It’s pretty safe to say that none of us terribly enjoy calling up customer service and being forced to listen to menu after menu of options all before we finally get put on hold long enough to prepare and cook a turducken. But a new study of the top 101 online retailers claims to have found 22 dotcom merchants who don’t force you to climb the phone tree.
A Raleigh, North Carolina woman is complaining that when you call Time Warner Cable the automated voice response tree is a little haywire. When you say “upgrade” it connects you to a live operator. But when you say “downgrade,” it disconnects your call. Funny how that works.
We’re happy for Comcast that it’s a giant company and all, but is it really that impossible to have someone in Connecticut talk on the phone with a Connecticut-based customer about a no-show installation tech who we presume should also be in Connecticut? Maybe that’s the problem—maybe the technician was accidentally outsourced and is presently driving around Mexico or the Antarctic looking for Karah’s address.
Josh chopped down Duke Energy‘s thicket of phone trees by launching the mighty Executive Email Carpet Bomb. He had a simple request: turn on the power to his construction site. Calling the main customer support number led to a series of thirty-minute waits while listening to Duke’s cheerful computer voice promise that he would hold “for no longer than one minute.” He also sent six emails to Duke’s customer service inbox, all of which were ignored. Finally, after three weeks without power, Josh tracked down executive contact info for Duke’s executives and fired off an EECB. Five minutes later, his problem was solved.
Don’t take it personally if you can’t reach Bank of America to renegotiate your mortgage payments. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) tried calling the bank on behalf of two constituents, only to be “repeatedly put on hold for long stretches, disconnected, transferred to extensions that did not work, and ultimately switched to a recording which directed her to the bank’s website.”
Fonolo.com promises to be an industrial-powered buzzsaw for hacking down phone trees. They’ve spidered companies’ entire customer service phone trees and you just click on a chart online where you want to go. Fonolo calls the company for you, navigates to that point, and calls you on your phone when the call is ready. Boom, you’re transferred right in without waiting or wanting to kill yourself. It’s also free. Good news for Vincent Ferrari wannabes, a forthcoming feature will let you record calls and publish them online at the click of a button. Currently in closed beta, you can enter your email address on their front page and they’ll let you know when it’s ready. Screenshots inside…
Companies are slowly learning that those infuriating automated phone trees aren’t the answer to their customer service problems. Some experts even claim that automated systems anger customers. The New York Times decided to trace the history of the hated trees, while wondering if things will ever change.
This article suggests small business can make themselves look like big, important, inefficient businesses simply by getting a hosted PBX system. A robot will offer choices like, “1 for sales, 2 for service…” but all the options will route to the same operator.
Calling a big scary company and getting executive customer can be daunting for the novice, so we wanted to show you how easy it is.
UPDATE: As of 10:32, the problem seems to be fixed. Bang zero to your heart’s content, our pretties.