By Daisy Whitney
Provided by WorldNow
Have you ever shouted into your phone "Operator! I need the operator. Just put me through to the operator!"
That's probably because we all have said that. At top volume. Along with some other words not fit for print.
That's because voice recognition systems at most companies can be labyrinthine to navigate and frustrating to deal with when all you want is a little customer support in the form of a human. But hearing that civilized, pre-programmed voice on the other end saying, "I think you said, 'I don't have it'" when you are trying to say in as polite a voice as possible, "Representative, please" can be mighty aggravating.
However, with a little inside insight, the experience doesn't have to be frustrating. We spoke to experts who offered tips on how to reach a live agent, when you need to, and how to get the best customer service.
There are many options for customer service today. Younger customers, for instance, would often rather handle a problem or question via a web chat, instant message or email, says Oscar Alban, a former call center agent who now works with Witness Systems, a designer of call center workforce optimization software. "We are going through this interesting change. Companies have to be ready to service all of them and they are going to have this combination of people for a long time...it could be more efficient to have you not reach a person. If it's done right, it can be more efficient for the customers."
But sometimes voice recognition systems can induce frustration in consumers. "A lot of times these systems are designed from the inside out and they aren't taking into consideration the customers," says Oscar Alban, a former call center agent who now works with Witness Systems, a designer of call center workforce optimization software. His years in the field have made him an expert in how to effectively navigate customer service systems.
Tricks of the Trade
If you want to reach a person, but that's not listed as an option, there are a few tricks you can try:
Plan Before you Call
Be sure to get your ducks in a row before a call. Here are some tips from Julie Casteel, chief global sales and marketing officer with ClientLogic, a business process outsourcing provider.
And if all this doesn't work feel free to shout "operator" at the top of your lungs. Preferably when you are off the phone.