The Lost Art of Communication (A Rant)

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The Lost Art of Communication (A Rant)
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You would think that with todays technology communication should be easier than ever, and so it is, in some quarters. In others it is simply a nightmare that should be avoided. Easier said than done.

If you have ever tried to ring your telecoms /broadband/TV supplier, you will already have an idea where I am going with this.


Press 1 for…


These larger companies will usually use the tried, tested and hated automated multi choice menu. Now I don’t mind the simple versions of this automation where the choice is simply Press 1 for Enquiries, 2 for Accounts, 3 for an operator and 4 to listen to the options again. That’s fine as far as I’m concerned; after all, we have a similar simple system that works well.

Where it all gets extremely frustrating is after you choose your preferred option, you are dragged through a further 3/4/5 automated menus until you are presented with who or what you are looking for. If you’re lucky that is. How many of us have spent five minutes going through this procedure only to be left with no option for what we want addressing? Did we miss what the recording said? Only one-way to find out, and so it goes on and on and on.


Your Call is important to us…


I have gone through this recently and in desperation, I did just press any key in the hope of talking to a real person (No such option) and them putting me through to the right person. On occasion this has (almost) worked although more often than not the line either goes dead or I get the automated response, “Your call is important to us, (clearly not) please hold for the next advisor. We are currently experiencing a high number of calls (really?) and you have been placed in a queue. You are caller number 112”. Yes, I see you smiling with pity.


No Chance


The tragedy of this situation is that if you ever do get through to a person, it will be to someone who hasn’t got a clue and is working solely from a script they have been provided. Not only that, they are probably based in a call centre outside the UK with English not being their native language. You just haven’t got a chance!


We Don’t want your Business


It’s the same with email. I have, on occasion, resorted to emailing a company only to get a reply (from an unmonitored address) informing me that my situation will be looked at as soon as possible and I will receive an email within four days. Four days? Do you not want my business? Four days without TV/Phone/Broadband? I suppose you will still want paying for those four days?


Live Help


It’s the same with “Live Help”, script readers who do not have any knowledge of their product. Yes, they’re polite, annoyingly so at times. You can easily lose an hour of your life whist the operator insists on going through all his script, even though you have does this three times already.


Disgruntled Customers


If you were thinking, “These companies must be losing customers hand over fist”, you’d be right. Go to your service providers website and there, as well as on many independent review websites, you will find forums with scores of disgruntled customers warning all about the folly of remaining with your provider when they have no problem with competing companies. So yes, they are losing customers and no, they don’t change their systems so that you get a good customer experience.


Customer Services


For the smaller company, as we know, it is essential to give good customer service. True, some customers need to be educated a little, such as learning your opening hours for example, but by and large, a customer isn’t going to stay with you if you gave them the same run around as some of the larger companies. For many businesses, just winning a customer is cause for celebration, keeping them though is the hard part. Large service providers take note.