I recently received a letter from my bank asking me to call about an error on my mortgage payment. It was a simple matter -- a bill I'd paid had gone to the wrong address when the bank sold my mortgage. Normally, I'm a fairly calm person; I am accustomed to the mercurial moods of a teenager, am a regular tester of beta technologies, and am a Windows user. Despite all that practice with frustration, within 30 minutes of dialing the bank, I was hurling strong language at a robot.
I'm not proud of that. But in my defense, I venture that the robot was very bad at her job. I assumed she was hired to interpret voice prompts and transfer customers to the right department. I'm a college-educated, not noticeably accented, native speaker of the King's English, so I shouldn't be an enormous challenge in this regard. But she sent me to the wrong department several times, put me on hold till I hung up, hung up on me several times -- after proclaiming she was happy to help -- and proudly announced that my problem was solved when it most certainly wasn't.
Admittedly, the robot didn't understand my loud expletives any better than my calm explanations. But I, unlike her, am only human. She remained calm throughout the entire process -- so calm, in fact, that despite my initial assumption that she was there to help facilitate calls, I went away convinced she was designed to make customers go crazy and leave. Under that assumption, at least one of us had accomplished something.
So I was heartened to see a report from ClickFox informing me I'm in good company. ClickFox recently conducted a survey asking people about their most frustrating customer service experiences and how they respond to them.
Here are the top five most frustrating industries, according to the responses:
- Health care
The things these companies do that are the most frustrating? Leaving us on hold for long periods of time (41 percent), making us speak to several people -- explaining our problem each time -- to resolve a problem (13 percent), and not being recognized by speech recognition programs (9.3 percent).
I'm not crazy -- but these companies are.