendly?

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #640400
    First things first – helpline executives are only doing their job. Most conversations between helpline executives and customers are recorded, so it would be ridiculous to suggest that they do not know their job or are not doing it to their best ability. Failure of duty could result in loss of a job.

    Helpline numbers have limited lines and the number of callers more. So, that explains why it can be sometimes difficult to connect.

    Complex instructions! The automated system gives you options based on which you need to punch in numbers as instructed. How can something as simple as that be complex?

    Details required are generally related to the subscriber or registered number. I have never faced a situation that required me to scrutinize documents, to dig out information. Most companies require details that are registered with them and helps them identify the user/customer/client/subscriber/member.

    If the helpline executive's response fails to satisfy you, then perhaps they did not understand your query/grievance or you failed to make yourself understood. In situations when you do not receive proper answers request to speak to a superior. You will probably be put on hold for a few minutes before your call is transferred to the right person.

    Most organizations have a system where grievances are escalated to higher-levels until the issue is resolved. Email communication is similar to this and should be acceptable, as it serves as a record for future reference and follow-up. In any case, one must also ask for a Ticket Number for every telephonic communication, for reference.

    In this era of instant coffee and instant noodles, we expect instant solutions. If helpline executives can provide all answers then the rest of the staff can be sent home.

    Everything has a method to it, and it pays to be patient.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #640401
    Last week I called the helpline of a University to enquire about off-line counselling. The University has two types of counselling for different subjects. For some subjects, there is online counselling and for other subjects, there is offline counselling. It took enormous patience to finally talk to an official, who never heard about offline counselling. I later (after 10 minutes or so) could talk to the senior who also never heard about offline counselling. Then the official at third level admitted that they didn't know about offline counselling. The process took several days, several hours and many failed attempts. The experience of other Members of ISC is similar.

    Most probably Ms. Juana is talking about some ideal situation, or helplines of some other countries.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #640419
    It is only a help line, not a solution to the problem line. The helpline officials will do whatever the best they can do. However, they are the people to direct you to the right authority concerned to get your problems solved. So, we cannot blame helpline officials as they are not 100 percent helpful to us. They are like the traffic police to show us the right direction or the route to go.
    No life without Sun

  • #640421
    The sarcasm in your response is uncalled for. And do not trouble yourself, denying it.

    Let us not get into what everyone else said. I haven't the other responses but am going by your word. It is difficult to believe that none have had a positive experience, ever. Why focus only on the bad experiences, it is so negative!

    Anyway, my response was to your post, point for point. You can gather all the support and use it to make your point, but how can you deny any of which that I put down.

    Which University is this? ( I really want to know).

    Also, do universities have the kind of helplines described in your main post.

    My experiences have mostly been good and the times when issues couldn't be resolved in the first try, they were subsequently fixed through follow-up calls/emails. In fact, I have also had instances when executives called back, to fix the problem.

    I wouldn't paint the whole system as being unhelpful because of a few glitches.

    Concur with Sun's response.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #640431
    I had a simple question: "When will the offline counseling start"? When I could contact a helpline official after four hours, she collected the roll no., application no. name of the candidate, DoB, father's name, payment details, entrance rank and many other information, and then provided the schedule of online counseling. After three days, they finally admitted that they were not aware of offline counseling and later advised me to check the University website (which I had already done) and send a e-mail giving all details and payment details.

    Mr. SuN: Let us suppose you are visiting Chennai for the first time and ask the traffic police the bus route of Egmore or Adiyar. The police in turn ask your father's name, ancestral village, details of your fellow-passengers and the cost of your shoes and then admit that they don't know the route, how would you feel?

    A statement can be interpreted in various ways. Some may interpret the statement as sarcasm, some may feel it a true fact or some other may think it a guess.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #640433
    Very silly is your response #640431 to my response #640419. Hope you never met a traffic police and asked for directions in your entire life. I think Kolkatta police do that way.

    No life without Sun

  • #640434
    Which University are we discussing? Can we have the name, please.
    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #640437
    The university is not important. Almost all the helplines are unhelpful.

    However, I have given the instance of the helpline of Guru Govind Singh Indraprastha University.

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

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