Has anyone experienced atrocious wait times with Telus and Shaw lately?
I'm calling for the third time now after giving up twice. Today it's approaching 20 minutes and there hasn't been a customary "we're experience high call volumes" warning.
Meanwhile my neighbour was telling me how we gave up on waiting for Shaw after near two hours, only to try again the following day and finally connect nearly two hours in.
I've managed several customer/tech support environments across a few industries in both the private and public sectors - not an ISP or telcomm I assure you - and can weigh in on this.
First not all call center systems support that feature: it seems straight-forward, but keep in mind that many call centers are stuck with software that is years or even decades old. The average equipment replacement cycle is 12 years, or was last time I researched the issue in a production environment. Another contributing factor is that some companies have multiple call centers at multiple locations, dividing the work. And those multiple call centers may have different technologies that can’t coordinate information to generate an estimated wait time.
Second callers may be put in front of you: Yep – sometimes folks “cut” in front of you, and if this happens you would end up hearing that you went *backwards* in line and probably feel not too happy about it. That’s not as nefarious as it sounds. Here are some reasons call centers might do that:
a) An agent is helping an especially difficult or urgent case, and needs to transfer a call ahead of yours. (Supervisors are more likely to have this power.)
b) Callers with some kind of status (i.e. frequent fliers in the case of an airline call center) may automatically go to the front of the queue/line.
c) Some systems that offer a call-back as an alternative to waiting on hold require putting calls at the front of the line. It works like this: If you, the caller, agrees to a call-back, the system calculates that it would probably be your turn in, say, 20 minutes. Then you hang up and the system calls you back in, say, 18 minutes. If you answer, you get put at the front of the line.
Lastly the “queue” is a logical construct and not a simple ordering of calls. In modern call center systems, your call requires a set of “skills” based on answers you gave to the IVR and possibly a profile of you in the company’s database. Let’s say “English speaking agent” + “billing” + “wireless plans”. Meanwhile, the call center has a set of agents with a mix of skills. The skills based routing system is matching “skills needed” with “skills available” to find the right agent in the shortest time. So you just can’t say someone is “nth” in line with any sense of surety. At best its a mathematical guess based on inputs and available (human) resources.