Call Center Supervisors Are Sometimes Fake

We all know in our heart of hearts, but sometimes when you call customer service and ask for a supervisor the person who comes on isn’t really a supervisor. We spotted these comments over at an online call center magazine where agents admit that they routinely have other agents pose as supervisors instead of actually escalating the call…

” I was working in a call center with just 40 seats and when customers insist on talking to supervisor we just passed it to the next guy, introducing him as supervisor.”

“Is it ethical to have another agent pose as a supervisor? Sure, depending on how it’s done.”

“I have worked several call center jobs. In some cases we were told to avoid supervisor contacts at all costs. In others we were empowered to either say we were supervisors or to pass off to another agent who claimed to be a supervisor”

Most of the other comments find this practice unethical and bad customer service, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not going on.

I WANT TO SPEAK TO A SUPERVISOR [ICMIi's QueueTips]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Where I work, we can’t pass ourselves off as supervisors, but we don’t connect customers direclty to a supervisor. We offer a call back from a supervisor. Seems to work pretty well.

  2. WV.Hillbilly says:

    When I worked at the “phone company” as a 411 operator, the supervisor was nothing more than an ordinary operator that got pulled out of the board and sat up front at a desk.

  3. SOhp101 says:

    Having worked in a call center before, I definitely saw this happen often. If someone received a belligerent customer, he/she would just transfer the customer to a friend working in the same dept and ask them to ‘handle’ the situation.

  4. mantari says:

    Totally true. We did it for each other when I worked at a well known tech company. If someone wanted to ‘speak to our supervisor’, it was common to get a nearby coworker to cover. Great stuff.

  5. entitynein says:

    In college, I did tech support for a web hosting company for 3 years. Often, because I worked the swing shift, there was no “actual” supervisor available, so we also transferred the call to another tech. Eventually the company grew up and hired Customer Service reps and supervisors, leaving us techies to do what we do, but in the year or so before they did, we also had the “my neighbor is my supervisor” thing going on.

  6. queenofdenial says:

    I am on a supervisor team at a call center. While my title is not “supervisor”, I handle the supervisor calls. But I have the same power as a supervisor to make a situation better and my job is only to handle calls such as these. I am like an assistant. I am always happy to take “supervisor” calls because I do have the power to make it better. That being said, it would be easy enough to be a regular operator on the phone and lie about who you are. But at our call center, why do it if someone else will do the dirty work?

  7. teqsun.com says:

    the thing is that most of the people who call up just want somone to yell at so they can get something for free. I used to work for an ISP doing tech support and I was given strict instructions by the CEO never to escalate the calls. If they wanted to speak with a manager… I was the manager. If they wanted to speak to my manager (the CEO) they could contact him on his private line. If they didn’t know it… too bad.

    I had several people try and swindle us out of money through chargebacks (saying the bill was a fradulant charge and getting it refunded thru the cc company) I was never a dick unless they started giving me shit.

    I feel bad for those suckers sitting in call centers that have to please their customer to the point of customers yelling and screaming at them. Thank god for that disconnect button.

  8. Rando says:

    Where I work you get escalated immediately if you ask. CSRs are glad to pass up on a call.

    Most customers don’t even need a supervisor. A supervisor can do very little more compaired to a regular CSR but customers just get off on speaking to someone who is supposed to be ‘more important’.

  9. mrbill says:

    This is nothing new and has happened for years and years.

    When I worked ISP phone support and there was a customer who just wanted to complain and feel important (“IVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO LOG IN FOR 2 HOURS AND YOU ARE COSTING ME THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS” on a non-commercial dialup account, etc) they’d get a coworker pretending to be a supervisor.

  10. Rando says:

    @randotheking: Also where I work it’s not really possible to pass a call off to a coworker without it affecting the other coworker’s stats. They could always call into the regular CSR split and wait for someone to get the call, but it wouldnt be worth it.

