Getting fed up and hanging up
How long has it been since you called a service provider such as a telco, insurance company, government agencies, healthcare company, bank or software company?
These are the sort of calls that we dread.
And how many times have you pressed different numbers for different departments or tried to use the voice commands that some robot interprets and just simply given up and hung up?
Yes the big service industries are riddled with telephone response systems that offer anything but service. Also, have you noticed how often the above entities leave you talking to someone that obviously did not learn English as their primary language. So why do they do this?
Unfortunately it is all about cost saving while satisfying different response standards.
Many service industries are government mandated to offer certain phone response times, however many of these standards seem to have been set before the advent of IP phones and cheap international calls.
Now many of us are faced with the very bleak prospect of trying to interpret technical directions given in far less than clear forms of English.
My techs are often giving over the phone support to customers that are out of town and because of the technical nature of our industry this can still prove difficult enough at times. If you threw in a language barrier then I can imagine that a lot of customers would hang up on us too.
So many of our biggest companies and service agencies have shifted their 'call centres' offshore and might be saving money, however look at the problems that they are creating. Every offshore employee means one less job for Australia, one less lot of PAYG tax for our government and often one less problem solved when the customer gets frustrated and hangs up.
In particular in the case of the large telcos, I often think they have headed down this track and at the same time made our phone bills so complex that we give up trying to track or rectify overcharges and just put up and shut up. How did service degenerate to this level?
It seems that companies have done studies and found that if they can frustrate phone customers enough that a large percentage of them will simply hang up and keep paying for a service that they are no longer using or one which they have been overcharged on.
So how does this get fixed? There is no one quick answer however a government policy of not allowing service industries in our country to use overseas call centres would be a great start. We will also see more Internet based controls sneaking into many service industries but this will also further widen the disparity gap between the Internet savvy and those that aren't.
My tip for now is that if you are having communication issues with the support person on the other end of the line then ask to speak to their team leader or manager.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.