Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Franci Hoffman
Founder & Owner of: Amanpan
Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author, Successful Living Writer
Your phone rings and I am referring to the tool that is the welcome mat to your business. Do you remember it? It usually sits on a desk and is opening the door to welcome callers to your business. Its role is to assist the caller as deemed appropriate. In other words, handle their request or channel the caller in the right direction. This is your business and first impressions linger. You already know that, don’t you?
I’m warning you that this article is going to be rather elementary for most of you. However, I feel that this topic needs attention.
Herein lies the problem. I have to call my cable company, which their reputation for customer service is less than stellar.
Do you remember the rules of telephone etiquette? There are several rules and I’m sure opinions may vary with their usefulness. Not to rant, but here is a smattering of my experience.
For starters, my call is answered by an automated system on the tenth ring. Isn’t there a soft skills rule that a call should be answered on the third ring?
The automated system projects a voice that sounds like someone with a nasal problem; and they just returned from the dentist after a tooth extraction. What happened to the rule that the voice on the phone should be friendly and enthusiastic?
Finally, I am able to speak to a human being. Unfortunately, it sounds as if they were out all night. The scratchy voice on the phone informed me they had laryngitis. That excuse is so lame, overused and abused. Where is the pride a company takes when the voice on the phone may be the only impression of your company the caller will experience?
The automated system is not working so I already have an unwelcome feeling. After the tenth ring, I am immediately thrown into a choice of 10 options. Then I am subjected to this horrible raspy music while on hold. I never once heard the name of the company! I don’t even know if I am connected with the right company!
So, now I have a human being with laryngitis that can barely speak and still does not identify the company. Instead I get a spiel about the company’s new products. The person doesn’t even ask why I am calling! What happened to the rule where callers are welcomed by a friendly voice? And one that identifies themselves and their organization?
These automated systems are pathetic. No one seems to check to be sure the equipment is working. Yep, overworked and underpaid-referring to the systems, of course. Half of the message is missing and the voice is scratchy, raspy and unclear. What happened to a voice that enunciates clear and slow; and with a moderate volume?
After the sales spiel, the rep queries me using the phrase “what’s my problem” – not “how can I help you today?” I am already annoyed and now my annoyed state is escalating. I determine I must have a little discussion with myself to remain calm, cool and collected.
I slowly articulate my issue and after a few moments, the rep informs me he/she needs to seek help from a team member. Much to my dismay, I am put on hold and again subjected to the raspy music. Where is the rule about being polite and professional while speaking on the phone?
After several minutes, fifteen minutes to be exact, my rep comes back and starts in on the sales spiel again. What happened to the rule about getting back to the caller with progress reports? And now, he/she has the nerve to repeat the sales spiel!!
By the way, the rep has not yet offered to give me his/her name nor am I asked for my name. At this point, I don’t care; but, I thought it may be a good idea to get the reps name just in case we get cut off.
Well, between the laryngitis and mumbling, I don’t understand the reps name. I ask if he/she would please spell it for me. Nope, I get the silent treatment. The rep then informs me that I am now on speaker in order that his/her team member can join in on our discussion. Still no name clarification and no introduction to or by the team member! What happened to introducing yourself and/or a team member and clearly stating your name? What happened to the rule about asking the caller’s name? What happened to asking if it is okay that I be on speaker phone?
I am asked to repeat my query with the same phrase “what is your problem”. I again clearly articulate my issue. I am then put back in a hold pattern and subjected to bits and pieces of the raspy music. What happened to concentrating on what the caller iterated the first time?
Now, here is the clincher. The rep comes back on the phone and I am again on speaker phone. I hear the rep and other voices in the background. I am then informed that they cannot resolve my problem and someone will get back to me within 24 hours. Phffttt!
Well, I have had enough and I give up! I am not going to show my displeasure as I know I won’t be my usual kind and congenial self 🙂 So I cut them off in the middle of another sales spiel by hanging up. Hah! I cut them off before they cut me off, because I knew what was coming.
At the end of this disappointing experience, I get one of those online surveys. Hey, I am connected to the right company! The company’s name is in the survey! So, between a scale of 1-10 with 1 is dissatisfied and 10 is satisfied, I opted for 1’s across the board. Touche!
Article Credits: Franci Eugenia Hoffman
Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author