Have You Been to Automation Hell Lately?

Tom Keenze
We have pointed out that exceeding a customer's expectations is the primary goal of customer relationship management. Doing that requires a customer-centric culture, empowering employees and technology that will support the concept.

I don't know about you, but I cannot remember the last time I called a company and had a real person answer the telephone. I also cannot remember the last time I had to interface with one of those automated answering systems and came away feeling pleased.

It is not that I am totally opposed to automated call directors (ACDs), but it seems to me that there are no standard ways to construct the darn things. Wouldn't it be nice if you knew that you could press "O" in any ACD and immediately speak with a living, and hopefully knowledgeable, person? It seems that every system is different, and most of them seem to be designed to prevent the caller from talking with real people.

Here is my personal automation hell horror story. Recently, I decided to roll a 401K account over to a different company. By the time I got through the original investment company's telephone system, my frustration level had risen to the danger level. I tried, but had a really difficult time being civil when I finally reached a real person. Then, when this person suggested that it might be a good thing for me to leave the money with their company, I told him that if he …

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