Using Bad Phone Systems for Marketing

I have talked about my sincere hate for endless PBX systems before and a simple method to get rid of the frustration caused by them (use live operators). Do you remember the Citi Simplicity campaign (the one where it said “Press 0 for a human”) that ran a few months ago? I haven’t seen one lately, but I found it surprising the big deal Citi was making about being able to press 0 to speak with an operator.

Image courtesy of Signals vs. Noise
Also as part of their identity theft solutions, Citi has:

If you check out the gethuman database , you’ll see that Citi isn’t the only company where you can push 0 to get through to a human. There’s also Capital One, Xerox, Netflix, Cingular, Playstation, Microsoft, QuickBooks, and plenty more where you can just push 0 to speak to a human. My point is that it isn’t good when companies are advertising something they should have anyways.

The way for Citi to boost it up a notch? Direct to a human (aka an operator). There are some other companies that do that such as Commerce Bank, PayPal, IBM, Sprint, and several others, but it’s not too common. Operators make (almost) everyone happy, complex PBX systems make (almost) everyone mad, and simple PBX systems don’t aggravate too many people. Which does your company have? It’s obviously an important advantage, especially in an industry as competitive as banking, cell phones, or technology.

Monday’s post is going to be amount the importantance of a smile.

2 Responses to “Using Bad Phone Systems for Marketing”

  1. Glenn Ross said:

    Jun 10, 06 at 2:21 pm

    I’ve written several times about voice mail Hell and everyone agrees with me that it’s lousy customer service. But if one of your customers calls and gets your voice mail, does your outgoing message tell them how to reach an operator or your assistant? Does the signature block on your e-mail list your business’s main number as well as your direct line? If not, perhaps you are trapping your customers and other important contacts in voice mail Hell.

  2. Service Untitled » Banks & Customer Service said:

    Aug 08, 06 at 3:34 pm

    […] Have humans answer the phone. Banks have some of the most complicated phone menus available.  Some banks make it easy to get through to them, while others do not. Pressing 0 to speak with an operator was enough for Citi to start an ad campaign. Try and have a menu along the lines of: […]