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Month: June 2009

How Not To Do Automated Answering Services

I’ve written about call centres and automated answering services that do nothing more than irritate the customer. With the amount of time I spend and have spent on the phone, both personally and professionally, you would think that someone somewhere would have an answering service and call centre that didn’t have any elements of irritation.

I’m still looking for that organisation.  I’m wondering if it actually exists.

Too often ideas about simple, quick, customer focused service get hidden behind clouds of fog caused by “Strategy Boutique” style thinking about brands, sub brands, corporate cultures, organisational concepts driving change, cost savings, et cetera when what is really needed is less pretention and more real world thinking.

Here’s an example of a poor answering service.  This is a slight exaggeration (and I mean only a slight exaggeration) of a answering services I have experienced.

Too many people who plan, design and implement automated answering services and call centres seem to have forgotten that it is the customer to whom they are supposed to be providing a service.  One simple rule needs to be written large on a poster and nailed to the walls of every room in which these systems are designed and planned:

Keep it simple, stupid!

This isn’t rocket science and it shouldn’t be overcomplicated.  But as you may already know, so many of these answering services are.

Let’s create a fictitious scenario which will serve as an example.

You want to call a software company, Troutsoft.  A former colleague who you respect has spoken highly of their products and services and suggested that you could garner some brownie points by investigating a partnering arrangement with them.   The contact your former colleague had at Troutsoft got hit by a bouncer in a local cricket match the other day and is currently in hospital.  That rules out talking to him.   So you take a look at their website.  It doesn’t say too much and doesn’t have any kind of general contact e-mail address or web form. You do have the contact’s name but not his direct phone number.

Not wanting to judge a book by its cover or blow a potential improvement to your company’s products you pick up the phone and dial…

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Former GCHQ Chief Wants Surveillance Society

This country is (for the moment) a free society. Imposing this routine monitoring of everyone turns this country into a state like Nazi Germany or Stalinist USSR. Already the “government” is trying to spread fear and distrust with “anti terrorist” campaigns encouraging people to inform on their neighbours if there is something they don’t like about them. Nazi Germany anyone?

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Lightening Things Up

It’s been a bit heavy with privacy activism, politics and business stuff here just lately. There is some heavy stuff going on, demonstrating some truly amazing lack of Clue and ignorance of the law (*waves at pro-Phormers*) and it deservedly gets highlighted here. So let’s lighten things up a bit.

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