Are Your Representatives Focused On Your Clients? 

Is it acceptable if the agent talking to you was preparing their vegetables while on the call with you? 

I was watching TV at home this week when all of a sudden, the system did an automatic update of the software. Instead of it concluding its cycle without a hitch, it threw a spanner in the works… 

The on-screen error message instructed me to phone the company’s 0800 number. 

It indicated that they were “having trouble activating (my) account”. 

I selected the “Accounts” option from their IVR system when I called and was answered by a lovely person in their contact centre, where I gave them my name, account number and answered various security/validation questions to allow them to help me.  

So far, so good… 

After being put on hold (for 13 minutes), following a lengthy initial discovery discussion, the person I was speaking with came back to tell me that she was unable to resolve my issue. It would appear to be a technical issue. Would I mind if she transferred me to the technical support help-desk?  

And that is when the experience started to fade… 

I was told that I was 12th in the queue and the wait time was approximately 64 to 66 minutes… 

An hour and 10 minutes later, I was eventually speaking with a human. 

And the first thing that I was asked to do was to revalidate myself! Really??! 

For over 25 minutes, we tried to resolve the issue. Except I felt that it was one way dialogue… 

I was constantly interrupted by the agent who wouldn’t allow me to finish what I was saying. Boy did I find that rude AND frustrating! 

In addition to her interruptions, I was constantly told by that it was an initiation issue with my set-up. When I tried to explain that I had been using their system for 4 days, I was told that was impossible as my account had not been set up. Despite my best efforts to advise her that I had been watching TV for 4 days (including earlier that same morning), I was interrupted and told that was not possible. 

Why do contact centre agents not listen to their customers, or was it only her? 

Then I noticed something very interesting… In the quiet spaces in between our conversation, I heard a ‘chopping’ noise. That’s when I asked her, “What are you having for dinner tonight?” She told me that she was making some Indian dish that consisted of potatoes and vegetables. I replied, “I know, I can hear you preparing your vegetables!” To which she replied, “Yes, I am cutting up my potatoes. I’m working from home today…” 

Shortly after that, my call was disconnected… 

Is this good customer service? Or am I just being picky? 

Here are three things that I observed from this experience: 

  1. Active listening is a two-way activity 
    When you talk with someone, are you actively listening to them, or simply marking time, waiting for your chance to say something? We are too often impatient to share our next thought, to the detriment of listening to understand. Maybe we should take note of the wisdom found in James 1:19, which states, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

  2. Multi-tasking is appropriate when it relates to the other tasks at hand 
    We have become an electronics-focus generation. The first generation to grow up with high-speed, wireless internet access. We now live in an era where it has become routine to conduct six IM conversations, watch TV while googling the names of last season’s “Australian Survivor” winner. I recognise that it is difficult to stick to ONE thing, but we need to wean ourselves off the items that distract us. Even with the best intentions, multi-tasking can lead you to ignore one task in preference for the other. In Matthew 6:24 we are reminded that no one can serve two masters. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

  3. Focus on your customer – not your dinner 
    If you are going to focus on one thing, focus on your customer. Nothings says, “I love you,” more than you undivided attention. Jesus said, in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Do we stand out from the rest of the world because of the way that we show love for others? Or are we simply the same as the world? 

You be the judge… 




Elias Kanaris helps leaders lead. He is a thought leader in the area of resilience, leadership and building trust. Elias is an author and speaker. He has written three books on leadership, resilience and finances, and has spoken in 13 countries, on four continents.

Elias is the CEO of the Insight and Strategy Group and has served as President of the Global Speakers Federation (2018-2019) and was the President of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand (2015-2017). He is also a Founding Partner of Maxwell Leadership® – the largest and fastest-growing leadership training organisation in the world – where he is a certified Coach, Trainer and Speaker in the Maxwell Methodology®.


In a time of need there is no better feeling than to know that someone, even a person you had never met before, truly cares about you. This was basically the approach of the citizens of Gander and the surrounding towns for the days that followed September 11, 2001. The needs, worries and care of others became ours. Through it all strangers became friends and then became family to us.


Elias has written a short Whitepaper on Building T.R.U.S.T. to help you, as a Christian Business Owner to build trust in your organisation, Get your FREE copy delivered straight to your inbox.


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