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Stop Wasting Time Waiting on Hold
Old 08-02-2010, 06:57 AM   #1
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Stop Wasting Time Waiting on Hold

Why didn't someone think of this earlier?

Stop Wasting Time Waiting on Hold

Regardless of the last decade’s technological advances in telephony, most business have yet to find a way to cut customer hold times, but a service called has found a way to fight fire with fire.

Instead of wasting your time on hold, LucyPhone waits for you, karmically instructing customer service representatives to press 1 to speak with you when they finally answer the call.
We called both Comcast and AT&T—the two companies that annoy us most with hold times—and LucyPhone worked perfectly, saving us more than an hour of hold time. We were skeptical that the customer service representative would press the button to connect the call, but both times they did.

"It's tough to make predictions, especially when it involves the future." ~Attributed to many
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." ~(perhaps by) Yogi Berra
"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge."~ Lau tzu
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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Great idea and long overdue. It would seem that if utilities gave a hoot about customers they could accomplish this by themselves.

Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:21 PM   #3
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Awesome! Thanks RonBoyd, I have it bookmarked.

Originally Posted by travelover View Post
It would seem that if utilities gave a hoot about customers they could accomplish this by themselves.
Yep. It grates me when they say "Please stay on the line, we care about our customers, and for best service..." - Heck, if they cared, they'd staff enough people to keep the wait times down.

But the following two stories make me wonder if they are saving anything at all with their poor service:

Two recent Customer Service experiences -

1) I'm installing a new combo M-Wave range hood over the oven. I notice that three screws (two different lengths and they are specific as to which goes where - so yes, size matters ) are longer than the parts list says, and these might poke into the internals of the oven (they are specially formed screws, not garden variety hardware store types). I'm not gonna chance it. Call to find out, and it takes about 20 minutes to get through to someone to figure out what to send me and it will be there in 5-7 business days. They can't get me to any kind of specialist to verify if the screws I have are usable or not. I hang up, then think - 7 days for three screws? C'mon - my kitchens torn apart! So I call back to see if I can expedite it. Get transfered about 5 times, they determine the ones that the first guy sent were also the wrong ones , finally say they can get them to me by Saturday (this was Thursday), Saturday comes - no show . Got them today, Monday, not the right parts at all, not even close.

Well, the number the last person gave to call if I had further problems seemed to actually be a higher tier service person - not just a parts order person. He understood the problem, and is going to have an actual hardware installer guy call me back, within 24 hrs...

Three screws. Probably 2 hours of their time, plus shipping and costs for the wrong hardware kit. And the problem is still not solved, four days later.

Story # 2) I had to have DD's MacBook serviced under the extended AppleCare warranty I bought (I usually skip these, but since she takes it off to college, I figure good 'insurance') - it is near it's 3 year end-of-warranty. Three distinct problems (some hairline cracks in the white plastic case, the FireWire port was inoperable, and the battery was down to about 45 minutes on a charge - ~ 35% 'health').

Before taking it to the local Apple store, I thought I'd see if I should do any other verification on-line first. Entered my S/N, it saw I was under warranty, and gave me several options. One was to actually type up the problems myself on their form, and I could choose a time for a CSR to call ME - with a listed one minute wait time if I wanted to be called now. Figured it would be good to document it all, so I did, and they called back (of course someone got on the phone at home, it went to VM, but Apple emailed me immediately to let me know, they would try again, or I could reschedule the call - nice feedback).

OK, so I got called, and the young lady, Hillary, understood perfectly each problem, verified with me the checks I had made so far, verified that the battery was under 300 full charge cycles (the length of the warr on their batteries - it was at 240 cycles). They offered the option of sending me a shipping box to send it back - I figured it saves me a trip to the store and a wait there- why not? I get the box the next day (Saturday), I check everything with DD on Sunday, drop it off at Fed Ex when I was in town late Monday afternoon. I get an email acknowledgment from Apple that it entered their shipping system - get an update at every step, it is in their repair facility the next morning, and is being shipped back that day, and I have it delivered to my door Wed AM 10:30! New battery, new case, new logic board for the FW port. Perfect.

Now, I suppose Hillary is better paid than the parts jockeys I got connected with at GE. But it took them ~ 2 hours (and counting) and a parts shipment to NOT solve my problem, and now the higher tier people are involved (for three screws!). Took Hillary at Apple about 12 minutes to cover everything right the first time. I doubt she gets paid 10x what the parts jockeys at GE do (yes, they seemed to be US based). Plus, Apple has a happy customer, GE has a an angry one. What's that worth?

Now, one might say that you are paying for that service as part of the Apple 'premium' (which I think varies depending on your situation), and I won't argue that. But that's not my point. My point is that I think good service would be cheaper than this poor service that most places provide. Cheaper in the short run (less time invested, problem fixed the first time), and cheaper in the long run (better customer loyalty).

Did anybody read this far? heh-heh

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Old 08-02-2010, 03:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post

Did anybody read this far? heh-heh

Yes, it was pretty interesting.
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
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