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Thread: Do answering machine menus save time?

  1. #1
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    Default Do answering machine menus save time?

    I'm assuming most everyone finds them annoying.

    If my dr. calls my pharmacy, he gets a menu. If my pharmacy calls my dr., he gets a menu. I'm not at all sure them both having menus is saving either of them time.

    Some menus give you the opportunity to talk to a live person in a relatively short time. Others make it almost impossible, or actually impossible to speak to a person.

    I miss the days when a person answered, understood the reason for the call, and transferred one to the appropriate person.

    My granddaughter had a problem the other day and was on the phone for a very long, and frustrating, time trying to get it solved. Once she got to a live person she got satisfaction fairly quickly, but getting to that person was driving her up the wall.
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    the answer to your unasked question is, "automated answering systems save money"
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I miss the days when a person answered, understood the reason for the call, and transferred one to the appropriate person.
    The people who answer a phone are an expense and if they are expected to understand, a large expense.

    At my wife's business we all have access to caller ID on our lines. If one of us wants to answer the phone we do. Often we just let it go to the answering machine. It is often hours before anyone listens to any message. The business, the phone are for our convenience. Not the caller's.
    Life is complex.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    As may be, I think it makes for additional stress on people.
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    If it get too frustrating (and I have a low threshold) and I have a choice, I do bidnez with another firm. Life is too short for BS.

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Not for the caller.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    the answer to your unasked question is, "automated answering systems save money"
    Then I loose money every time Tess or I shockingly answer the phone and customers go “OMG I was expecting to leave a message”

    On the other side every time we call a customer it ALWAYS goes to voicemail, even if they JUST TEXTED YOU !!!!!

    Here’s the deal you call me I answer the phone, if its a scam call I deal with it I’m not shy, if its a work call I deal with it, if its a buddy in a Bolivian Jail and he/she has one phone call they had better call me. Whats the big deal with answering the phone ?
    This post is temporary and my disappear at the discretion of the managment

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    Then I loose money every time Tess or I shockingly answer the phone and customers go “OMG I was expecting to leave a message”
    my guess is you have a relatively small volume and uncomplicated telephone customer service process, compared to say a national chain pharmacy
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    my guess is you have a relatively small volume and uncomplicated telephone customer service process, compared to say a national chain pharmacy
    We get between 20 - 30 phone calls a day
    5 emails
    10 Yelp Requests
    10 Texts

    Kinda busy
    This post is temporary and my disappear at the discretion of the managment

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Answering machines do not need health care, workman's comp, insurance, or a weekly paycheck and they are never sick or late for work

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    We get between 20 - 30 phone calls a day
    5 emails
    10 Yelp Requests
    10 Texts

    Kinda busy
    Our customer service reps average about 115 resolved calls per shift. And the rep who answers your call is expected to handle it to its resolution.

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    If you want to know the answer, press #2.

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Slightly different point of view here - When I was employed, I spent the last 19 years of my career doing 'remote telephone support' for a major, multi-national computer corporation - I worked to isolate / fix / order parts for mid-range and large computer systems in order to minimize downtime. Of that 19 years, approximately 9 YEARS was 'on hold' or cycling through various answering machine menus, trying to select that one option which would get me directly to the person I needed to contact [ that is NOT a typo - I calculated it out ] - The one phrase that still sends chills down my spine is 'Your call is very important to us, please continue to hold' It loses something after you have heard it 14 times on the same call . . .



    Rick
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beowolf View Post
    Our customer service reps average about 115 resolved calls per shift. And the rep who answers your call is expected to handle it to its resolution.
    Agree 100%
    This post is temporary and my disappear at the discretion of the managment

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Answering machines do not need health care, workman's comp, insurance, or a weekly paycheck and they are never sick or late for work
    No machine ever breaks down?
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    All machines will break down but then again so will we.

    The last two companies I worked for answered the phone, it's a respect for your customers issue.

    At the last company if you were calling in for technical service issues you got transferred to a field service technician (not in the field at the moment) or a board level tech to diagnose the problem. Not a support person in another country. While the board level tech complained continuously about it, and we did lose a few over it, it made them much better technicians. Our customer's were mostly franchises of major corporations that had their own "help desk" they would always call us first. It generated true customer loyalty and a ton of work. When I started there we serviced and did repairs for a handful of local stores by the end we did a national business shipping registers to all point of this country and even a few others. Customer Service is a buzz word for so many companies but if it is truly what you are about you will always have customers. It's really what they are looking for.

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Woodward View Post
    I never answer the phone. I have a machine that helps me sand. I have a machine that answers the phone. Please leave a message. And a call back number. If I hear your message maybe I will pick up the phone. I will call you back at my convenience.
    If you have not received a bill then - no- your boat is not done.
    I get that for a one man band business, but that is the fastest way to make me not make a reservation at a restaurant!

    Pete
    The Ignore feature, lowering blood pressure since 1862. Ahhhhhhh.

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Those menu tree machines tend to test your patience (lots of people hang up) and if you hold on, direct your call to the lowest-paid employee, often in a far land, with rather poor English skills and a fake name.

    Recently, I've been on hold listening to crap music and the little "important to us" homily only to talk to an underling in a broom closet, who promised to have their boss call back in 10-15 minutes. Never happened. Tried again: ditto.

