Your Telephone System - What it Says About Your Company

I was reviewing my American Express statement yesterday when I saw some charges from a particular company that was never authorized. Conveniently, their 800 number was on the statement, so instead of immediately calling American Express to dispute the charges, I called their number to resolve this issue. However, I was forced to go through a labyrinth of options, and in the end, I was told that their customer services reps were too busy, and that if I left a message they would call by the end of the day. I left a message. They never called back. Needless to say, now they have American Express deal with, and they don’t play as nice as I do.

So here is a question for you. What does your voice mail system sound like? Yes in an ideal world, every customers, vendors, or prospects call would be greeted by a friendly voice ready and eager to help them. However we don’t live in an ideal world, and having phone tree systems can help us be more productive. However, always remember that any sort of telephone system and process that you have is a direct reflection on you and your company. If it is cumbersome, overbearing, and hard to navigate, your customers and prospects will just give up instead of wading through your process. Instead if it is user friendly, has a minimal amount of steps, and ends at the phone being answered by a friendly individual who can immediately take care of your needs, then you have winner.  

Here is an idea. Have 10 people call in to your business, and have them experience your phone tree system. Once they have completed the call, have them rate their impression of the experience and make suggestions for improving it. To many times we put together a system that we like, and then roll it out without testing it on our real audience. You may think it’s the greatest system since sliced cheese, but you aren’t the one who has to deal with it on a day-to-day basis.  

Let’s get back to my experience. When I called American Express, their phone tree system was easy to navigate with both voice and push-button options, and at the end I spoke with the exact person I needed to who assured me that American Express would come down on the offending company like a ton of bricks. That left a great impression of American Express. So let me ask you, what is the impression that your phone system is leaving?

Kevin Weir


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