Since when have customer service operations started putting a customer on hold for up to an hour and offering to call back? Here is the scenario.
I got a call from American Airlines this morning saying that an upgrade request for an upcoming trip has been confirmed and I am to call an 800 number to determine which account the miles should be taken from and what credit card I want to use for the surcharge of $350. So, this evening I pick up the phone dial the number provided and get the message about wait time between one hour and one hour and ten minutes. How the hell do they know that? I did not leave my number to call back and I was not going to be on hold for an hour. Instead I dialed another American number I keep on my phone and the wait time for that number is only twenty-three minutes. Same deal. I can hold or leave a number and they will call me back. I left my number and will write this while I wait.
I am working with a publishing company on a manuscript and if I sign in to their web site and leave my phone number, my phone rings immediately and someone answers on the other end. All I do is give them my account number and either that person can give me the information I need or they transfer me immediately to someone else who has the answer or information I need. I don’t know who is bigger, Amazon or American Airlines, and it makes no difference to me. What does make the difference is the way they treat their customers who are willing to spend real money for their services.
The best response is when you call a number and a real person answers, not some recording offering a menu of choices from one through eight for various departments. Oh yes, if you know the extension of the person you’re calling, you can punch that in and most often get a recording telling you how important the call is. I like the real person on the other end, flesh and blood and brains, and we often get along famously because I’m in a good mood. Some human being, usually with sufficient knowledge, has answered in real time and I don’t have to waste time waiting, calling back or waiting to be called back.
Enough already. I am going to start rating customer service based on how the company deals with telephone calls and I will rate them from one to ten, one being the absolute worst and ten being the best. Once a company gets three ones, unless it’s a local utility, most of which are not very good although better than average, I will look elsewhere for a place to take my business where I at least have the distinct impression that they really do care about their customers. Some places even know my name without my having to provide the city where I was born and my mother’s maiden name.
Those places go to the top of my list. No wonder there are big companies having problems competing in today’s marketplace. American Airlines isn’t the only carrier that goes across the pond. They haven’t called back as yet.
How would you rate your own company, organization or group? How do you think others would rate you? Are you willing to find out? Go ahead, ask!