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‘Your Call is Important to Us.’ Seriously?


by David Binny Sixteen minutes! Yep, 16 minutes of my life until someone answered my phone call to the customer service line. Seriously. Do you think it is reasonable to wait 16 minutes to get a customer service representative to answer and provide some online help?

Yesterday, I had to call customer service (leaving the company name out of it for now), and the routine went like this: you call a number and it rings, and then it rings again and again… and then there is music. And some more music. And then you meet the IVR, with all the possible choices. You choose the option that you think is most suitable from among all the endless options. Then you think someone is picking up but is a voice that says "Your call is important to us" but not important enough to answer - so you keep waiting on the line forever. And then there is a point that you are about to give up, you've been holding the phone for so long now, but just before you're about to hang up, the voice comes back on and says: "Your call is important to us." So you get some hope again that someone is really going to pick up the phone, since my call is important to them. Right? Finally, after 16 minutes of waiting a real person picks up, and you know what they do? Yes, they put you on hold. Or sometimes you just get this message: "Please call back during business hours. Goodbye," and the phone hangs up. This is absolutely outrageous!

Also, they always say that "your call might be recorded for quality and training purposes". But when I call back, they obviously didn't train anyone, because I again get the same (lousy) customer service.

In my mind customer service should be a real person, who knows how to help, and who can answer a call after a few seconds; maybe up to a minute. I think I'm being reasonable here, because most of us callers probably tried the self-assisted touch points, like web or mobile apps, and couldn't complete the action for some reason. Now, if we already bothered to call, we probably need some real help (and in a timely manner). If a service provider can't provide this, then they should not claim to have customer service.

The feeling of waiting on the line and not getting an answer, or being placed on hold, should be yesterday's news. I think a lot of the phone calls customers make can be spared in first place, if service providers enable customers to reach them using the channels we use to communicate with our friends on a daily basis, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, and more.

Instant messaging (not a chat platform) can and should be leveraged in the customer service domain, with a clear promise to get back to the customer within a reasonable amount of time (not necessarily real-time) and when it suits them. That would really indicate that 'our call is important to them.'

David Binny David Binny has over 17 years of experience in leading product management, engineering, pre-sale support, operations, and client services teams. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for Enterprise SW, SaaS, predictive analytics, performance management, and contact center applications. At NICE Systems, David is responsible for promoting the next generation multi-channel recording business solutions, which capture interactions across all communication channels, extract customer insight by analyzing Big Data in real-time, and leverage this insight to drive impact across the enterprise. A strong advocate of Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing technologies, David believes that they will revolutionize the future of business and the IT industry. David has a BSc in Computer Sciences and an MBA from the Open University Business School.

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