Posts Tagged ‘David Truog’

Service of “Hello, Hello Is Anyone There?”

Monday, December 12th, 2022



Image by Nebraska Department of Education from Pixabay

I called a pharmacy to see if it would deliver a prescription and instead of speaking with someone up the street, I ended up at a call center in India. The person kept asking me when I wanted to make a Covid vaccine appointment. He disconnected me—inadvertently I suspect–and I ended up in a survey. You can imagine what grade I gave each of the questions between 0 and 10 about the effectiveness of the call. I got a person but…..

When calling an insurance company or large corporation I must be in a good mood, preferably on a sunny day. I know in advance that my question won’t fit one of the choices—“Press One for billing; Press Two for technical assistance,” etc.—or that I’ll be directed to the website and that I’ll be left hanging and frustrated.

Wall Street Journal reporters Rachel Wolfe and Allison Pohle wrote: “It’s Not Just You: Businesses Are Making Their Phone Numbers Hard to Find” with a subhead “More customer-facing phone numbers are being replaced with chat boxes and virtual reservation systems that can make connecting to an actual human being next to impossible.”

They reported: “A 2,200-person Morning Consult poll conducted for The Wall Street Journal shows that about half of respondents said they had to search a company website extensively to find a number in the past year, and 41% of all respondents said no number was available. Some 43% of survey respondents said they prefer talking with a customer-service rep over the phone, while 5% prefer talking to a bot through instant messaging.”

Replacing a phone service with automated chat functions or with communications through social media is cost-saving but is it good for business?  “Consumers say those options leave them spending hours sorting through FAQ lists, sending emails to nowhere and talking to less-than-helpful chatbots to resolve issues that could have taken minutes to fix with a human on the phone.”

The reporters wrote about a 26 year old who frittered away five hours trying to reach an airline with nothing resolved. Her brother and father had no better luck. Finally, a customer service rep fixed the problem on Facebook Messenger***. According to that airline “the shift to digital service ensures customers get the information they need as efficiently as possible. The airline says it had found that most customers prefer communicating via digital channels and that live agent support is available 24/7.” Really?


Image by lindsayascott from Pixabay

***Are you up the creek if you’re not on Facebook?

A large Las Vegas hotel uses a digital tool that wasn’t working for one guest who tried using it a few times to report he had no hot water, so he didn’t bother to try yet again to note there was gum and hair in the sheets. Calling the front desk didn’t work either. He landed in “a general call-services center.” And in person? “The line at reception often snaked around the hotel lobby.”

Only after the Wall Street Journal reached out did the system accept an update with a driver’s license change on a customer’s profile at a major car rental service. The customer had tried unsuccessfully to provide the info for over a year during which time he’d rented many a car.

The reporters offered a tip: A free online database, “GetHuman,” shares intel on how best to reach 10,000 companies. The director of operations told them: “……. users are very particular about where they are spending their money right now. It’s a bad time to be making enemies.”

Do you have tricks for getting through to a company that doesn’t want anyone to speak with you? Are there any companies that do it right?


Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay
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