Options and Messages

Many, if not most, people dislike options and automated messages when they phone companies. It’s something that we have to put up with. As companies get bigger departments get bigger, hence a system to put you through to the relevant department. Otherwise you would get through to someone who would have to put you through to someone else, then they would transfer you to yet another person. A large company could end up with 100 switchboard operators and very few people actually helping the customer.

Some companies have very easy options to negotiate when you call them, while others are horrendous.

Without mentioning names, one of our partner companies has to have one of the best option systems I’ve come across. One of my customers told me that he had counted up to 19 options! You get to the third set of options to be greeted with the statement: ‘You will now have 3 final options.’ Note the word final. You press the number you want only to be greeted with the next statement: ‘You now have 6 options.’ Love it!

So the options are there hopefully to help us get through to the correct department. It doesn’t always work. Many people couldn’t be bothered to press the right option. They then begin their transfer journey and end up quite annoyed by the time they get through to the correct person. Solution? Press the right option.

Then there’s the automated messages. I often get a customer saying: ‘Are you a person or a robot?’ I stay silent so they can make up their own minds. We’re not allowed to advise.

Because so many companies are regulated by various organisations, they put the relevant information on a recorded message. It saves the agent having to tell each and every customer the legal bits. The agent can concentrate on the subject you are calling about. Of course it’s annoying to hear all this information. Welcome to regulations in the 21st century.

Customers – that’s all of us – either want to feel safe when making a purchase, or would we prefer to go back to a few decades ago when companies could do and say anything to get money from us? Regulations and growth in business have necessitated the option system and the automated messages. It’s not going to change. They may find ways of making it easier, but it won’t stop. We will all have to put up with it.

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It’s Over!

Ok it’s over. We can all get our breath back again. Just another 12 months to wait for it to start up once more. Not long to go.

I had a lovely Christmas spent with family. Playing games and eating a really nice dinner. Lots of chocolates going round. And bloody awful TV! Apart from Mrs Brown’s Boys, which makes me laugh even after watching it 8 times, there was nothing at all decent on the box. We ended up watching my grandson’s new DVD, Horrid Henry, about 12 times. Some of the family wanted to see the news but it was so full of doom and gloom, so utterly depressing, that it was banned.

Tomorrow I’m back at work. How utterly exciting. Can’t wait. (Pure sarcasm there.)

I’m so glad I wasn’t in this weekend. I can just imagine what they’ve had to deal with. All the customers who have had problems over Christmas and have been trying to get through to claims but keep pressing the wrong options and getting no one. The very first option is ‘if you want an engineer’. There are many people who don’t press option 1. They could have no heating, or water leaking through the ceiling, but they’ll still press ‘for any other enquiry’ option. When we get back to work they come through and have a go at us, like it’s our fault that they can’t be bothered to listen.

Oh yes, I can’t wait to get back to work.



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Full Moon Is Almost Here

It’s almost a full moon and the loonies are out in force. Loonies/looney from lunar meaning moon. Just in case you didn’t know. People in centuries past believed that the moon had an effect on the way people behaved or thought. Science of course sees this as an old wives tale. Working at the call centre and in other jobs previously dealing with the public, I have seen evidence that it is true.

Two callers yesterday told me they’d had a mailing for a policy. They both asked the price even though it is in large writing on the leaflet. One guy even insisted that the price wasn’t on there. I told him it was £12. ‘I know that. It says it on here,’ he then said. I set the policy up for him and gave him the phone number for claims.

‘What if I have an emergency?’ he asked.

‘Then you need claims.’

‘I know that. What’s the number I call?’

‘The one I’ve just given you and said was for claims.’

Another guy gave me the address of a property he wanted covered. ‘Is this were you live?’ I asked him. He said yes so I began the process of setting up the cover.

‘Can you send the documents to my office?’ he asked.

‘No problem. I just need to check the eligibility of the property first. Is this your main place of residence?’ I asked for the second time.

‘No. I rent it out.’

Or how about the caller who clearly didn’t know what she wanted.

‘Do you want the cover with or without excess?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know. What do other people do?’

‘They decided what is best suited for them first, and then go for that option.’

‘But what option do they go for?’

‘The one that suits their needs. You need to decide which option suits you best.’ I politely explained.

After several minutes of debating the options she eventually chose. I then asked, ‘would you like us to allow your tenants to call up and make a claim?’

Several minutes later she decided it was best for the agents to deal with that type of thing. We then moved on to the payment option. ‘Would you like to pay with debit or credit card or direct debit?’

‘I don’t know. What’s the best way?’

Ten minutes later I actually managed to finish setting up the policy.

I’m off today. Tomorrow is the full moon and I’m in work. I am not looking forward to it but it should be eventful nonetheless.

Press The Right Option!

Had to work today 😦 Got inundated with people needing engineers. They had either pressed the incorrect option, or couldn’t be bothered to press any option.

I understand that it can annoy some people listening to the options instead of speaking to a real person. However, the options are there to help people get to the correct department so that their query/problem can be dealt with efficiently. The company didn’t just think: ‘let’s put some options on the phone to confuse or annoy people’. They also didn’t think: ‘let’s put some options on for something to do’. The options are there to make things easier for people – customers and agents.

During peak call time, such as lunch time and early afternoon, there is often a queue of calls waiting to come through. A lot of those people have pressed the wrong option. So they wait a few minutes to get through to an agent in the call centre who then has to transfer them to the correct department. It’s a waste of the customers time and a waste of the agents time. It also makes us as mad as hell.

Just imagine if you have water pouring through the ceiling. Are you going to press the option which states ‘if you wish to get an engineer…’, or are you going to press ‘if you have any other enquiry…’? The choice is purely the customers.

The options are very clear. It’s a simple thought process. It’s a simple push of the finger on the button. It won’t damage your finger. It won’t break your arm. It will get you through to the correct person. It will help you get sorted quickly. It will save you waiting in a call queue only to be transferred elsewhere. It will get you an engineer quicker. Customer’s choice.

Margaret Road Wednesbury WS10 7QT 07505067286 naturalmatrixtherapy@outlook.com By appointment only, so please contact me to discuss available times.