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Call centres are over-cooked

OK, after an hour of frustration trying (in vain) to get quick answers to straight forward questions about a couple of insurance policies, I’ve had it up to here with call centres.

My queries were not complicated but they didn’t fit any of the menu options.  All I needed was a bit of customer service.  But no one wanted to speak to me.  That is, no human being.  All I got was endless menu options requesting a password here, a postcode there and a frantic dig in the memory banks for my security questions (give me strength).

I don’t quite get it.  Whilst big companies and brands, particularly financial services, are spending small fortunes on advertising, PR and relationship marketing to grow their customer base, I can’t help thinking they are simultaneously alienating vast numbers of customers and potential customers who lose the plot when forced to communicate online or with a robot in a call centre.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is a wonderful thing but the financial services industry seems to underestimate the power of human interaction to support its marketing effort.  In short, the call centre has been over-cooked.  Call me old fashioned but I am craving the human touch and I don’t think I’m alone. In the meantime, I wonder when more corporates/brands will wake up to the power of the social web and start – or get better at – monitoring the chat in the social networks.


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