20 years of serving customers with heart-to-heart communication

“Hello. Thank you for calling dtac call center. This is Sudatip Sangsueb speaking. How may I help you?”

Many dtac customers may be familiar with this greeting phrase from the call center team who works tirelessly to ensure best customer service experience 24/7. But behind their beautiful and soothing voices, most of the time they are working under pressure.

dtacblog spoke with Sudatip Sangsueb from the dtac customer service team to find out more about her two-decade journey at dtac, her customer service philosophy, and post-pandemic challenges call center agents encounter.

A former aquatic science student

Ms. Sudatip studied aquatic science in college. After her graduation, she came across a job ad for a customer service position at dtac, and she decided to give it a try. She has been working at dtac ever since.

During the recruitment process for customer service agents, candidates must go through a round of pre-employment screening where interviews are being conducted via a phone call to assess their aptitude and communication skills. Once they are hired, the new recruits will receive about 100 hours of training to learn more about the company’s products and services: price plans, billing systems, network technology and more. This is then followed by a 20-hour simulation workshop.

“The workshop is to see how each agent handles calls. We assign a more senior staff as a practice buddy to train and test the readiness of a new agent in serving customers under pressure,” Ms. Sudatip explained. “And after being assigned to a team, their buddies will continue to support them to ensure they can deliver expert advice and a smooth customer experience.”

First day at work

At first, Ms. Sudatip thought working as a call center agent wouldn’t be much of a challenge to her, given her calm and patient personality. But then she discovered things were much different from what she expected.

“During my first weeks, my hands were cold and shaking as I didn’t know what kind of situation I would be encountering,” she said. “The job also requires multitasking skills. You need to pay attention to what a customer is saying to understand their true needs while taking note of all the information as per the company procedure.”

Meanwhile, successfully identifying and meeting different needs of customers requires more than just expert knowledge about products and services or politeness.

“I can still remember one of my first calls with customers. It was a complaint case. I burst into tears in the middle of the call. And my buddy had to step in and take over the case.” Ms. Sudatip recounted.

Leading the special unit

Because of that incident, Ms. Sudatip felt discouraged. But she didn’t stop practicing and improving her skills and continued to deliver better performance. Eventually, she was promoted to a team lead position.

“A good call center agent needs to have extensive knowledge about products and services, a service mind, and empathy,” she said. “It’s also important you master tone of voice as your voice can reveal emotion.”

Throughout her career at dtac, there is one case that’s still very memorable for Ms. Sudatip. It happened not long after she had been promoted to the team lead position and had to oversee more than 10 members.

“I remember this customer who kept calling every day for several months. It was so overwhelming that some of my team members burst into tears during the calls. And I had to intervene several times,” she said. “But with empathy, heart-to-heart communication, and our efforts to follow up and deliver on what we promised, we gradually won the customer over and both of us still maintain a good relationship until today. To me, it’s about helping people without expecting nothing in return.”

Post-pandemic customer service

When the spread of Covid-19 peaked in April 2021, dtac enacted a 100% work from home policy for employees whose positions allowed them to do so. This ensured dtac employees could continue to serve customers while staying safe. And this policy was also applied to the customer service team.

“We never worked from home before. At the very beginning everyone was worried if things will run smoothly, especially the system. But we quickly learned and adapted to the new normal,” Ms. Sudatip said. At the same time, dtac continues to enhance its personal data protection to better serve customers in the post-pandemic world.

As a team leader, Ms. Sudatip focuses her attention on physical and mental wellbeing of those in her team. They are scheduled to meet regularly to catch up, share their learnings about cases, and keep track of their performance and progress.

“Some of our members face challenges with background noise when working from home as not everyone has a private and quiet space to work. But our customers are very understanding,” she said. “One time, a rooster kept crowing in the background while a team member was solving case for a customer. She was very worried and kept apologizing, but the customer was very sweet and understanding, and they just shared a lighthearted laugh.”

In general, the changing work arrangements don’t seem to affect the team performance or their ambition to deliver great customer service. Complaint cases are being solved within a specified timeframe, and the team maintains a consistently high level of customer service regardless of where they work.

“I am so proud to be able to support customers and help solve their pain points, win their hearts, and share with my team a service-minded culture, to ensure dtac can deliver the best experience to customers,” Ms. Sudatip said.