Your Call Is Important To Us

Your Call Is Important To Us

Today I opened my Time Warner Roadrunner Bill to find that my monthly subscription rate had almost doubled to \$52.95. Internet porn just got a lot more expensive…

I was dismayed about the inflated charge and immediately called the printed phone number. I patiently waited for the automated voice menu to list the operator option. None came. I repeated the options and listened very carefully. Still, no operator number was given. So I did what everyone does - hit zero. The response: “The number you have chosen is not a valid option. Please listen to the option list and try again.” I thought, yeah right, I’m not about to waist another five minutes, so I hit zero. Again, I got the automated response that zero was not a valid option.

This type of system is poor customer management. Why obfuscate a real-life service representative? I only interact with a Time Warner rep about once a year. Usually, that interaction occurs if my service is bad. You’d think they’d want to talk to me to see how things are going. This is Time Warner’s chance to WOW me back into their arms with a great personal touch. This is their opportunity to establish a personal connection with me, rather than pawn me off to an automated system.

Let’s run through the emotions of an average customer scenario here. Bob is frustrated because he is experiencing poor service from Time Warner Cable and needs to speak with a representative. Once he calls, Bob must listen through a batch of irrelevant choices. This makes Bob even more frustrated. The option for an operator is never given so he gets angrier. After listening through the options again, Bob punches the zero key several times and is finally redirected to a live operator. The first line Bob hears out of their voice is, “Thanks for calling Time Warner Cable, where we value you as a customer, how can I help you today?” Bob is seething now. If they valued him so much, then why did they make him jump through hoops to reach them?

Bob’s anger level went from a 3 to a 6 in a short period of time. Companies wonder why their reps get treated so harshly by incoming callers. How many customers has Time Warner lost because a callers level of frustration was escalated by the call-in process itself? Asking for help is supposed to be easy and alleviate pain.

Here’s an idea: display a direct line to live representatives right below the automated one and let your customers sort their needs. There’s no way in hell I would call if I needed a billing invoice. I can go on the web and check that in a minute. But my dad can’t - he’s not computer literate. He would want to call and speak with a live person. Companies should heed differentiations in comfort level.

By interacting with my dad, Time Warner could have turned his negative experience into a positive one. That’s a powerful interaction. Actually, it’s probably one of the most influential ways to act with a person (or customer), period. People won’t remember your name, your personal details, or even what you’ve done. What people will remember is how you made them feel. Here, Time Warner has an opportunity to turn the tide on someone’s feelings and create an everlasting experience for them. Otherwise, they’re just a commodity - a service provider at a certain price point that invokes no loyalty.

Luckily, I had a great rep that was able to WOW me even after I was ramped up to a 6. If I would have had an average rep, I wouldn’t have thought twice about switching to Windstream.

So to all of the Time Warners out there, reallocate some your marketing resources back into your call centers. Those centers are part of your marketing whether you realize it or not. Make them easily available so customers can establish a personal connection with you. A connection that invokes loyalty over a pricing sheet. This way you won’t be lying when you say, “Your call is important to us.”

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-Brian Lambelet

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