  11. That One Guy says:

    I worked at a place where we would go either way depending on what the caller wanted. If they legitimately deserved and needed manager’s help we’d offer the call back from the supervisor, but NEVER a direct transfer (for things that a front-line CSR did not have the ability to help them with, even if they wanted to). However, if the caller clearly just wanted to complain to someone that seemed higher up on the food chain we’d transfer them to another CSR introducing them as an “Account Manager” or “Account Supervisor.”

    Not really sure WHY this would be news even if it were true 100% of the time though. What do people really expect to accomplish by “talking to the supervisor?” Be cool to your CSR and they’ll do everything in their power to help you. Seriously, just don’t be a jerk and you’d be surprised how much people want to help. Even the ones who have had their souls sucked out by the job will still want to help if you are genuinely decent to them and ask reasonably for a reasonable level of assistance. Don’t forget to ask nicely for what you want. If you assume they should offer what you want without your asking you are a fool and if you try to bully them into giving you what you want they may withhold what they can out of spite. Just ask very politely for exactly how you would like your issue resolved. As long as you have a reasonable grip on realistic options, they’ll probably help you out.

  12. johnva says:

    @randotheking: The root of the problem seems to be companies that refuse to actually empower their customer service people to solve real problems. Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder what the point of having customer service lines at all even is if they can’t fix actual issues that come up.

  13. timmus says:

    I am surprised this is news. My wife worked in an AOL call center in 1997 and a supervisor, more often than not, was the person in the next cubicle.

  14. bohemian says:

    This is news? My favorite is the supervisor is away from their desk and will call you back and of course never do. Decent call centers track what CSRs are doing and penalize them for doing things like lying or hanging up on calls unless the person is out of control. I don’t think a decent call center has existed since the mid 90′s.

    My favorite irate customer was when I worked in agents service for an insurance company. We would get irate agents wanting their commission checks early. One would call every week from the horse track wanting to know if his check got mailed yet.

    I had one agent call, didn’t like my answer and demanded to “talk to a man”. The department I worked in was staffed by all female workers, my direct boss was female and the exec that handled that department was also a woman. He kept demanding to talk to the next higher up person after I would inform him who the next person up the food chain was and that they were indeed female to. We got all the way up to the CEO and I offered to happily connect him to the CEO’s office if he would like but he suddenly got over his issue.

  15. Egakino says:

    @AlteredBeast: Doesn’t work, hate that, hate hate hate hate hate hate hate that. Did I mention when they try to do that I hate it. Generally when that happens I consider the CS of that company to have failed completely, it also helps that 99% of the time they never call back. Basically it means to me that the company is saying to go F*** off. Of course it seems to work on your end, you get to get off the phone with a complaining customer, out of sight out of mind.

    That being said I never take out aggression on a CS agent because I know they are just doing a job they way they are told to do it and there is nothing they can do about it in many cases, I just blame the company and its messed up policies. Unless it is a bad CS agent but I find those few and far between really, most don’t care enough to be either truly bad or good.

  16. Erskine says:

    @teqsun.com:

    You work for Comcast, don’t you?

  17. mechanismatic says:

    @johnva: The problem is that companies that do empower regular CSRs to help the customer will still get calls from customer’s who think that escalating is the only way to get what you want. So despite the fact that I can help a customer, some customer’s will just ask for a supervisor outright because they assume I can’t do anything for them. In most cases, if I can’t do anything for the person, then nothing can be done for them.

  18. liquisoft says:

    I don’t care who I speak to, so long as things get done. If I talk to the janitor and he can resolve my issue, then at the end of the call my issue is still resolved despite him being a janitor.

  19. Egakino says:

    @johnva: Dead on, apply directly to the forehead.

  20. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    When I worked at a call center many moons ago, we did the same thing. My girlfriend at the time worked with me so we would send each other jerks who first words out of thier mouth was “I want a sup”. I know I know some people were jerked around and I could understand it. But if this is your first call let me try to do my job first mmkay?

