Friday, May 24, 2013

One Fundamental of Good Customer Service

by Pa Rock
Consumer of Services

My job requires that I occasionally make phone calls to multiple public schools.  Generally I dread that task because schools have, by and large, adopted the customer-unfriendly practice of using automated call-routing systems that generally give a little speech about how great their programs are - before providing a variety of numbered options to deflect or stall calls.  The nuisance machines can cause a wait of several minutes before the caller is connected to the desired office - if the customer is exceedingly lucky!  Those suffering from a lack of stamina - or a lack of time - often give up and hang up.

As a customer service, that sucks.

(Doctors' offices are also becoming harder and harder to contact in a timely fashion due to those evil answering systems.  I'm personally very tired of a machine telling me "If this is a true emergency, please hang up and dial 911."  Well dumb ass, if it was a true emergency, I would have called 911 - but today I am just a poor schmuck who is trying to get a prescription extended or set an appointment!)

Over the past few days I have had to telephone numerous high schools located in the West Valley - and I suffered many call-routing machines.  However, late in the morning I phoned nine high schools in one particular district and got a human being first time, every time.  I did not have to put up with one recorded message.

That was a case of great customer service.  The phone rang and someone answered it.  What a concept!

If someone who owns a furniture store or a pizza joint wants to annoy their customers with a call-routing machine, so be it.  They won't be in business long.  But if agencies or offices that provide important services - government offices, schools, and medical offices and facilities - choose to impede customer service with these annoying and time-eating machines, then those making the decisions to do so should be caned in the public square at high noon!

I am hopeful that the use of call-routing machines is an aberration that has about run its course.  It wasn't an accident that every single high school in one Arizona school district answered their phones with a human this morning.   A conscious decision was made by somebody in that district office to treat the public in a respectful manner.  

If the phone rings, answer it.   Courtesy is a great customer service.

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