Just wanted to check in and see how not answering my calls is going
I’ve been cleaning out my mother’s condominium the last four weekends because she moved to assisted living two years ago and put the condominium up for sale. It’s was a monumental effort to go through the belongings and keepsakes of a 65 year marriage.

I want to be a good environmental citizen and give away or donate worthy items, recycle what is eligible, and discard what doesn’t meet either category. There are a multitude of things that need to be sorted before it’s moved out. Calling and finding different companies to take everything away created a scheduling nightmare. I gave up when the Salvation Army couldn’t pick up until after the sale closed.

I decided to call 1-800-Got-Junk. After just one ring, a recording answered and a cheerful voice says it is a great day at the company. He introduces himself as the founder of the company and thanks you for calling. He goes on to give three choices to connect you for service from a live person.

This was excellent customer service. Like most people, I dread it when a recording answers the phone. It’s worse to try and talk to animated voice-bots that ask you what kind of help you want but they don’t understand your reply. If you ask for a representative, the bot insists that you tell her more so she can get you to the right person. And you don’t advance until you respond. The process is frustrating and irritating because it wastes my time.

Phone calls can be turned from excruciating painful into pleasant discourse. Here’s what made this call pleasant:

  • The call was answered after one ring. Some companies have telephone systems that reach a maximum and the phone keeps ringing and eventually hangs up.
  • The greeting was answered cheerfully by the founder of the company. It gives the caller the impression that your call is important to someone who cares about the company.
  • The greeting thanked the caller instead of giving the caller an excuse saying that the company is exceptionally busy so you will need to wait longer than usual. Unfortunately, this is always the message so there is no “usual” wait time.
  • The number of options to connect you was limited to three. A long list of nine choices is problematic because the caller needs to listen to the options list more than once.
  • Once a choice is made, the caller is connected to a live person without being on hold.

In my assessment of the basic features of healthcare organizations to be competitive, how the phone is answered is one of top areas where improving the customer experience can be made with a little training. 

Change your office telephone techniques and see how happy it makes your customers. They will spread their positive experience and show their loyalty by calling you back!