  21. Jay Levitt says:

    @Mechanismatic: And, of course, the other problem is that, at companies that don’t empower the reps – and even at some that do – the rep is always, always, ALWAYS convinced that “if I can’t do anything for you, then the supervisor can’t either”.

    I believe you (if nothing else because why else would you be posting here?), but realize that if you were to tell me that on the phone, I would not only be convinced that you were wrong, but that if only I could get a supervisor on the phone they could and would prove you wrong.

    I don’t think I have *ever* been told “the supervisor can’t do anything for you either” without (a) eventually getting to talk to a supervisor and (b) having the supervisor happily do what I was asking for in about 30 seconds. (I always ask them to let the original rep know that they are, in fact, empowered to do whatever the thing was; I doubt it usually happens.)

    As for the original topic of reps claiming to be supervisors – yes, it’s been happening for as long as there have been call centers. I expect that (unless it’s with the tacit approval of management, as one poster mentioned) it’s an increasingly risky practice, though. A tape of you, pretending to be a supervisor and blowing off a customer to back up your cube-mate, circulated on the Internet, is not going to help your career.

  22. slungsolow says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: Same here. The “supervisors” were paid a $1 more an hour too! It actually took 2 additional escalation requests before you were sent to anyone with managerial powers.

  23. HOP says:

    why am i not suprised by any of this??????

  24. HeHateMe says:

    Let’s think about this… who would you rather have handle your issue? A CAE that deals with customer account every day and knows the system inside and out, or a supervisor who rarely talks to customers or accesses the system, but instead deals mainly with HR related issues for their employees? Where I work, the CAE’s are fully empowered to do essentially whatever needs to be done to help a customer. Depending on how you talked to the CAE and the amount of respect you give them will determine how far you get with what you are demanding. Remember, the CAE is a human also and when you are rude and disrespectful chances are you will not get very far. As far as the title of this article? Where I work, if you ask for a supervisor you will receive one. It might take a little bit as there are far fewer of them than CAE’s, so you might get a call back later.

  25. Buran says:

    @AlteredBeast: No, it doesn’t, considering how many stories of “they never called me back” you hear. It’d be different if you call center types actually kept those promises.

  26. Copper says:

    Customer service sucks in general.

    I’ve always just transferred to supervisor if necessary, it doesn’t look negatively on me unless the reason they want to escalate is because I was yelling at them. Besides, it works out for everyone. I get to be rid of the angry person, the customer thinks it makes a difference (sometimes it does, usually not in a tech support call center) and that’s the “supervisor’s” job. Win win win.

  27. Rando says:

    @HeHateMe: Every call center is different, especially their tiered system. Supervisors at my call center take calls 2-4 hours a day and the rest is for coaching/maintaining associate stats. Managers deal with larger projects regarding the company. Directors handle the budgeting. VPs do their thing then it all gets approved by the president.

  28. Rando says:

    @randotheking: Point being, everyone that works in customer service knows customer service and how to handle accounts as well as the systems.

  29. I work in a call center as a supervisor. There are times when a customer calls in and asks for a supervisor and does not get one. The #1 reason for this is that the customer does not need a supervisor, they want someone to rant at. When a customer asks for a supervisor, my agents come to me, give me a quick run down and I decide if I need to personally handle the issue, or if a tier 2 rep can handle the issue. There is nothing that I can do for a caller that a tier 2 rep can not do. The only power I have above a tier 2 are HR and call center issues. My employees are empowered to make their own judgment calls and assist the customers. My agents will never refuse to escalate an issue, but if I handled every request for a supervisor, customers would be on hold forever waiting for me and I would never get any work done.

  30. humphrmi says:

    This just shows how much in the dark ages most customer service centers are. Wasn’t it like 1980 or so that we started hearing about “empowering employees”? Make the first line the last line you need?

