Attention, Captains of Business: It’s me, the American Consumer. I have a small request. (Keep in mind that I am “the customer” and as the adage states, I am always right.)
I want you, the business owners of this great country, to rehire all the receptionists you fired.
I’m tired of playing your little guessing game. No longer do I wish to punch random numbers from an endless pre-recorded list in hopes of eventually finding a person. After giving your cost-cutting systems a whirl over this past decade and getting no satisfaction, I would like you to admit you were wrong.
In short, I want to talk to Phyllis.
I want to call your company and have a living being answer the phone. “Good morning,” that human could say. “Thank you for calling. This is Phyllis (or Jill, or Herbie, if you like). How can I help you?”
Just like it used to be.
I’ve heard the argument. Installing your computerized pre-recorded “greeter” saved “x” amount of money. You passed those savings to us.
Or so you claim.
I’ve known many receptionists. I dated a few. I almost always paid for dinner because they were almost always broke. I can’t imagine that Phyllis, sitting at her desk near the front door, making minimum wage, was the reason your company failed to make the Fortune 500.
Yet you eliminated her position and replaced her with a lifeless, demanding menu of options.
You replaced Phyllis with Press 4.
“Thank you for calling. If you know your party’s extension, press it now. For a list of all extensions, press 1. For a list of options, press 2. For a list of other, more important things you could be doing right now, press 3. If you’d like to hear this menu again, press 4.”
Phyllis never asked us to perform tasks. She answered the phone in a friendly manner, no matter how her boss treated her and what kind of day she was having. She listened to our problem and put us in touch with a person who could offer us a solution. If that person was in the bathroom, Phyllis would tell us they were “in a meeting”.
We didn’t mind when Phyllis lied and secretly wished we had someone like Phyllis to tell people we were in a meeting.
She was our only connection to your business. We, the customers, liked her because she was nice to us. In turn, we liked you because she was your representative.
Do you know who your representative is now?
Press 4 doesn’t know us. Press 4 doesn’t care about us. Press 4 is totally emotionless, rarely helpful and, more often than not, makes us very angry. It never asks us how we are. Press 4, in fact, doesn’t give a damn.
We, the American Consumer, hate Press 4.
In turn, we hate you.
We want Phyllis (or Jill, or Herbie, if you like).
Hire one of those. Get my business.