I think I preferred cold callers

November 24, 2014 § 4 Comments

Cold callers drive me mad but at least I understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. No, I haven’t been involved in a road traffic accident in the last couple of years, whatever your records tell you. No I haven’t been mis-sold PPI – and I have checked before you ask. But I ‘get it.’  I’m not sure of the odds but one in every ‘blah’ number of calls is a winner and the cold caller can take you onto the next stage. There wouldn’t be a business in it if the numbers didn’t stack up. IMG_0801 There’s also a bit of payback for us. If we’re really angry about getting these cold calls we can vent our spleen at the cold caller and demand that our details are removed from records because we’ve signed up to the Telephone Preference Service and nothing of this sort should be happening. And, frankly, we will feel a lot better for getting that off our chests. (Personally, I always like to see/hear how they’re going to manage with my surname because Lefebve is rarely pronounced properly and few cold callers have developed a knack of dealing with surnames they can’t pronounce. I give good listening time to those that have!) But companies have found other ways of contacting us with offers now and they leave no ranting room whatsoever. I absolutely can’t see how these routes can be effective although someone, I expect, is about to prove me wrong. This morning I answered the phone to what initially seemed to be a dead line but just before I hung up it turned into a recorded message about boilers. I can’t tell you much more than that because then I did hang up. Even if you needed a boiler – which I don’t – how are you going to be persuaded by a dull recorded message which answers no questions and doesn’t tailor information to you. Then there are the text messages that companies presumably believe will motivate us into taking up their offer of….whatever it is they’re offering. I’ve always seen text messages as a very passive means of a communication: if my kids really need me they’ll call; if they’re just touching base, they’ll text. So I don’t see text messages as vibrant marketing. The icing on the alternative-to-cold-calling-cake happened just now though when I answered the phone and a voice, very brightly, said ‘Goodbye!’ That’s an automated system gone bonkers.

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I want to talk to a PERSON!!!!

August 6, 2014 § 2 Comments

a9bc68e5eIf anyone has a query or a problem they can call me and I speak to them. When Bowler Hat gets a billion times bigger I’ll employ tons of receptionists and we’ll all talk to callers. We’ll be the most communicative communications company in the business.

Never – and I mean, never – will I subject my customers to machines or (and this has to be even worse) deny them telephone contact altogether. If that sounds a little antiquated I don’t care because a helpful person at the end of the phone is going to beat an automated menu of options hands-down, however old you are.

For starters…. people UNDERSTAND you and why you’re calling!!! Their pliable brains can hop all over the shop to fathom, filter and fulfil requests or sort out problems. A good old-fashioned conversation can take place so the caller can fully explain the issue at hand.

Not so with the automated voice system which goes into meltdown if the caller digresses from the menu – or, for goodness sake, hesitates for an instant. Have suffered this week trying to contact a huge and hugely well-known financial institution. The ‘voice’ didn’t know what to do with my query which didn’t slot into Options 1-6 and I didn’t know what to do with my frustration by the fifth attempt of rephrasing the question.

I’d just about recovered from that experience when a couple of days later I came up against the ‘Unfortunately we no longer offer a telephone support system’ sort of company. Would have preferred to speak to someone but, hey, I’m a writer – so took a deep breath and wrote a comprehensive email to said ‘we’d-rather-you-didn’t-contact-us’ company.

Minutes later, far too few minutes later – ping! Company replies. They’d read, it seemed, maybe three pars of the 12-paragraph letter I’d written, completely misunderstood it and explained a outrageously wrong decision with an outrageous explanation.

AAARGH!!!

I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I put the pertinent points in the first three pars. I did, I did, I did. But it was a complicated issue and needed clarification and details.

I’m reliving the maddeningly wrist-wrenching experience as I type…but I think I’m over it now. I haven’t forgotten about it, though, have I. What this week has proved to me is that no matter the scale of the company, machines just don’t ‘do’ customer service. People do.

What worries me is this seemingly growing trend of companies putting the phone down on customers in favour of automation.

PS. At the time of writing am holding on to speak to someone at O2 and the sickly automated woman’s voice keeps telling me there’s loads of info on their website. I KNOOOOW. That’s where I got the number from but I want to talk to a person!!!!!

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