    And where are we today? Exactly nowhere near that goal. Companies call their CSR’s “empowered” and then promptly go about doing business the same way, with unempowered employees who can’t do anything for people except read from a script.

    The fix isn’t having supervisors or having them at your beckon call; it’s having first line CSRs that can do something to fix problems rather than just read from scripts.

  31. BugMeNot2 says:

    If you ask for a Supervisor, just once, that should be enough to transfer you up. This should tell the CSR that you are upset enough, but no… of late… two different workers informed me “my supervisor will tell and do the same thing, bla, bla, bla…” When I reach a supervisor, I kindly inform them their job is in trouble because the employee just below them are about to steal their job.

    COMPANIES: Give your people some education and power.
    CSR: Please stop being douchebags… I dunno know… why not try some customer service?

    Maybe we need to empower the customer more!
    Can we handle everything by e-mail, online forms and live chats?

    No more talking.

  32. kingdom2000 says:

    When I worked for a call center I played supervisor all the time. Not to trick the customer but simply because getting the supervisor was a waste of time. They didn’t know my job and didn’t know what could or could not be done (usually spreadsheet management style BS) so it would be referred back to one of us anyway. So for pure efficiency (really all that call centers are about) it was just better to fake it.

  33. scampy says:

    You can tell if you actually get a supervisor because they are the ones that speak English

  34. hypebreaker says:

    @teqsun.com: You would do really well working for Sprint. Go get ‘em, tiger.

  35. erratapage says:

    Why can’t companies simply develop a customer service system that solves customer problems respectfully. I don’t need a supervisor unless I’m unreasonably denied a solution or I’m treated poorly.

  36. HawkWolf says:

    I have transferred people to my coworker when they wanted a supervisor. It hasn’t happened recently, but a few years ago when I started people seemed to be unsatisfied with what I told them all the time.

    Most of the things people want a supervisor for are, “I don’t think you’re being fair, I want to pay less / get that thing for free and I’m going to bitch about it on the internet.”

    The solution, in those cases, is to give people what they want. The sad reality is that once someone is an adult and they behave like a child, they’re so set in their ways that treating them the way they deserve isn’t going to accomplish anything. The only thing to do is treat them in whatever way will shut them up.

    I’ve only ever needed a supervisor once – this is me making a call to somewhere else – and it was when Comcast screwed up ‘moving’ my cable to another address. It took 5 ‘supervisors’ in a row to fix it. I think it was really a case of “oh crap, how did we schedule someone for an installation date that was before they even called us!?! I don’t know how to fix that!” more than a supervisor-needed thing.

    Nowadays, my actual supervisor is not a customer support person and so is not supposed to talk to customers on the phone. So, people only go to him in extremely rare cases, such as threatening us, etc.

  37. disavow says:

    GE Consumer Finance has a pretty good arrangement. First-level agents can do basic stuff like update account information, remove late fees, replace stolen cards, and request limit increases. More involved problems such as disputed transactions, lost payments, and escalation requests are handled by higher-level agents–who have the training and empowerment to do everything that’s needed. Probably only a handul of problems make it to a real “supervisor.”

  38. Oregon says:

    Lookie, lookie, At how many CSR are part of this site..very interesting!!!!

  39. Catperson says:

    I actually am surprised by this. I worked in customer service for a major insurance company for 5 years and if someone asked for a supervisor, we transferred them. If I handed the call to someone who wasn’t a supervisor, I could be fired because our calls were monitored and this company was very lawsuit-shy, so they didn’t want us doing anything dishonest whatsoever. I can’t understand how unimportant customers must be at some companies for them to not monitor calls enough to prevent this from happening.

