When your customers call you – what happens BEFORE they get put through to your staff?

A heck of a lot has been said about the irritating ‘Press 1 for this, press 2 for that’ kind of response when you call a company. Or the even more irritating ‘We’re sorry we’re unable to take your call at the moment, please wait until an operator becomes available’ plus the ‘Your call is valuable to us’ kind of tat. (If it was that valuable they would go out of their way to answer it first time round, hey…) But what about the other irritating things that put customers off when they call you and which could lose you important business?

Yesterday I called a company and for the first few minutes was subjected to a long spiel about which company was part of which other company and who they’re regulated by and so on. Then I was transferred to one of those ‘Sorry all our operators are unavailable’ messages. And when the operator finally answered it turned out that the person I was calling was out of the office, and so I got their voicemail. Which, of course, meant that I had to call back later and be subjected to all this torture again.

Perhaps they are obliged by whatever official regulations to state all this stuff every time a caller gets in touch. But if not, they why do it? Why do something that irritates people or makes you seem pompous and full of self-importance?

Whether it’s as a copywriter or a consumer, I personally don’t do business with people who prefer to blow their own trumpet rather than serve me. And I doubt that I’m alone.

And talking about trumpets makes me think of music…

Playing music while a caller is on hold has been around for some time now. But the other day I was subjected to the kind of ‘on hold’ music that goes back to the dark ages of early electronics. The ‘on hold’ version of Space Invaders. Boy, was it irritating!

Music that blasts in your ear is equally as irritating. Or music that ends abruptly, making you think you’re about to be put through only to get another pre-recorded voice telling you that your call is important to them.

Or more trumpet-blowing, or trying to sell you stuff.

I’m already irritated, so I’m hardly likely to be thrilled to hear about another product or service when the company hasn’t got the staff or the inclination to answer my call.

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