The Service-Centered Phone System: Not an Oxymoron

The phone sorting system is inevitable. You can’t escape it (or the dread it conjures). So, when I noticed the satellite dishes appearing on my side of the apartment building, I smiled at the thought of having another cable provider option…and then grimaced at the reality of having to face the phone system my current service provider utilized in order to cancel. The call lived up to my expectations. After clearly articulating “cancel service,” I was transferred to a customer service representative who proceeded to transfer me three more times. Each time, I had to relay basic customer information and once was even told a manager was “not available.”

I was a little more optimistic about calling the new provider to become a customer because, as a past customer, I knew their service standards were better. Still, the phone system prompted fear. Fortunately, their voice recognition technology was better; I was immediately transferred to the right department. And, although the person who answered the call could not help me, she stayed on the line while I was transferred to a colleague and she explained the situation. Both service representatives had my past customer history in front of them and made conversation about my preference for on-demand sports. I also was given a number to call in case the call was disconnected. And, although I had to be transferred one more time, I found that I didn’t mind because this customer-focused phone service method was pleasant and purposeful.

I came away from this experience with one thought: companies with true service-orientation apply their specific service style to each operational change. Yeah, most utility companies use a phone tree/voice recognition system. But only a very few create a memorable service experience out of this sorting mechanism.

I want to hear from you! Respond to one, all, or none of the questions below. I just want to hear your thoughts! And, if you post a response, be sure to check back for a reply!

  • What is your first thought when faced with a phone system recording? Why?
  • Have you ever been impressed with a company’s customer service phone system? Which company and why?
  • Have industry-wide customer service technological changes added to or detracted from customer service standards?

Post your response!