Sunday, July 02, 2006

Taping Customer Service

If you have AOL you should know about this. If you surf the web, you've probably heard of this already. It got a large amount of coverage and the guy who did the recording has turned into a minor celebrity on the talk show TV and Radio shows. But... what I have not heard is that this guy thought of a really clever way to "fight" customer service.
First the disclaimer... I have had pleasant customer service experiences in the past. I have a friend who works in the Customer service end of her company and I know she does a good job. Not all customer service persons are evil... But... lets face it, a LOT of customer service calls are frustrating (to say the least at times).
Ok onto the first story...
Vincent Ferrari, wanted to cancel his AOL membership. He called the customer service person who could 'help' him do this. But as you can hear for yourself, the customer service man was anything but helpful. AOL has been criticised in the past about being "difficult" when you want to cancel your account. (I have been a member of AOL since 1993! I'm officially a charter member - but I too will be canceling within the year.) Mr. Ferrari tape recorded his phone call with customer service, and afterwards posted it on his blog to tell the world. If you want to go to his blog or the actual post you should go here:

What I have NOT heard mentioned in the various comments about this experience, is that EVERYONE should tape their phone calls to customer service! Yes, in many states to tape someone without them knowing is illegal - So I can't condone that. But If enough people DO start taping their customer service calls, I bet that the service would improve overall. And what the heck... tell them up front that you are taping them, I bet they will treat you better then.

I just had a call yesterday with customer service. It was rather pointless, and the woman was not able to help me out in anyway, but part of that was my fault for not paying attention to my order. (I actually typed up a large post about this yesterday, but just before posting I messed up the html and lost the whole thing.) I regret that I did not tape this call.
(My digital recorder is what I ordered from Amazon so that's why). But in the future, I too will be taping all my customer service calls.
How you ask?
It's simple and fairly cheap to do.
Go out to radio shack, or to your local electronics superstore (or on the web) and purchase one of these for about $18.
Then you'll need to pick up a recorder. You can spend anywhere from $20-100+ depending on memory and features. I recommend the Olympus digital recorders.
Thats it. When you are ready to record, just hit the record button. It's not complicated at all.
WE have been conditioned to being taped. Be aware of it next time you call... during the automated process you'll usually hear this "warning" that says "your call may be monitored or recorded for training purposes"... yep that's right they are recording you, so lets turn the tables.
Hats off and thanks to Vincent.
Oh, as a follow up... AOL claims to have fired the man who gave Vincent such a difficult time. I'm not in favor of anyone losing their job over this, but it's understandable.
I also think that this may help the growing problem of companies outsourcing their phone customer support to India. I have (and others I know) have a very difficult time understanding their thick accents at times. I'm currently reading "The world is flat" and the author points out that the airline "JetBlue" has "outsourced" it's phone calls to housewives who live in Utah! Now that's a good idea.
Here's a good article I just read from the NYTimes that spured this post.
(geek note: I'm using a new website I just found to generate my technorati tags: Fintan's Technorati Tag Generator)

Technorati tags:

No comments: