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Please Stand By ... Our Agents Are Currently Helping Other Customers

July 11, 2008  

If you've ever called the 800-number for a telecommunications company, you know the rigmarole. You sit through minute after excruciating minute of easy-listening music, interrupted periodically by a recorded message affirming the importance of your call. You enter your phone number when prompted, but know it's a pointless exercise because the customer-service agent will always ask you to repeat it. And then—if you're lucky—the second or third person with whom you speak can actually respond to your request.

In a post at his blog, Seth Godin decries just such an experience with a major carrier. "[This company] spends a fortune on advertising and outbound marketing," he notes. "How much of that budget would they have to allocate/invest in order to turn their customer service into a discussion-worthy best in the world?" Not much, he believes.

As well as addressing the aforementioned complaints, Godin suggests improvements like:

  • Staying open 24 hours a day. Routing calls to a different time zone shouldn't be a problem, especially for a global company. 
  • Implementing dead-end safeguards. If a customer has been on hold for a certain period of time, escalate the call's priority to a more senior person who can take action.

The Po!nt: You don't have to be a multinational corporation—or even facing these specific issues—to learn a lesson from Godin's thoughts. Simply put, a huge marketing budget might all be for naught if it doesn't come with a great customer service experience.

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