“For English, please say or press 1,” so you press 1. The friendly automated voice says, “I am sorry. I did not get that. What would you like to do?” So you say “1.” The friendly voice then asks, “Did you say ‘1’? Press or say 1 for yes, and 2 for no.” So you say, “Customer service.” The voice replies right back with, “Okay, I will transfer you to a representative, BUT first, please tell me the reason for your call,” followed by a list of options that are not relevant to your call. Here, then, are your options, and not one of them is what you need, so you repeat “customer service” and she repeats the same list. By this point, five minutes have passed and you don’t even have a spot in the customer service center queue.
Encounters with Automated Customer Service
I am sure you have had at least a few such encounters with automated service. And doubtless you’ve been made to listen to the company’s music of choice—or worse, marketing pitches trying to convince you to purchase additional products or services—while you wait for a human to come on the line. Automation is altering the way we communicate with our customers in our businesses. With the increasing reliance on automated systems, self-service ticketing, live chats, and self-service portals, we are telling people that we are not available to help them directly. This is not the message we want to send to our customers.
Why a Company Resorts to Automated Phone Systems
There are many reasons why a company will resort to an automated phone system. But the number one reason is to cut costs. By using an automated system to filter calls so that the majority of customers reach the appropriate representative, it’s possible to reduce the overall cost of providing customer service. Often enough, many customers need to hear the same or similar information. These customers might not need to speak to a person. For example, a customer might call a bank to retrieve account information that can easily be communicated through an automatic system. In such a case, the automated system can work well for both the customer and the company. But the system can quickly become limiting and frustrating when a customer calls with a more complicated need.
A Better Way to Get Your Questions Answered
Here are some ways to navigate through that automated system faster and more easily. Most importantly, in order to get the customer service assistance you deserve. Instead of playing 20 questions with that very nice automated lady or gent, you can try a few tricks to get to a customer service representative quickly. I personally have used all of these, and they really do work:
– Repeatedly say the word “operator” or “customer service.”
– Say the word “complaint” (as in “I’d like to file a complaint”) as many times as possible.
– Press 0 numerous times.
Wouldn’t it be Nice?
Living in the fast-paced world that we do, it is inevitable that we as customers will continue to have no choice about automated services. Wouldn’t it be great, though, to have every call be as easy as this one depicted in a Discover Card commercial?
We all know the automated phone system can sometimes be a waste of time for the caller. And what is good for one company may not be good for another. But the reality is we will have to continue to use these systems, so I hope these tips will help. And I hope that your next experience on an automated call will go a little faster than the ones before!