I rate myself as a pretty tolerant person. I respect people and always try to enhance someone’s day by just being nice and friendly.

But when it comes to call centres that is where it all goes wrong for me. There is nothing more irritating than fumbling through a service provider’s system trying to get speak to the right person. Please tell me why I can’t just speak to a friendly voice eager to hear my problem? Like in the old days.

And then having to listen to some poor quality rendition of an old Earth, Wind and Fire’s song that I hated as a child (over and over again) whilst waiting for someone to answer the phone adds significantly to my pain!

And this is after having to call back three times because I keep pushing the wrong button.

To me you might as well say:

“Look, Sir, your time is important to us but not that important.

A switchboard?

Are you mad!

You can’t expect that.

You see, we need to save cost and get our headcount down. I mean what would it look like if our managers were tied up all day handling customer queries? We’d never get any work done around here.

In any case management is not trained to deal with irate customers like you- it requires special psychological skills in order to calm an irate customer down!

Now, a computerised call centre is a much better option. It’s more professional. You can have a robot-like person reading off a script: ‘Welcome to our call centre sir – you are dealing with Agoopt. How can I help you’.

The call centre guys know how to deal with this stuff and then it’s off our plate. We can gather stats and see if they meet our KPI’s.

Customer satisfaction?

We can rely on the bell-curve standard deviation to satisfy ourselves about the quality of our service – it’s within the required limits.

Not a problem!

And you want to lay a complaint with the CEO? You want him to know what a mess things are in his business? Sorry sir, you have to go through the call centre. The CEO doesn’t speak to customers.

So that’s how it works around here, take it or leave it.

And by the way, Sir, have a nice day!”

Fifteen minutes later my call may still remain unanswered meaning I have to call back another time and repeat this whole f*****g all over again.

So if your business has one of these wonders of modern technology, do yourself a favour and call it up. You might just find that it is worse than the one described above.

One of the reasons I ask to speak to an executive, is to describe my horrific customer experience to them – no doubt they would be as horrified with the service as I was. The thing is they believe technology, at a most palatable cost, has got it all handled!

For me it’s simple – dealing with a call-centre usually puts me into a murderous rage!


Clive Kaplan, leading executive coach, is a CA(SA) with over 25 years’ experience as an executive director in both listed and unlisted companies.

Clive brings some interesting perspectives to the field of management. Having been involved at Director/Board level, he offers a wealth of wisdom on both the people and business front.

Clive is the CEO of THE GREEN MIND CAPITAL GROUP. The company focuses on assisting executives, especially emerging young CA’s, in maximising their potential and fast-tracking their careers.

Clive has been involved with coaching and self-development since 1994. His mix of years of practical executive experience coupled with his own personal self-development journey brings together a unique method of Transformation Coaching. He has hundreds of hours of one-on-one coaching to his credit.

Clive is also a prolific writer on LinkedIn PULSE and has over 22,500 followers. He has written over 100 articles on various topics from financial management and operations to job search and confidence building. He is also the author of the winQs series (pronounced ‘winks’) which appears regularly on the LinkedIn network. 

Clive is also a voluntary mentor for ORT Jet and The Hope Factory, (a SAICA initiative). He also works closely with the More To Life Program.

Please visit our website www.coach.greenmindcapital.co.za or contact Clive directly on: 

EMAIL: clive@greenmindcapital.co.za

CELL: 072-280-6878 (best to leave a SMS)