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By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Last week I was faced with the task of contacting an organisation to update an incorrect piece of information appearing on my account. I phoned the number provided in the correspondence I received from them and attempted to navigate the automated system. My reason for calling didn’t match with any of the options, so I tried selecting an almost embarrassing number of option combinations in the attempt to reach a human, but with no success. Even pressing ‘0’ to reach an operator failed me – that only started the automated menu over again!

I finally gave up and turned to the organisation’s website. My investigation there turned up no additional methods to contact the company – no other phone numbers, no email address, no form I could complete for assistance. I did, however, come across an area on the website which acted like a blog or forum. Customers could submit questions and the organisation would post them along with their answer. A search revealed several other customers had submitted questions about the same issue I was dealing with over the past couple of years. Much to my frustration, every answer referred me back to the original phone number with the unhelpful automated system.

I abandoned the organisation’s website completely and turned to my go-to backup plan: a Google search. The results revealed that I was not alone in my struggle to contact this organisation. I found an additional contact phone number on the GetHuman website along with instructions on how to be immediately connected to a human operator. It took me two attempts (the first time I was disconnected after about five minutes of being on hold) and nearly 20 minutes of awful hold music and recorded messages, but I finally got through to a contact centre agent.

The agent I spoke with was pleasant and courteous. He was able to quickly understand my issue and action the necessary updates without hesitation. My conversation with him took less than five minutes. He personally provided me with a great experience. But, no matter how fabulously he performed his job, there was nothing he could do to erase the experience I had with the organisation prior to my interaction with him.

Organisations need to take a step back and look at their support channels through the eyes of the customer. Providing a blog or forum to address customer-submitted questions is a great resource, but loses its value when readers are redirected to a contact channel not equipped to deal with that query. Using an automated system to route customer calls isn’t necessarily a bad solution, but can quickly turn into a negative experience when no option is provided for customers to connect to a live agent when needed. And customers should never have to leave your organisation’s website to find your contact details. Support channels—whether that be phone numbers, virtual agents, live chat, email addresses or contact forms—should be easily accessible on your website.

Customers don’t want to have to contact your organisation for support. When they do, you must ensure that the experience is as frictionless and straight-forward as possible. Check out our on-demand webinar recordings for some tips on improving your overall customer experience. Don’t leave your customers frustrated, or the next Google search they do might just be to find your competitors.

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