GARETH'S LITTLE RANT: Log a Call ... the Death of Service

The ubiquitous Call Centre is proving to be the bain of my existence.

Whilst I realise that with the advent of major international corporations, it is no longer possible to have a manager sitting somewhere dealing with queries.  It is simply not possible to deal with thousand of queries from all over the country (or the world).

However, whoever invented the current model of the operation of Call Centres deserves to be Hung, Drawn and Quartered as in the days of old.

The phrases "Log a Call" and "Let me give you a reference number" should be banned from the English language upon punishment of death (or at the very least having your tongue cut off).  Similar phrases like "We are experiencing high call volumes" and "Your call is important to us" should be worth at least 20 lashes.

Let me give a recent example:

A colleague of mine recently experienced a technical issue at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) with obtaining a Transfer Duty Receipt via e-filing.

1. The matter was duly reported to the SARS Call Centre.
2. The call centre operator was not qualified to answer the query.
3. The operator was also not authorised to do anything about it,
4. The operator duly issued a Reference Number!

We therefore approached a Deputy Registrar of Deeds to see how the impasse could be overcome.  Despite being a "senior" government official, he had not been given access to anyone at SARS with any decision making authority and was compelled to phone the Call Centre.  Guess what ... he got a Reference Number!

The issue was escalated (another word that should be banned) through a senior person at the office of the Chief Registrar of Deeds to a senior implementation officer within SARS.  This gentleman's best advice: "The client will have to call our call centre as there is certain information they will require to assist him. They will record and log a ticked to our technical team so that investigation can be done."

The impasse endures.  The transaction is worth many millions of Rands.

Bring back good "old fashioned" personal service.

Anyway, that was but one recent example.

It seems that anything beyond the flow chart in front of the person answering the phone at Call Centres can't be referred to anyone with detailed technical knowledge of the subject matter (whatever it may be) or to anyone who has the authority to act on their own initiative or the authority to actually make a decision.

For more similar Ranting and Raving, please see my latest Article in Asset Magazine.  You can view the Article at:

Gareth Shepperson
Disclaimer: Some of the suggested punishments above MIGHT have been in jest.


Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!