Top 10 telephone frustrations

Topic: Communication, Guides
being called by a company

Being called by a company

Having to call a company or being called by a company, especially a large one, can leave you frustrated before you even start. Past experience has told you that it is going to be long and painful. But in many occasions it’s simply a necessity. You take a big breath in, sigh out and dial the number. Here are the top 10 frustrations that you’re about to encounter.

Being cut off

This is definitely my top frustration. You’ve been on the phone for what feels like an eternity, answering all of the IVR’s automated questions and then you are simply cut off, with absolutely no explanation. You sit there dazed and confused, asking yourself: did I enter something incorrectly? Did the operator ‘accidentally’ hang up on me? Who knows, all you know is that you’re going to have to go through it all again and hope you get it right.

Put through to the wrong person

Why ask me all of those questions if you’re not even going to put me through to the right person? I would understand if I chose the wrong item from the menu, that’s my fault, but when I’ve given you all the correct details and I’m still not talking to the right person, I judge the company on its incompetence.

The IVR navigation impossible

Some IVRs are useful, they actually get you where you need to go. Some offer nothing but a mess of misdirection and unclear menus. Having 7 options is not useful, by the time you’ve heard the 7th and realised none are actually relevant, you have to listen to the menu again to find the least inaccurate one. At this point you know you’re getting the wrong person, so it’s a simple task of hitting number one until you reach a human that can transfer you. Or you get cut off for no reason.

Being left hanging on with no explanation

You’ve made it through to an operator and have explained yourself, again, because it was probably the second person you’ve spoken to. They then put you on hold, without letting you know why. You sit patiently for another eternity and wonder if they’ve decided to take their lunch break whilst you’re on hold. You’re committed now, though. You’ve already spent 20 minutes on the phone and at least you’re finally talking to someone, so you might as well wait. Just how long is a mystery?

Not knowing who you are talking to and if they can help

You’ve been passed over and transferred around the company’s different departments so much you’re not even sure what you’re trying to address, and certainly not sure if the person you’re now speaking to can even help you.

Having to repeat yourself

Similarly being put through to the wrong person, you’ve just typed in your account details and all the relevant information, simply to be asked for it all again. Or you’ve given the information to one person and after a transfer, you have to tell the next person it all over again. Why did I bother to type it in? Why can’t you save that information somewhere? Was that just to make me queue longer? This is just not acceptable.

Being put on hold for a long time (with rubbish music)

This goes without saying. Being on hold is inevitable, but you shouldn’t have to wait more than a few minutes. Otherwise have a system that will call me back. And if you definitely have no other option but to put someone on hold for a long time, make sure you play them some decent music. And calm down on the ads, I don’t need to be yelled at by an ad every few seconds.

Being called at an inconvenient time

Sometimes the call centres call you. Usually when you’re at work. They often don’t tell you how long the call is likely to take and then before you know it you’ve been absent from work for the last 30 minutes. Otherwise you simply don’t answer and get a voice message asking you to return the call. And then you get to look forward to the above.

Having to prove you are the right person when they called you

This is a little pet hate of mine. Someone has called me and demands me to tell them my account number, or date of birth or asks me to prove where I live. I’m sorry, but you called me. I have no idea who you are. I always ask them to prove they know something about me and my account first. If they refuse due to “confidentiality” I hang up. There’s too much fraud happening in the world for me give out my information to anyone that calls.

Rude staff

Finally, once you’re through to the right person, or the wrong one, if they’re rude to you, the call is always going to end badly. When you’re trying your hardest to be polite, after all the above frustrations, there is just no excuse for rudeness. That person becomes the face of the company and the voice of the brand, if they’re rude to you whilst you’re already frustrated, there is a good chance you’ll be straight onto social media to vent your frustrations. As a business, getting your telephone systems right is quite a challenge. There isn’t really a one size fits all, so before you invest in a standard IVR, make sure your company really needs it. If it doesn’t, there are other ways to manage call flow.Random inbound calls are particularly hard to manage, and this is where a good IVR and/or queuing system comes in handy. You can help to improve the customer experience by having your customers enter their mobile number and hang up, they will then be entered into a virtual queue. Then when an operator frees up, an SMS can be sent to get them to call in and be next in line.Managing outbound calls is much easier. If fact you can reduce the number of outbound calls your staff have to make by staggering bulk SMS sends. The idea behind this is to send out a manageable number of SMS messages, in intervals, that encourage customers to call in. If you get the volumes right, which might take a bit of trial and error, you’ll be able to handle the volume of inbound calls, reducing customers’ time on hold and reducing the hours wasted waiting to connect on outbound calls; everyone is happy. It’s also more convenient for the customer as they can call you at a time convenient to them, or more easily get to a place where they can talk.If you’d like to know more on managing call flows, call us on 1300 764 946 and we can help you implement SMS into your workflow. Sign up for a free trial here.

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Liz Wilson