You call up a call centre. You ask them for some info. You will get that info. But, instead, you request for certain alteration or action, then, watch out. You may have to make a few more calls, so that action on your request is taken. On an personal note, I find it takes 5-7% of the cost of service to maintain it.

The natural question is how do I minimize that cost.

The cost of maintaining a service depends on the nature of service taken, the actual cost of service, the competitive environment in which the service exists, the importance of the service to you, duration of the service.

It is assumed by many, the less technical a service, the cheaper will be its maintenance. Say for example, a bank account, phone service, credit cards, ISPs etc.

Lets see! You call up your bank call centre to find the balance (ATM is far and you have to travel to retrieve information – a phone call from home or office is easier). The girl on the other side says politely that the network is down and requests you for a call again in say 30 minutes. You call and find the balance in your account. But, it did cost you time and money, Right. If you transact frequently then the cost can go up. So how do you become more productive and still save money. You can achieve this if you can give your bank a standard instruction to SMS (short messaging service) you the balance of your account at a particular time of the day , may be daily or weekly or as suitable to you. This service may cost you, as accessing an ATM does cost an annual fee, but you may find this useful and in the long run this may save you your time if not money.

If we take this argument further, and find out the circumstances of a flawed/incorrect credit card statement. Credit Card statements arrive every month by email/snail mail. You find a fault with you statement. You call up the call centre number and tell them your problem. They note down the problem and promise to inform you of the action taken. Even after 72 hours, there is no answer. What do you do? You know the fines are quite a sum to pay up. You again call back. This executive, listen to you from the start of the story, costing you phone calls and at the end of conversation she will forward your genuine complaint to the appropriate department with the assurance that the issue will be resolved. She tells you make the payment anyway, and assures you that the excess payments will be adjusted in your future bills. Then, the next month, you find the discrepancy has not been addressed. You call up again and complain. But, this time you say, you will be discontinuing the service. This gets their attention and if you are lucky, you complain will be addressed and excess payment will be refunded to your credit card account( mind you the excess amount paid by you will not be repaid in cash- the bank always gains and you always lose). Where does this leave you. You feel you have been cheated and add to it the bill for the extra calls you made to settle an unnecessary and easily avoidable issue. Forget the mental stress, and time you spent. This can happen to anybody. This has happened to me also.

This can happen also to technical queries, which are harder to address if the person who is asking the queries does not know properly, what to ask. Tempers may flare. Even if the service provide may be a great company, but it will come to acquire a bad reputation

What can you do to address these particular kind of problems. I would like to have a word from you all. Then, I will share may thoughts on the subject. Even Merlin Mann has not addressed this issue. I would love to hear you .. so keep me posted.


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