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Call centers must now answer you within 3 minutes

A typical Customer Service call center...maybe not in Israel!

A typical Customer Service call center…maybe not in Israel!

Good news for weary call center victims – your call must now be answered within 3 minutes in Israel from the major utility and communication providers. The list, according to Haaretz, includes cellular, Internet and television service providers; natural gas providers; water utilities and the Israel Electric Corporation; and firms providing ongoing medical support services, such as Natali, Shahal and Bikur Rofeh.

If the switchboard is too busy and an agent won’t be able to get to your call within the 3 minute maximum, you must be given the option to leave a message and the company must return your call within 3 hours. During that period, the company must make at least two attempts to reach you and if they don’t succeed after the second try, the company must leave a message too.

If you choose to remain on the line, the company must tell you how many other customers are ahead of you and to give an estimated waiting time. Customers must also be given another chance to leave a message.

If you call less than 2 hours before the call center closes for the day, your call back must be within the first 3 hours of the following business day.

This is all good news for consumers, although it’s not heard to imagine a scenario where company and customer play phone tag for days, despite the best intentions. Nevertheless, I’m always delighted to see even the slightest moves towards more responsive customer service in Israel. We still have a long way to go…or do we? At least all our calls are answered locally. I haven’t seen any outsourcing of Hebrew speaking call center reps to India.

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