'Sell to them or you will lose your job': Call centre employees for big banks reveal upsell pressures


No import the reason a customer calls a bank’s hotline — online banking skirmish, stolen credit card, bill discrepancy — call centre hands say their job could be on the line if they can’t sell the caller a new product or usefulness.

In emails to Go Public, past and present call centre employees for TD, RBC, BMO and CIBC (not any from Scotiabank) said they’re expected to use the same high-pressure trades tactics as those their branch colleagues recently revealed to CBC Information — and face the same threat of being fired if they fail to devotedly upsell customers.

‘I was forced to put her in debt

A former CIBC call concentrate worker in Halifax said her manager pressured her to sell a $250,000 on the short list for of credit to an 82-year-old woman who just called to arrange a small lend for her son.

«This customer said, ‘I trust you, dear’ and I was forced to put her in debt,» the past worker alleges. 

She said she later spoke with the customer and convinced her not to put the line of credit. Still, she said there was constant pressure to upsell other fellows from a supervisor who stood behind her, listening in on her headset.

«If I didn’t say the valid words, she made sure I put my client on hold and coached me, saying, ‘Convinced to them or you will lose your job.'»

In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for CIBC asseverated in a statement: «The kinds of behaviour you describe would result in the immediate cessation of the supervisor,» and that employees with concerns can use a «confidential ethics hotline» without cravenness of retaliation.

‘It was very stressful’

A 10-year employee in BMO’s Montreal call mid-point said she quit in January because she couldn’t stomach the pressure to furnish callers products they didn’t need just so she could reach her exchanges goals.

«Everything is just shifting from customer focus to wadding up [BMO’s] pockets and I couldn’t agree with that anymore,» she said.


Assorted call centre employees contacted Go Public with stories all round the aggressive sales tactics they’re expected to use. (Shutterstock)

She described how consumers would call for help with technical problems with online banking, without questions about their bank account, or to pay bills or conduct other deals, «and we were expected to sell them something.»

The employee said she purposefulness open up a customer’s profile on her screen and «conversation cues» would pop up, which «were basically in stocks opportunities.»

«I had to ‘action’ them, and if I didn’t my manager would speak mere harshly to me,» she said.

«If I’m not doing well, I could lose my job. Lose monetary security. It was very stressful.»

Asked to comment, BMO said in a statement that it contain a withstands «seriously any suggestion of behaviour not aligned with our values.»

‘I felt with I’m not really helping my clients’

A former RBC call centre worker in Vancouver maintained she was expected to upsell customers on 25 per cent of all calls. That could contain things like transferring the balance from a competitor’s credit car-card onto a customer’s RBC credit card, or shifting the caller from a no-fee assign card to one with annual fees or increasing the customer’s credit fated limit.

‘I’m not making their life easier … I put them into various debt.’
-Former RBC call centre employee

«It really bothered me a lot,» she hinted. «I felt like I’m not really helping my clients, I’m not making their autobiography easier, but difficult sometimes because I put them into more difficulties.»

She and other employees said all their calls are recorded and then randomly discussed to ensure they’re using every opportunity to sell customers spin-offs.

«Wherever you click on the screen is recorded, too,» she said. «And you get in trouble if you haven’t clicked on gismos to sell people.»

Another RBC call centre employee who quit moral last month said she was under constant pressure to sell living soul credit card balance protection insurance or risk losing her job. 

«We prepare a script to follow and if the customer says ‘no’ you have to rebut them at least three times,» she said.

«You’re pushing things some people don’t need. Just conventional people … they have bills to pay … and we have to put the screws on clients into spending more money.»

In a statement, RBC said it «functions to achieve performance goals and objectives by serving the best interests of our shoppers» by providing «proactive financial advice to meet our clients’ needs and add value to their lives.»

‘Hey, can I proliferate the limit on your card?’

A TD call centre worker in London, Ont., said her rummage sales targets are so high she often works unpaid overtime to try to improve her reckons.

She said over the past five years, she «can no longer count how sundry friends and colleagues have left or have been terminated from cultivate because of unreasonable work demands and how stressful it is to go to work.»


Employees from Canada’s five worst banks say sales pressures are forcing them to use what they cogitate on unethical practices towards customers. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

A former TD holler centre employee who worked in the «resolutions» department — handling calls from consumers concerned about activity on their account — said he was still expected to get sales, even when customers were upset.

«You would deliberate over their problem and then at the end of the call say, ‘Well, hey, can I increase the limit on your [tribute] card?'»

TD declined to send a statement addressing the concerns raised by its rebuke a demand centre employees.

Not ‘ripping off granny today’

The flood of stories from bank wage-earners in recent weeks — nearly 2,000 emails sent to Go Public — piques Gerald Parker, executive director of the Institute of Canadian Justice.

He affirms bank employees and other workers need better protections for requiring out when they have workplace concerns.

«They need to be accomplished to say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not going to be able to be ripping off granny today, it’s just not Nautical starboard.'»

Parker says Canada’s whistleblower protection laws need to be invigorated because the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act only covers whistleblowers in the federal notable sector.

«People in the workplace need to be able to be protected and refuse fulfil based on financial and administrative unethical improprieties,» Parker said.  

Discrete of Canada’s big banks do have their own whistleblower hotlines, but many hands have told Go Public they’re reluctant to use them because they don’t have faith their calls would be anonymous.

Bank tactics: ‘Sell to them or you settle upon lose your job’1:50

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