What has happened to the good old fashioned customer service? Most organizations today have digitized humans out of existence in their customer service operations!
Now, I love digital technology as much as anyone, but it is time to bring the people back into their appropriate customer service roles, don’t you think?
Have you ever tried to reach a human at Amazon.com? When I last checked you couldn’t even find a telephone number on the website.
Many organizations don’t even have a live person answering phones. They dump you directly into voicemail. If this happens to you, punch “0” immediately. Some systems are programmed to ignore the first three “0s” so keep punching. This almost always gets you to a sentient being. OK, sentient may be a little strong. At least they are breathing. Sometimes if you hit the * key, you’ll be sent to the company directory.
The Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business reports that in a recent survey of 1,000 people about customer service “can’t find a human” was at the top of the list of things participants disliked. The study further showed that calling a toll free number was still the preferred method of reaching a company, but more people are turning to the web because no one appears to be home at the phone.
The society has published an online directory containing a lot of contact information for many top companies. I use it frequently.
Here are a few other tips for hunting down a human. Try using the Whois directory. However, truly cunning companies have removed their contact information from there, too.
Companies which continue to shirk their responsibility to their customers eventually will pay. Customer retention rates will spiral downward and new business will dry up. At least, I keep telling myself this will happen to these bad PR poster children.
If you call me, unless I’m on fire or talking with a client, I’ll answer my phone. And, if I somehow miss your call, it won’t take me 24 hours to get back to you. It’s bad PR – and inhuman – to do anything less..
About The Author
Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR.