When you pick up the phone do you hope to talk to a human?
In the not so distant past I was calling an OEM for status on a repair we had gone through.
I picked up the phone, palms slightly sweaty as I was already anticipating what I was about to encounter.
After dialing the number the phone began to ring …
My ears aware of what was coming next I hear “You have reached ___ please listen carefully as our menu has changed”
After 8 options I chose 4 for repairs.
“You have reached the repairs dept. Please press 1 for …” and they go on to list customer support, shipping, QC, among 5 other options.
I chose the option that I thought was best, customer support.
They then go on to list 5 people what I can press an extension for and talk to. Frustrated being on the phone for 5 minutes at this point I press 3.
I call the extension and it goes to voice-mail. I was nearly a few seconds away from throwing my phone across the room but I decided to leave a voice-mail. I received a return call 2 days later.
To me, this is horrible customer service and is no way how to interact with paying clients.
Would this even be considered customer service?
This is why I give you 10 ways to spot a robot and avoid situations like this.
10 Ways to Spot a Customer Service Robot
1) Pressing multiple numbers to reach one person
Just as you saw in my beginning story, pressing all sorts of crazy numbers adds stress, anxiety and annoyance in a world where you already get plenty of that. Hang-up the phone, throw it across the room, or avoid any companies who want you to go through 15 robots automated answering machines to get to a human. Obviously they're too busy or cheap for you.
2) Overpromise and underdeliver
Have you ever talked to a person who overpromises on everything but never pulls through? “Oh you need it there by Thursday, I'll get it to you by Wednesday.” Come Friday you still do not have your order. Or they quote you an average repair price and they either find out that they no longer have capabilities after you send them the unit or their average is double just from labor.
3) No personality
If you call a company and the other person does not sound alive, like they want to talk to you, or are miserable … RUN. You'll be on a fast track of a whole mess of “I Do not Care About You” if you continue any further.
4) Significantly delayed responses
People are busy and delayed responses are normal. But and I mean a big “but” is when you see a company that says if you do not hear from us in 48 hours consider it a no quote. This statement shows this company has their priorities straight (incredible amount of sarcasm in that sentence).
5) “Sorry for the inconvenience”
We've talked about this before and I hear this often. You order something and they can not locate the part or whatever excuse it may be. They then send you an email saying “sorry for the inconvenience.” Inconvenience? You deserve more than an inconvenience statement. An inconvenience is when you run out of salt for your dinner, the dry cleaners are closed on Saturday, but this order, your time is much more than an inconvenience. It's a distribution nightmare that you now have to fix.
6) Poor problem solving skills
The people who write “sorry for the inconvenience” are always people with poor problem solving skills. If a problem occurs you deserve solutions to be presented to you. Or better yet they just figure out a solution and go on as normal and do not stress you out.
7) Unreachable on weekends
Now, you may debate with me on this one but if you are close with your supplier they should be accessible to you on weekends. Aviation is an industry that never sleeps and for you, either should they.
8) Avoids emailing after closing
Companies close and that's fine. Your account manager or whomever you talk to should still be able to respond via email after closing. Granted, they can not make magic happen but they can still address you if its pertinent. This small step shows they care and that they're not a robot.
9) Constant push lists and sales tactics
This drives me crazy. I get a push list from a particular company every single day. I've actually tried to buy off this company. I submitted the PO, I never got a confirmation and my phone calls would go straight to voice mail. Surprisingly, I still received push lists despite them ignoring my attempt to buy. Crazy I know.
10) Reading from a script
This is the worst case of I'm a robot . Just recently we contacted a company and a young lady answered. Sounding rather timid we advised her the reason of our call. I kid you not, she replied after a brief pause “So it looks like I'm supposed to ask you how the weather is”. Wait, what? After a brief laugh we parted ways.
There are plenty of articles on customer service and how it should be done but there's no magic formula.
Just deal with a human that cares about you and you'll be all set.
Avoid robots, talk to humans and live stress free.