This blog may be monitored for quality purposes…

Consider yourself informed….

Like the tag-line of this blog says, “more often than not it’s the little things that make a big difference in customer satisfaction and brand loyalty”.  And it can be very subtle. Sometimes all it takes is a few words.

I received a phone solicitation yesterday from the local paper I subscribe too. It started like this:

“Hi this is Linda calling from the Times to tell you about new products.  I need to inform you that this call is being recorded”.

Wow, that’s one heck of an opening for a sales pitch!  In just 25 words, really with just the last 11, Linda negatively impacted my previous favorable perception of this company.  Let’s see if I can break it down.

  • Hi this is Linda calling from the Times:  Good start; she identified herself and where she was calling from.
  • to tell you about new products:  And now I knew why she was calling. But bthe Customer Experience would have been much more positive if she had added, “Do you have a few minutes to hear about them”?  By doing this she acknowledges that I may not have time or I may not be interested in hearing about new products.  By doing this Linda would let me know that she respects my time and that I’m a valued customer.

The next 11 words immediately sent things South….

  • I need to inform you:   Linda needed to inform me because that’s what’s scripted and because the company is legally obliged to tell me about the next part.
  • that this call is being recorded:  Boom!  The words came out and my head starts exploding.

recording-sign-2-edited

Linda immediately launches into her pitch but I don’t hear a word due to the continuing explosions going off in my head.  I finally come out of shell shock and interrupt Linda.  I inform Linda how offensive it is to me to receive an unsolicited call and then be immediately informed that the call is being recorded.  I rant for a few more minutes and end by telling her that since the call is being recorded to make sure whoever listens to the recordings listens to this one so they will hear first hand how offended I am.

To Linda’s credit she asks me to hold on while she gets her boss on the phone.  Within seconds Brian comes on, acknowledges my “concern”, and apologizes. This took courage because by now Brian is aware of all the bombs going off.  Maybe he had a flak-jacket on, I don’t know.

When I asked why these calls are recorded Brian gave two reasons:

  • Reason #1: “For training purposes”.
    • OK I get it. Lots of companies do this because they have large call centers with inadequate training programs and infrastructure.  By having the recordings of their reps screwing up and going off script it makes it easier to fire them.  Sorry for the cynicism but I’ve run call centers and my managers were always in ear shot of their phone reps.  They didn’t need a recording to know when some additional training and coaching was required.
  • Reason #2: “It’s a sales call so if we miss some information we can get it off the recording”.
    • In other words what Brian was saying was, “because our undertrained staff who uses antiquated business systems can’t be trusted to capture all the pertinent information”.

I went on to explain the obvious to Brian.

“Brian, the fact that you record calls for the reasons you’ve stated brings absolutely no value to me as a customer.  Your company has an internal focus; you care about what’s best for the business.  Instead you need to have an external focus; what’s best for me the Customer.  Further, if you think this through Brian – and since this call is still being recorded you can use this for management training – what’s best for the customer is what’s best for the business.”  

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