  40. XTC46 says:

    I do this. I never say I am a manager or supervisor but I allow them to think I am. Usually it happens when a customer is just being an asshole and the CSR is getting frustrated with them. 95 percent of the time a customer only wants to speak with a supervisor becasue they don’t like the answer they are being given (even if its the right answer) if there is a situation where we are in the wrong and I need a manager to make it right, I just get the OK from the manager and fix it my self. I know how our managers will answer questions, and Ill happily get a person to a manager if they really need a manager and aren’t just trying to be assholes.

  41. Sian says:

    playing devil’s advocate here, sometimes the customer doesn’t need a supervisor. CSR#1 tells customer something 100% correct that customer doesn’t like/accept for no good reason, and customer asks to be transferred to supervisor. CSR#2 tells the customer the same thing, and since he’s a ‘supervisor’, the customer is placated. Mission accomplished. If the customer actually needs a manager, then it’s handled differently.

  42. Lyrai says:

    @BugMeNot2:
    The point where you begin to talk about how my job is at risk is the point I’d stop giving a damn about your problem.

  43. dantsea says:

    What I found amusing about the call center empowerment fad is that it probably pissed off customers as much as helped them. Where previously certain functions were considered high-level administrative and at the supervisor’s discretion, it meant that throwing a tantrum and demanding an escalation usually resulted in the customer getting what it wanted.

    Once the whole empowerment thing kicked in, when the rep said no to a customer, it was a hard no. All those years of conditioning the customers how to escalate down the drain… that was more than fifteen years ago and I’ll bet my long-former employer is still getting calls from customers trying to figure out why shouting doesn’t work any more.

  44. Lyrai says:

    @Sian:
    99% of the calls I get are like that. The previous CSR did their job, went through the motions, and the customer is still pissy so they demand to talk to the supervisor, thinking in their magical gumdrop land that I’ll be able to pull a magic wand out of my ass that makes their problem turn into a machine that craps money & rainbows.

  45. gemski says:

    @BugMeNot2: Telling the next CSR rep his “Sup” job is in trouble just makes him laugh.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I work in a call center environment currently- and I would honestly have to say that I know easily more about the product which Im dealing with and any situation that may arise with a customer than any of the supervisors sitting on the floor at any one given moment. Because Supervisors where I work do not directly take calls or deal with the situations I or my colleagues deal with on a day to day basis- it would be pointless for a supervisor to get on the telephone and talk to a customer- they can’t appease the customer’s needs any more than I can.
    More simply put- if customers areobnoxious and downright rude on the telephone- any swearing at all is grounds to disconnect the call. We have to be heard on the tape saying that we will disconnect the call if the behavior persists, but once we say that- we have total power.
    We also offer call backs by “seasoned” loyalty reps. IMHO- this does nothing because, like supervisors, they no longer have any idea how the process works, so many times they mess things up more than previously.
    To what most people were saying about “needing” a manager- in many call center environments- there is a ton of leeway in which the rep is usually expected to make sound business decisions in their own mind. Because all calls are now monitored- they are held liable for their actions. Usually there is an assistance line for these reps to call if they need help with a decision- want to run it by someone else, etc. These people can help alleviate the reps responsibility because the other person verified the thought process and the solution for the customer. No need for anyone to ever talk to a manager- anything you need can be handled by the rep 100% of the time- some reps just suck and say “oh alright you can talk to someone else” who is really just another rep.. Food for thought.

  47. mechanismatic says:

    It sucks that so many other companies have done such a bang up job of customer service that companies like the one that I work for that take customer service seriously and actually empower the CSRs to solve problems end up dealing with the aftermath. There are a lot of consumers who are itching for or at least expecting a fight every time they call customer service and then they reach us. We don’t fight them. If they want to quit, we’ll offer to correct the problem they’re experiencing once, and then after that we’ll simply cancel the account for them and let them go on their merry way. We actually listened to the Vincent Ferrari AOL call during training as a lesson in what not to do. I mentioned the history of what happened after that call was published on the internet from what I’d read here on the Consumerist. Actually experiencing job satisfaction when you work call center customer service is something revolutionary for me. Beats retail any day.

