Chat Operators Are Human Too

Jan 3, 2018
Alex Rudall

Tags: supportpoliciesusers

From 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, our customer service team runs our live chat system and phone line and responds to all support requests. Chat volume fluctuates heavily throughout the year and throughout the day. At times operators can have up to 5 chats running concurrently. The team has a range of tools available to support them, including an internal knowledge base, superadmin system access, and an on-call software developer for more technical issues. Our 4-strong customer service team provides direct system support to over 16,000 active doctors, nurses and administrative staff. Each member of the team personally talks to hundreds of users each week, answering questions and helping them to resolve their issues.

As far as we can tell (although we’d be pleased to be proven wrong on this one), we are the only provider of NHS software to offer a comprehensive live support system to all system users at no extra cost. It is one of our major selling points (discussed further in The Lake of Discontent).

Doctors have stressful jobs and a range of pressures on them - the administrative burdens imposed on them and the software they are often obliged to use can be a major source of stress. We understand how easy it is to lose patience when the system is incorrectly configured or they experience a bug. For this reason we set ourselves a high standard of respect, responsiveness and general humanity in all contact. Unfortunately while the majority of contact we receive is polite, friendly and succinct, some of it is problematic. Examples include:

  • “Are you a robot?” (We are not.)
  • “I suppose you’re in a call centre abroad.” (We are based in Crystal Palace, south London.)
  • Commenting on the appearance of members of staff. (We have a picture so that you can see we are human, not to strike up inappropriate conversation!)
  • General impoliteness to the chat operator. (We are human too and we are always trying our best to help.)

For the final reason especially, we have produced a policy to help set a minimum standard of respect to which we expect all chat users to adhere. We want contact to be pleasant, informal, even fun, but we also need to have a clear point of refusal so that our team can continue to provide top class support without harassment or stress. Click here to view our Customer Support Policy.

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