5 Reasons Why You Roll Your Eyes Before Calling Customer Service
Why do I roll my eyes every time I need to call customer service? I’ve noticed this a lot ever since we introduced the VHT Conversation Bridge. You may do it too. It happened again this past weekend when I wanted to know if I could buy a refurbished iPhone 4 for my wife. Like anybody, I looked online first for information. I saw something about refurb iPhones on the website for $49, but it required a new two year contract. This wouldn’t work because it would screw up her upgrade when the new 5 came out. So I thought of calling the store to see if they had any before heading over there. When I called, there wasn’t a menu option that properly suited my request, so I pressed ‘zero’ three times like any normal person would. Fortunately, there wasn't any hold time. A woman answered the phone and I explained to her what I was looking to do. She kindly indicated that they did not sell any refurbished phones at the store and that I would need to call the customer service center. In that moment I found myself rolling my eyes while letting out a sigh of exasperation. I kindly thanked the woman and hung up. Why did I roll my eyes?
I rolled my eyes for the following 5 reasons:
I was going to have to snake my way through a menu system, listening and wondering when to press what.
I knew that I was eventually going to press ‘zero’ three times until I was transferred to a real person.
I was going to have to repeat my request to another customer service representative.
I was probably going to experience hold time for who knows how long.
When I would finally get through to real person, he or she would tell me that I could order a refurbished iPhone 4 for a special price, but only if I renewed my contract for another two years (the exact offer on the website).
Perhaps I was being hyper-cynical in anticipating a complete customer service failure, but it was how I felt nonethess...like I had been classically conditioned this way. I sat at the kitchen table contemplating my next move. I felt strongly that calling customer service was going to get me nowhere. So I decided to call the Apple Store at the mall to see if they sold refurbed iPhone 4’s. When I called, I was greeted by a menu system. After none of the choices matched my request, I pressed ‘zero’ three times. I then began the process of waiting on hold. It was like deja vu all over again. After a solid 5 minutes (which felt like a lot longer) I disconnected the call, gave up on this task for now and proceeded to go outside and mow my lawn.
These are just a few examples. There are many customer service requests that do not fit into a nice neat box. I bet many people, like you, roll their eyes before engaging in what they expect will be an archaic, bureaucratic, “by the book” customer service process. How can we help customers cut through the noise and get more done, quicker? Would callback, virtual queuing or a conversation bridge help? My final point: if service is the "great differentiator" and if we are going to evolve it and improve the customer experience, then we need to think differently about our tools and processes. The existing ones are getting very stale, are totally predictable and are only borderline helpful. Your not demonstrating differentiation if your not thinking differently.