If I Could Rid My Life…
John over at ChurchCrunch.com has come up with a community building Topic of the Week blog challenge where he is encouraging those of us who write frequently to all chime in on the same topic to share ideas, create community, and conversations of “sheer awesomeness. I will gladly take the challenge! This week’s topic is:
If you could “get rid”of one piece of technology in your life, what would it be and why?
The piece of technology that absolutely drives me crazy is the automated phone attendant answering system that most larger companies (and churches) now integrate to “manage” their in-coming calls. Seldom if ever, are these systems a good idea. All the companies who choose to operate with these think they are saving money by not having real people funnel this process of in-coming call management. However, what they forget is that having customers call you is an opportunity to actually dialogue with them. Something has happened in the life of your customer that they are reaching out for your help and that pain-point has made them highly motivated to take their precious time to pick up the phone and call your organization!
Calling For Help!
Often, I realize, that this means that they either have a complaint or they are in desperate need of help in relation to your product. This anxiety is an opportunity to connect with your customer and provide smooth resolution to their particular issue. You now have an opportunity to build a higher level of good-will with them, increase their customer loyalty, and build greater brand value. What automated phone systems do is completely the opposite. They increase the anxiety level to unnecessary heights because these systems almost inevitably drag the customer into a heightened world of frustration and uncertainty. As a result, the good-will that could be built is often catapulted 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Then the customer feels more confrontational when and if they ever get to talk to a real person to get their issue resolved! Read about Seth Godin’s recent fiasco with KitchenAid for more on How To Answer The Phone.
The Cost is More Than You Can Measure
This is a problem! Every one of us has had multiple frustrations of this type – we all have a “bad” story, right?. Sure, the automated phone attendant does appear to help a company’s bottom line financially by removing the salaries of real human beings. However the cost to the organization is far more than a few administrative level salaries would ever be. Business is lost. Good-will is lost. Relationships are lost. Sales are lost. One of the most important positions in any organization is the person who answers the phone for you! They are your organization’s first point of contact with people who are already your customer, or better still, ones who want to be. This is the point of customer engagement that is worth more than most organizations ever realize.
Get rid of the automated attendant, I say! Hire the best person or people you can find who will represent your organization at its very best from the moment that phone is picked up. The future health and success of your business depends on it! And everyone who calls you will appreciate dealing with real people! What a concept!
Feel free to share your thoughts or stories about your own bad (or good ones if the exist) interactions with automated phone systems in the comments section of this post!Tweet