Dial any customer service number and hear the typical sequence: “thank you for calling Poltu mobile services, if you want to know about our latest offers, please press 1; if you want to know your bill, press 2; if you want to know your current service plan, press 3; to change your current service plan, press 4; to reload scratch card, press 5; to choose your fnf menu, press 6; to hear this menu again, press 7; to talk to our customer service representative, press 0.” Did you ever wonder why talking to a human is set at the last button (least preferred) by companies that profess to practice relationship marketing? Here are some guesses:
- Companies might perceive that most consumers’ common purposes for calling customer service would be served by first few menus, therefore, they can talk to a human only when automated services are not adequate. (Contradiction: In that case, an unwilling customer can always avoid choosing the first option of talking to a representative).
- If talking to a human were the first option, service representatives would be unnecessarily busy solving all kinds of simple problems that could otherwise be solved by automated responses. (Contradiction: that means companies are not interested to talk to customers who are interested to talk about their problems, rather companies are telling them to “go away and get the automated menu, stupid”).
- Automated responses are much cheaper than human intervention (yes, yes, no contradiction).
Well, I think the last reason could be the dominant one why we save a few bucks to compromise while building customer relationship. Has any company ever dared to put the last button first and then find the results of spending extra on building relationship? After all, the relationship is not based on the calculator.