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Two suicides in the cancellation service of a major telecom operator's call-center. Enquiry ends

Publié le 12 avril 2023 à 07:51 par Magazine En-Contact
Two suicides in the cancellation service of a major telecom operator's call-center. Enquiry ends

A few years apart, two suicides occurred in the same cancellation department at the internal call centre of a major telecom operator. The police investigation has just been completed and it’s rich in information. The reasons for the tragedy have been identified through the tapping of telephone records and internal objective notes. More information will follow in the week of 11 April in Paris. A dossier followed exclusively by En-Contact.

Within the call centre industry, the "anti-churn" departments and the teams working there are often considered as Division 1, where the Best Performers have their performance monitored, hour by hour. This is where the most experienced, persuasive agents are responsible for convincing customers and subscribers who wish to cancel their contract, subscription, to reconsider their decision. Canal+, SFR, Orange, Indexia, Lagardère Média all have such dedicated call centres in France or offshore. At Canal+ in Morocco, the anti-churn team managed to dissuade 20% of customers from breaking their subscriptions. At Pages Jaunes (now Solocal), in the late 1990s, the telesales team (900 tele salespeople) recovered dropped contracts (in ODA jargon.) However, not all cancellation services are affected by such cases.

In this enquiry, a manager and, a few years later, a young telephone advisor who worked on the same in-house telephone platform of a large internet and telecom operator committed suicide, one of them mentioning in a letter the excessive pressure put on the percentage of customers who had to be re-subscribed at all costs. The awarding of performance bonuses was massively correlated with the number of cancellations avoided.

Up to 28 outgoing calls to convince the subscriber not to cancel. Press conference.

The long investigation, which required the intervention of the judicial authorities, has now been concluded. At first, the operator's customer service department concealed the professional origin of the manager's suicide, despite an explicit letter that was uncovered. At a press conference to be held next week, the magazine En-Contact will reveal the circumstances that accelerated the tragedy and why the company tried to conceal the internal notes and numerical targets that caused the suicides.

The telephone recordings of conversations with customers by the young telephone advisor revealed that customers were subjected to a veritable obstacle course in order to terminate their contract, and that some were called back up to 28 times to reconsider their wish to terminate. Many of the operator's customers sometimes shouted at the telephone advisers, irritated at not being heard and at being systematically offered a renewal.

At Indexia, formerly SFAM, the cancellation service is also at the heart of the insurance broker's business model. The police investigation revealed that a software program automated the responses to be given to irritated customers. Only after the words "legal proceedings", "registered letter with complaint", had been uttered were the tele-advisors allowed to actually initiate the refunds long requested by the policyholders.

To be invited to the press conference to be held on Tuesday 11 or Wednesday 12 April at 5pm in Paris 6, please send your full details to [email protected] (email and mobile phone).

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