  48. Luckie says:

    @BugMeNot2:

    My last job was working as a call center supervisor. There wasn’t much I could do that a rep couldn’t do for a customer. I have had many customers tell me they’d get me fired if I didn’t do what they wanted. 99% of the time, I couldn’t do what they wanted anyway. The other 1%, I refused out of spite because they were being elitist jerks.

    I second what other people have said… if you treat the CSR on the line decently they’ll usually do what they can for you. I suppose at some companies, the supervisor has more power. In that case, you can still ask for a supervisor without being a douche. For example, once I got some ridiculous overdraft charges on my checking account (which were legitimately not my fault, but weren’t the bank’s either). The call center rep that I spoke to said that she could give a refund on $75 worth. I told her that was very nice of her and I’m sure that she was doing all that she could, but I’d really like to speak with a supervisor to see if a bit more could be done. She graciously transferred me and I was on hold less than 2 minutes. When I spoke to the supervisor, I told the sup that her CSR was very kind and helpful, but that I did need a bit more assistance. The supervisor then refunded more charges, and everyone was happy. No yelling, no screaming, no threatening, and no one had to put up with a jerk.

    Try it sometime, you might get good results.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I agree once again- nice people get what they want. I will deny certain things to people (totally within my power) out of spite if I don’t like their attitude. I just have to deal with the fact that people can give me potentially bad scores on my rep feedback questions.

    After working in a call center environment- I have a newfound appreciation when calling anywhere and speaking with real people.

  50. Ratty says:

    When I was a CSR and someone requested a supervisor, we HAD to give them one. Not once did i just transfer to someone next to me for the call. Then again, we had no time between calls to even do that…

    But one thing I did do is try and flag down different supervisors depending on the demeanor. Being nice and it seems like a bad issue I can’t do anything about? I’ll try and get someone I know is generous with adjustments to help you. Being an ass or sounding outright fraudulent, especially if you’re supposed to be an internal employee? I am going to get the hard-headed supervisors from hell even if you and I have to wait longer.

  51. daniinpa says:

    I guess I’m one of the few people who love working in customer service. I bet working for companies that actually care about customer service is a big part of it. A little empathy goes a long way (not sympathy, empathy), especially since I’ve so often been a customer myself, and I know how it goes. Also, every company I’ve worked for monitored calls and went over your bad calls at random performance review times, so there was no fake transferring. Wouldn’t have thought to do that anyway.

    nice people get what they want.

    No, usually nice people get run over. It’s always “the system”, it’s always “the computer, I’m really sorry ma’am but I can’t override it”. And nice people are the people who accept that.

    A lot of times what people want is empathy and they don’t want to be lied to. Stop lying! It seems very difficult for many CSRs to manage either of those things. I guess if they’re doing “fake transfers” it’s to be expected. So all you whining CSRs and tech support reps on this thread, who advocate this sort of deception? Y’all deserve the nasty customers you get. And in the end, you’re the one with the crappy job.

  52. dwarf74 says:

    I used to be a Senior Representative in our company’s call center. (Yes, it’s an actual position and not just an adjective.) When someone would ask for a supervisor, the rep would offer a senior, and they’d get connected to me – and I’d be introduced as a senior specialist, not a supervisor. I’d help as best I could – and I could help pretty damn well – but if they insisted on talking with an actual supervisor, they’d get one.

    The thing is – and it should be no surprise – supervisors aren’t really experts in the job their employees perform. They’re management, and if you want to know about managing employees, they’d be the go-to women. If you want to know how your bill works, you really want an experienced rep.

    When someone would talk to a supervisor, they’d basically listen, take notes, offer a call back, and then ask a senior to explain the situation and take care of whatever needs done. Then, they’d call the customer back.

    Now, just passing a call to the next rep over? That’s horrible service. No excuses for that.

