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Another Phone Story

February 9, 2010

Filed under: Management — admin @ 11:16 am

I was recently ‘forced’ to call the customer service line for a large insurance company. I navigated through the dreaded phone tree until I found the appropriate line where I could sit on hold until their customer service representatives could finish ‘helping other clients.’

Nothing new or unexpected, but before the music started a slightly stern female voice came on to tell me they could no longer answer questions about claims more than two years old, that I could only ask about three items, and that all calls would be ended after 20 minutes.

As I fumed about what I could not do, a cheery young woman suddenly came on the line to help me with my problem. The contrast could not have been more dramatic and I told her so. I suggested that it might make her job a little easier if the recording told people what they could do rather than what they could not do.

Innocently I asked, “have you ever listened to that recording?” to which she answered, “why no, but that would probably be a good idea.” Turns out she was a psychology major in  real life and, probably to humor me, said she understood my complaint and,  thought it was quite justified.

She also solved my other problem, but I can’t help wondering how much the whole dynamic might change if administrators let people on the front lines listen to their brilliant ideas and didn’t leave callers with a negative impression before the whole process started.

I’m sure they don’t really care what I think of their messages, but it has to make the customer service reps job even tougher if the call waiting process creates a negative mood even before any action is taken.

Another example of how just a little emotional intelligence could reduce a tiny amount of unneeded stress for everyone.

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