Honestly, I would rather have a phone go to voicemail and leave a message than go into the dreaded directory search black hole or the auto attendant round about. Personally I believe a real person should answer the phone. More on that later.
I recently had an experience with Microsoft. We purchased a $150 annual support plan. I honestly don't even remember what it was called. When I went to login to use it, it said I didn't have that plan. I had an email receipt and am getting emails about the great features of the programs.
So... what is a girl to do? You call Microsoft. Here is the process.
5 Auto Attendant Prompts in order to be put on hold for the next representative
- Spell my name to someone that doesn't speak English. Have them spell it back to me
- Explain to them my problem (most of them didn't even know what the plan was that I purchased)
- Have them put me on hold
- Have them tell me a phone number to dial for assistance on this issue
- Have them put me through to that number
- Wash, rinse, repeat.
I went through this process 7 times in over 2 hours. By the time the 7th lady began asking me the questions I said, "You are the 7th person that I have been forwarded to with the same process. I am not going to give you my name, spell it, have you put me on hold and then put me back to the auto attendant to find someone else to help me. I will just have American Express cancel my purchase, that you can't find, but charged me for and get my money back." Yes - I hung up. Yes American Express refunded our money. Will I ever buy a product or a service like that from Microsoft again? No!
Once when I got an auto attendant for an insurance company I was sent round and round and round. I just wanted to talk to a person about my bill. I kept pushing buttons, saying representative and couldn't get through. I am not proud, but yes, I was yelling at the auto attendant. There were possibly some inappropriate words used. Yes, I do realize how ridiculous it is to yell at the phone.
But here is the REALLY funny part. The voice recognition software forwarded me to their mental health care line. It is actually pretty genius if it was intentional. :)
Yes I do realize that it is not feasible for Microsoft to personally answer every call that they receive. If you must have an auto attendant, have it direct people to the right department and then hire skilled workers and empower them to help the person on the phone! In my experience, it was clearly, 'I don't know what to do with this woman's problem so I am going to send her back into the queue.'
I have said it before I prefer to do business with small business every day. We own a small business so of course I would support small business. Unfortunately it is not always possible.
When you find a great small business, and there are many, you have the opportunity to get real customer service. Honestly, customer service is not dead. Search for it. Support small business. Boost the local economy and job force. When you buy from us, you help us create more jobs in our small business. You support people, not a company that spends money on more technology to eliminate more skilled workers. Read - AUTO ATTENDANTS.
The resolution of my computer problem? I went to a local business that has real people, a service department you can call or visit and got my computer fixed. And, I purchased two new computers for the staff we have added to our company this year. While I was there I met the general manager of the store. He thanked me for my business. What a novel concept!