Customer service call centers

I am of the opinion that you can find out how dedicated a company is to great customer service by evaluating how easy or difficult it is to get a representative of that company on the phone.

Lots of companies bury the 800 number on their website where it isnt easily found. They are telling you “please don’t call”. If the “Contact Us” link brings up a web form and not a phone number then you are in for a long ride. Most companies do publish a number somewhere, however, so you can call if you are diligent enough to locate the number.

At this point it is important to point out that i said you can call them but made no promised about talking to anyone. With increasing annoyance, phone systems are now made of menus for everything. Im of the habit of just saying “agent” as soon and as often as possible until the system connects me to someone. But in recent years that doesnt even seem to work. Press 1 for this, press 2 for that and so on and so forth.

The big picture is puZzling: if a customer cares enough to call then they likely need to have an issue that needs to be solved or a question answered. Yes, automated systems are cheaper then call centers, but the increase in customer dissatisfaction is a steep price to pay. EVERYONE would prefer talking to a human over a dial-menu automated system.

Friday night I called the Local apple store to Ask a question about Apple Care. Apple uses an automated system that sounds like a human and is supposed to be able to help. I was calling from my backyard and didn’t have my product serial number so the system just kept repeating itself in asking me for it. I hung up and called back and chose a different option only for the system to tell me I had to go online for that kind of help. I called back and said “agent” and the system kept prompting me to do different things such as tell it what I was calling for. After a few seconds of saying “agent” the apple phone system HUNG UP ON ME.

So now i was fairly ticked off. The fourth time I called back I raised my voice and – using a few swear words – told the automated voice that I wanted to talk to a human.

The system replied: “transferring you to an agent right away”.

So at least now I know how to talk to someone at the end of the line at Apple.

****

If you make it difficult for customers to reach a real live person than they will eventually take the hint that their individual concerns are not as important to you as they are to them. And they will take their business elsewhere. The key to delivering a great customer experience is to make sure the customer knows they will be taken care of AFTER they have initially given you their money. At Signature-Electronics, we work hard to make sure that problems are solved proactively. We aren’t perfect, but at least if you have a problem you’ll never have to worry about getting a member of our team on the phone.

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