Classic Dishes...

We’ll Be Right With You

This morning, I had to make a couple of phone calls loosely related to medical insurance. So, in what should really become a regular feature here at Chez Fred, it’s time for today’s Automated Phone System Customer Service Tip:

(We should find a sponsor for this thing. Suggestions welcome. I’m leaning towards Comcast, who I was going to rant about a few months ago, but then the old site died and the topicality of the rantworthy incident wore off. Fortunately in the next month or so it might become topical again, so stand by. At any rate, their recent Worst Company in America win makes them the obvious choice.)

But I digress. Back to our new feature:

Hold times are a fact of life. I get this. But if you’re going to put your callers through ten-plus-minute hold times, then DO NOT:

  • Tell me you’re going to have someone on the line "in just a moment…"
  • …every twenty seconds.

Really, folks, you’re not stringing your callers along into sticking it out, you’re just calling attention to the fact that you’re making them wait. Honestly, I appreciate hold updates that tell it like it is: we know you’re there, we’re busy now, and we’ll get to you in the order your call came in. Boom. Simple.

(The irony here is that Comcast’s actually gets this part of it right: they say "hey, you’re gonna be on hold a while, would you like us to call you back?" And if you say yes, you type in your phone number and they call you back when it is your turn. (I’ve tried it; it works as advertised.) Comcast’s incompetence doesn’t kick in until AFTER you are speaking to a CSR.)

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