  53. Amazonian says:

    I work for Amazon.com, and in the call centers the CSAs and their Supervisors have the EXACT same powers. If you want to speak to a supervisor, you will actually get to talk to one, but they’re just going to tell you the same thing the CSA told you five minutes ago. If you’re still not happy, the only thing a CSA can do is to transfer you to a specialist, most of whom only do their correspondence through email, and it might be 2-3 days before you hear back from them. Most of the CSAs really do want to help people, and they’ll do everything they can to help you. And as others here have said, the nicer you are, the more the CSAs will do for you. I’ve seen (heard?) instances where, by the book, a customer was only eligible for a partial refund, but the CSA went ahead and gave them the full refund just because the customer was nice.

    I’ve also never heard of a CSA passing on a “supervisor” call to a friend. All the calls are recorded (and a fair number listened to), and anyone caught doing that would get in massive trouble. Amazon is a good company to work for, and most of its employees are not in any hurry to get fired.

  54. sillyputty579 says:

    Working as a supervisor in a call center for a very well known company, I feel that I am qualified to comment on this subject. It has been my observation that the only thing you may gain from speaking with a supervisor, in most cases, is the luxury of hearing the same thing that you were told previously, being explained by someone with a different title. Because all we as reps or supervisors are able to do is correct legitimate errors, assist the customer with using the product/service or educate the customer on the company policies. The exception to this would be if you happened to get a new rep when you called in that perhaps overlooked something on your account and being that a supervisor is more experienced, they were able to catch it. Most of the time, that will not even be the case because a help line is established where reps can receive assistance or a second opinion if needed. I suppose that this is the reason some companies adopt the policy that speaking with an actual supervisor is not necessary and I would further surmise that this is why some reps, such as those who have previously posted comments in this thread, feel that to lie to a customer is justified because, after all, they don’t ‘need’ a supervisor.

    I believe that most calls escalate to a supervisor because the customer is dissatisfied with the answer they were given by the original rep and just want to make sure that management knows that they, as a customer, think that the company policy stinks….

    And as mentioned previously by another poster, as a supervisor I can assure you, if you want excellent service you’ll have a better chance being nice and polite than being rude and obnoxious….your threats mean nothing to us….

  55. ihateauditions says:

    I’m unsurprised to see that the actual call center employees and supervisors seem to hold customer-hostile preconceptions.

    When I ask for a supervisor, it’s almost always because the person I am talking to doesn’t appear to correctly understand what it is that I’m requesting.

    Sadly, this “the customer is usually wrong and annoying” attitude means that often it takes an enormous battle to get somebody to actually listen to me for a moment, at which my problems are nearly always resolved in my favor, because I almost never make unreasonable requests.

    Oh, and I’d like to note that when you pass the phone from one person to another, and pretend that you’re a supervisor, that you are almost always transparent and obvious.

  56. dethl says:

    Heh, I have first hand experience with this. Worked for DTV for a few months (before I got completely sick and tired of screwing people over) and I had friends and fellow co-workers who trained with me that were picked to “walk the floor” which means they answer any and all supervisor calls.

    If you’re a DirecTV customer and you want to talk to a supervisor – ask for their coach or another coach on the floor. They are the real supervisors.

  57. PermanentStar says:

    I work in a call center, and in my department (cancellations), there are not always supervisors available. Sure, we can get a general care supervisor, but we try not to, since they have less power than we do in most situations, and it’s a waste of time for all parties involved. While we are not allowed to say that somebody who is not a supervisor, or has not been given rights as an “acting supervisor” (such as for days when our immediate supervisor and our manager are both gone) sometimes we will tell them that a supervisor isn’t available, and offer their voicemail, or that they can talk to a senior rep on duty. In my own case, it’s not trying to be evasive, but getting somebody to a general care supervisor for an issue that involves a specialty team will not get anything done. They just have to bring it to our supervisor when they come back, the same as I would have to, and in most circumstances, I can explain better to my supervisor what needs to get done.