Wednesday, January 22, 2020

“Your Call is Important to Us” – Is It? Really? #HoldNoMore

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Back in 2009, I wrote an article called “The Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Service in a Social Media Age.” In it I outlined some ideas, complaints and thoughts about how Customer Service should be reworked to better handle concerns, complaints and feedback from consumers. Almost 6 years to the day, things HAVE actually changed. Companies have adopted Social Media as a critical form of customer communication. But there is one thing that HASN’T changed, and it’s just as bad, if not worse than before…being PLACED ON HOLD!

HTD On Hold

It’s pretty amazing, actually, that with all of the technology and messaging apps available, that we still get stuck in push-button phone trees, trying to navigate to speak to an actual person. For me, I would rather spend hours reading through technical support documentation, for example, trying to figure out whatever solution is available for me to try than wait on hold for a live person to help me…or just frustrate me.

Traditional customer service has declined over the years. When I talk about “traditional,” I think of speaking with someone after waiting on hold for “years.” One of the worst offenders is the IRS. Because of governmental cuts, layoffs, downsizing, increased complexity of taxes, you name it, it is practically impossible to talk to a live person and when you finally do, I can almost guarantee that they are grumpy from being over worked, under paid and yelled at by other callers. (Quick side note here: if you do choose to attempt to talk to a live person, do be nice to them as I feel their job is hard and they always talk to angry or upset people.)

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But the worst is just waiting on hold…and waiting…and waiting…and waiting…

Some Interesting Facts

The 800 number was invented in 1967 and that they service we know about today has only been around since the ’80’s. It was invented by an AT&T scientist, Roy Weber, and early on, was broken up by regions of the US. Companies had multiple 800 numbers. It was simply a pointer to direct the telecommunications infrastructure to a set of instructions to follow to direct the call properly.

But despite it being very useful, over the years and when tied to Customer Service, it has become almost an annoyance. These stats provide some food for thought on customer experience:

  • 53% of Americans say they spend 10 to 20 Minutes on hold every week, 
    which adds up to 13 hours annually.
  • 86% consumers report being put on hold every time they call a business.
  • 49% of people prefer messaging to calling.
  • 92% of all customer service interactions happen via the phone.

Yet, we are still forced to pick up the phone and sit around waiting to talk to someone who may or may not help us.

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HTD Still on Hold

We are ready for alternatives. Ready, here some more stats around messaging:

  • 76 percent would use a mobile app rather than call the contact center.
  • Messaging accounts for 97% of the top app categories used during a typical month.
  • Americans ages 18-29 send and receive roughly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls.
  • 80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service. 
    8% of people think these same companies deliver “superior” customer service

That last point is the interesting one as it shows the huge disparity between Company and Consumer (and the link has a ton of other great customer service facts).

#HoldNoMore

There is an interesting site out there that is trying to bring awareness to the fact that people might finally be fed up with waiting on hold. HoldNoMore.org was set up to bring the issue to light.

Vote for the next company to face the music, so we can demand that they wake up 
and change their terrible state of customer service.

On the site you can nominate the next company that has kept you on hold WAY too long (just like in the video above).

Also, share your #HoldFace on Social Media. Here is another one of mine:

HTD Nightmare on Hold

Maybe, someday, we will permanently get rid of this line:

“We’re sorry, but we’re experiencing unusually heavy call volumes at this time. Please continue to hold or try back at another time.”

UGH!

Disclosure Text : This is a sponsored post and I have received compensation to prepare to write it as well as write it. All opinions within this article, unless otherwise noted, are my own and are not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. More information can be found in my About page.

HTD says: Just say “no” to being on hold – #HoldNoMore!
And be sure to share your #HoldFace!

Property of the Holdnomore.org

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