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Why do the Big Guys get it so Wrong?

October 12, 2012

I was thinking about why customers choose my business for 1300 numbers over others businesses recently and I drew a few conclusions which I wanted to share.

Firstly, my business is small compared to the “Big Guys” ie. Telstra, Optus etc.  I am constantly receiving feedback from clients about how easy and simple I am to deal with and get things done/fixed.  Surely this cannot be too difficult?  People don’t want to be just another number on a screen – they want you to remember them, they want to know that your important to them and their issues and needs are important.

I guess as your business grows it becomes harder to manage this, however I don’t think there is any excuse for not meeting this basic need from all Customers.  My business is at the stage now where I don’t hardly any of my clients, I have never spoken to them – maybe I have received an email or two from them but that’s it.  I still do NOT find this hard at all.  When someone calls, I load up there customer profile, take a quick look at their products – or ask them directly: “Please tell me about your business and what you need from my services.”

Not once have  I had someone refuse to talk about their business, they get excited and passionate and love the conversation.  When was the last time that happened to you when you called a “Big” company? Never I bet.  During the call, I take a few brief notes and store it in the system, set reminders for certain tasks if I need to follow them up or if they require certain information I will send it to them on the spot.  This way, if they call again, I can quickly load up there profile and see my notes from last time and remember whats going on.  Nowdays, I generally have to rely on other peoples notes or my own notes from years ago to get up to speed – so I guess having a consistent system in place is definitely the key in that regard.

Now I do have to give the big guys credit, the sheer volume of customers/enquiries they deal with means its not always going to be perfect but I would question some fundamentals of their business model.  Why do you have to go through endless IVR Menu’s or Voice Recognition systems to then speak with someone who isn’t a direct specialist in dealing with your original enquiry?

I image a group of numbers, maybe 1 for mobile, 1 for internet, 1 for fixed lines and 1 for inbound products.  Each number would have an IVR menu with a maximum of 2 levels deep.  The first level establishes what type of enquiry you have eg. Sales, Support, Billing.  These need to general enough that everyone can easily choose an option.

The second level may not be required or it may drill down the enquiry further, so for example Sales -> Straight to a Sales Rep.  For Billing, you might have: Pay my bill, Billing Error, General enquiry.  Then finally the IVR Menu drops the call down into the specific group that handle those calls.  Hold times would be managed so that no one was waiting more than 2 minutes – if they do it set’s up an automatic call back service so they can continue their work.

Finally once the operator deals with that specific enquiry, if they require further help outside of that operators help, the operator connects them either into the Relevant IVR, or establishes the department through conversation and transfers that call to the relevant department.  The operator definitely doesn’t try and help the caller if its not their area of expertise.

I think this could seriously work much better than the current systems I’ve dealt with, and I know as my company grows I will certainly be moving towards this style model.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this, please post in the comments below.

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