Fix Your Phone System!

KXTDA100 A post by Glenn at AllBusiness Customer Service got me thinking. He had a negative experience with Nintendo because of incompetence. The incompetence, though, wasn’t the normal type of incompetence. It was phone system incompetence.

Phone system incompetence is one of the worst types of incompetence. Firstly, it’ll cause a lot of inconveniences and frustrations. Secondly, it’s so easy to avoid. It is a lot easier to fix a phone system than it is to make all of your employees more competent.

I generally advise my clients to fix the easy things first. In a given customer service experience, there are generally a lot of things that can be improved easily. I advise my clients to start with those. Collectively those little things can make a difference and if that collective difference does not require much effort, it’s well worth it.

Fixing a phone system is one of those easy things. I am not an engineer and know very little about how PBX’s, IVR’s, etc. work, but I do know that they can work and they often do work. Technology that is not super complex (this stuff is not artificial intelligence, rocket science, or neuroscience) should work.

Having calls drop is a sure way to aggravate the customer. It is extremely frustrating and extremely time consuming to have to call back, navigate through phone menus, explain your problem, and sometimes, start over.

If you have gotten any sort of complaints about your phone system dropping calls, look into it seriously. Hire someone to check out your phone system and ensure that it’s in proper working order. If it isn’t, get it fixed. If it can’t be fixed, buy a new phone system.

If your phone system is well designed and works well, you shouldn’t have to ask for a phone number to call back customers if they are disconnected – hopefully they will not get disconnected. When you do collect customer information for the first time (ticket ID’s,case numbers, etc.), you should collect their phone number as part of that process. It isn’t worth asking every customer for his or her phone number if only 1 of 1,000 calls get dropped, though.

Make sure your phone system is working well. It’s worth the time, effort, and money. There are a lot of things that are much more complicated to get right, so make this one right if you can.