As a business, we need to be cost effective, make profit, staff care and the list go on. So part of this has meant that we have automatic phone systems and services e.g. reminders. Nevertheless, have we gone over the top?
I recently had an incident that meant I was late on a credit card payment. On the day following the due date, I received 8 phone calls, from the name phone number in a matter of 2 hours. None of which I could not answer as I was in a meeting. So when I finished my meeting at 2 hours and 10 minutes, the 9th phone call came, which was a machine informing me I was late on my payment.
I feel that 9 calls in less than 2.5 hours is harassment. We have pressed privacy, but it seems that now we need to press what are the rules of harassment.
If I behaved in this manner, I can honestly state that I would lose clients and my reputation will suffer. Why do banks and corporations feel that automated systems do not have to follow the same rules?
The same effect comes out be automatic phone answering systems. I elect to use AAMI because as an insurance company they do not have a phone answering system, but a human operator. I have gone through phone answering systems and waited for 40 minutes for a response from a person e.g. Australian Taxation Office dreadful. I love it when a product you have purchased is faulty, and you call up and for 20 minutes play with phone responses I purchased a bad product where are the customer’s rights?
Here is a great form of harassment. Filling contact forms on a web site. The site has a fault of their automated email does not send e.g. it bounces back to your email service, so you call them to ask the question and inform them of the situation. Then you get the inquisition. What did you do wrong? Did you not do it the way they expected? Therefore, when they finally check it, and they have an error do you get a thank you, or a discount, or anything No! Instead, your time is wasted, you are treated awfully, and you get no recompense, in fact, you should consider yourself lucky if you got an answer to your question.
So the question is, do we accept this treatment? With age comes experience, I now know, that Person A cannot change Person B. Therefore, I know I cannot change this treatment. However I can refuse to accept it, and I am. If I see an unknown phone number on my mobile I won’t answer it. If they call more than once, I will save the number in my address book, and mark it as a banned number. This stops the 8 calls in 2 hours.
If a company’s phone answering machine is more than 3 steps, I will use webs and contact forms rather than sit on a machine. If the web contact bounces back, then I will find an address and write a short note to the address.
In short, I will no longer comply. I will not assist companies with feedback, unless it is in person. I will not play this abusive game anymore. If enough people think the same as I do, well then businesses will elect to change or else they will not grow or attract users.
If I continue to be abused, then I will write in a forum, such as Trip advisor. This is why these websites are becoming so popular and so many people use them.
I think businesses in 2015 really need to review how they plan to service customers. Data is essential, but so is service. Let us all support good businesses that have good business practices.
Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.