You May Prefer to Give us a Call…

25 March 2008

I should have known better than to attempt to use public transport the first day after a bank holiday weekend. In the UK, they’re the times when demand is high yet supply decreases as a result of “engineering works”. Over Christmas there was an outcry when these engineering works overran (not an uncommon scenario), effectively leaving those who needed to get into work stranded. After that, the train operators vowed that “lessons will be learnt” and it wouldn’t happen again.

So it was with some trepidation that I braved the snow and ice on our road to drive to the station and pick up my usual train into London. After an hour I had made it one stop (usually a 15 minute hop), to be informed that just about everything into London was suspended. To cut a long story short, I ended up back at home.

What has all this got to do with marketing technology, I hear you ask (no, really I can).

Well, rather than spend an hour on hold trying to get the cost of my ticket refunded, I sent an email to their customer service address, only to get the following automated reply:

Thank you for contacting XXXX [removed to protect the innocent] Customer Services, we
have received your email and we aim to get back to you as soon as possible.

Good so far.

Our target is to answer 90% of our contacts within 6 working days.

Hmm. That’s over a week, but I guess they get busy.

However, if your contact is urgent you may prefer to give us a call on 0845
600 7245 mentioning that you have already sent an email.

Who writes these things? So what you’re saying is that you’re giving my email enquiry a lower priority than telephone calls and – having gone to the trouble of putting everything down in the email – I now have to spend an hour on hold just to tell someone that I’ve already sent an email?

I wonder what their response would be?

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2 Responses to “You May Prefer to Give us a Call…”

  1. JKash

    Good post. It seems to me there is an opportunity for improvement. The bottleneck in this case is the ability for human reps to respond in a timely manner. While it’s good to spell out the anticipated wait time, 6 business days is a long time to wait.

    Solutions:

    Increase staffing

    Identify better workflow

    Implement automated refunds for customers with a profile/purchasing history.

    A lack of responsiveness is a sure sign the customer means very little… or executives may not understand technology.

  2. Marketing Technology

    If you enjoyed my last post , you’ll love this one. I’ve been trying to transfer my electricity supply

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