    Doctors, lawyers and other who bill by the hour don't want to be tied up and subject to a Q and A (let alone a complaint) without getting paid handsomely for it.

    Same reason dope dealers chain up a bunch of pitbulls around the stash house.

    Capitalism in action.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Woodward View Post
    I never answer the phone. I have a machine that helps me sand. I have a machine that answers the phone. Please leave a message. And a call back number. If I hear your message maybe I will pick up the phone. I will call you back at my convenience.
    If you have not received a bill then - no- your boat is not done.
    I hope your wife never has to call you to tell you the house is on fire.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
    And other things, too.
    http://www.landsedgephoto.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Personally, I prefer texts every time. The phone tells me who they're from, I deal with them appropriately.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
    And other things, too.
    http://www.landsedgephoto.com

  21. #21
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I'm assuming most everyone finds them annoying.

    If my dr. calls my pharmacy, he gets a menu. If my pharmacy calls my dr., he gets a menu. I'm not at all sure them both having menus is saving either of them time.

    Some menus give you the opportunity to talk to a live person in a relatively short time. Others make it almost impossible, or actually impossible to speak to a person.

    I miss the days when a person answered, understood the reason for the call, and transferred one to the appropriate person.

    My granddaughter had a problem the other day and was on the phone for a very long, and frustrating, time trying to get it solved. Once she got to a live person she got satisfaction fairly quickly, but getting to that person was driving her up the wall.

    Save time? For who?

    The reduce the cost of labor for the company you're try g to get a hold of.

    The point of the system isn't to make it more convenient, or faster, for the caller -- it is to make it more difficult for a caller to talk to a human being. Human beings cost money, and the fewer callers that make it through the phone tree to a human being, the better.

    It is not about customer service. Instead, it is, quite intentionally, about customer disservice.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    You can bypass the BS & go to a person on many systems (certainly not all!) by pressing 0 (zero). You may have to do it a few times & you have to wait until after the "If you wish Swahili press1, Latin 2, etc." message.

    As said above, companies use them to save money - nothing to do with whether it's better or worse for the customer.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Years ago E&B Marine had hold music that was gulls, bell bouys, and foghorns. The people on their phone spoke with the accent I grew up with. I made lots of phone orders just to talk with them.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Save time? For who?

    The reduce the cost of labor for the company you're try g to get a hold of.

    The point of the system isn't to make it more convenient, or faster, for the caller -- it is to make it more difficult for a caller to talk to a human being. Human beings cost money, and the fewer callers that make it through the phone tree to a human being, the better.

    It is not about customer service. Instead, it is, quite intentionally, about customer disservice.
    What is the long run cost of the aggregation?
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    What is the long run cost of the aggregation?
    IMO, reduced service. However, "service" seems to be rarer & rarer, so it probably won;t hurt most companies. I try to fight this by buying from companies that do provide good service, even if a little more expensive. Note I said a little. There are companies that believe they can completely ignore competitive pricing & that's not right either - so it's a balancing act.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    In the '80s I organized a poor people's campaign on the especially cruel credit department of a local electric company which led to many reforms in regulations and company practices. Later I went to work for the DPU enforcing those regulations. In the process we paid especial attention to the bloom of modernized call centers and telephone trees. Basically a small number of automatic choices, like balance and payment, otherwise to a human in under 30 seconds: A human trained to answer anything from downed lines one person stays with the issue to resolution. Counting the then relatively new caller ID, companies willing to invest saw improved payments that lessened the costs and customers experienced better service.

    Partially automated systems can be done right or done wrong, depending on the company's actual interest in customer service.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    The automated systems pretty much insure one thing, by the time you get to a live agent you are thoroughly pissed off. I imagine the live operators take quite a bit of abuse because of it.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    Mahatma Gandhi

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    Default Re: Do answering machine menus save time?

    Which is why they always tell you that "this call is being recorded" for some bogus reason that boils down to keeping you from screaming at their underpaid staff.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    Which is why they always tell you that "this call is being recorded" for some bogus reason that boils down to keeping you from screaming at their underpaid staff.

    It's to ensure that the service agent isn't screaming at the customer.

    When I worked at Micro$loth, our team supported the call center. We generated a lot of reports for management. The primary metric they cared about for service agents was mean call time -- how long does the agent spend on the phone with the customer. Not, as one might suspect, how often does the agent solve the customer's issue and/or otherwise satisfy the customer.

    That sort of thing is not conducive to good customer service.

    I remember a service agent getting the boot once. It was a justified, "for cause" firing. I had to pull the data regarding his calls for quite some period of time. Once you looked at the data, it was pretty clear what he was doing. A call would get routed to him, he would pick up and then hang up after a few seconds, and then put the phone into "wrap-up" mode, meaning no calls would be routed, because he's supposed to be wrapping up the issue, doing research, etc. necessary to resolving the issue. He got very few calls routed to him, didn't deal with them, and was basically loafing the entire shift.

    Funny thing is that when reports wouldn't get generated because of some glitch or other, we'd have management screaming at us that they couldn't run their business without those reports.

    I could have run that operation without a problem missing a daily report or 2 -- there wasn't a lot of variance week-to-week unless there was a big software release or upgrade. Call volume was highest on Monday, it tapered off as the week progressed, with a bump in volume on Friday afternoon. And the volume was pretty consistently distributed across products.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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