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.