I just moved from the Midwest, back to the Northeast. I have made a hundred calls for various services: movers, utilities, carpet cleaning companies, and so many more. One thing for certain, I’ve encountered some of the worst automatic call distribution (ACD) systems around.

Listen, I get it. I’ve been a big fan of ACD systems for many years. Done properly, they get callers to the right people so they can be helped as quickly and effectively as possible and they help diffuse inbound call loads during peak hours. What starts out as a way to deliver impressive customer service often ends up being a customer’s worst nightmare. And it’s your fault.

I’ve designed and scripted more call trees than I can count. My goal has always been about the customer journey, and this wonderful technology should make that journey more pleasant. I realize many of you are dealing with staffing issues, and this post is not about wait times. Everyone understands – or at least they should. This post IS about ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated answering systems that require a Ph.D. to navigate. This situation has gotten out of hand. Honestly, what are some of you thinking?

First off, I have noticed an increase in the number of companies who have hidden, and even entirely removed, their customer service phone numbers from their websites. Hello? Your goal is to make it easy to do business with your company, not make it impossible to get in touch with you. At least give me options. Do you offer an online chat option? How about a chat-by-text mobile option? How about the option to call me back instead of me waiting on hold listening to your royalty-free “music”? And come on, there’s no worse salt on the wound than a recording telling me I’m your top priority when clearly, I’m not.

By the way, by hiding your customer service number on your site, I can only assume you want me to fill out your “Contact Us” form and wait for an email response. Really? I need help now. While we’re on the topic, if your form and processes are either complicated or time-consuming, you have other issues. You’re operationally inefficient or your website stinks. Or both.

Believe me, I understand; you want to get the right call to the right department. Brilliant. However, please keep your topic selection process simple. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to all the choices, and my topic wasn’t even listed as an option! How about making the last choice “For everything else, please press 8”? A client offered me this response… “If we do that, everyone will press that option.” My response? “Then the other selection options were not properly determined when you set them up.”

To bring this rant to a close, let me say this; when you’re designing your call tree for your ACD system, run it by a few customers and your front-line agents before implementing it. They’ll tell you if it’s any good. If you want some help, call me…. you’ll get right through.

Finally, if we’re not connected on LinkedIn or you’re not following me here, let’s fix that right now.

#business #technology #acd #telephonesystems #telephony

1 comment

  1. Vivid picture of what most people are faced with and add an aging population to that and the number of lost clients grows even more.

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