We’ve all been there – you call your service provider and your eyes glass over as you start jumping through the hoops, desperate for the phrase “Press this number to speak to a customer service representative.”
Unfortunately, pressing for customer service usually scores you an opportunity to hear some impossibly bad musicwhile you wait. Then you most likely get connected to the wrong person and have to be transferred. Transferring, of course, means more great music and more clocks ticking away years off your life. See here!
I myself had a particularly intense experience last week with my cell phone provider – who in the unfolding Carrier Wars really should be offering great customer service as a distinguishing feature. I had fairly basic objectives: transfer my number to a work account and change my wife’s plan to reflect her usage rates. Alas, out of 90 minutes spent on the phone I had to repeat these tasks, verbatim, seven times.
Interestingly, in the midst of all this time on hold, I received a text alert on my phone from a Las Vegas hotel (I’m planning a bachelor party) about an upcoming offer:
A great offer – as my bachelor party buddies are big eaters who love buffets and also partiers who would love nightly access to MGM’s clubs. Did I call? No way.
Why? Well, you can imagine how much I felt like calling up the MGM Grand and waiting on hold after my experience with my cell phone carrier. Even if the MGM has set up an 800 number where you can call and speak directly to a person, there was zero chance I was going to risk more of my time.
Which brings me to an interesting use case for mobile marketers: text-to-receive-a-call. Think of it this way, what if MGM had sent me the following message instead of the one I received:
Now that’s a compelling offer! No wait times, no hold music, just an actual person who is contacting me directly, when I want, about an offer that I am interested in.
Taking this reasoning further, why couldn’t my cell phone service provider provide me with a similar experience? Rather than making me punch in a bunch of options only to speak to a service rep, wouldn’t it be great if I could just text my cell phone service provider the keyword “contact me” and shortly thereafter receive a call from my customer service rep?
I have a hard time believing this would be so hard – all call center technology is automated already, right? It wouldn’t be too hard to design a system where texts, in addition to calls, are queued and a customer service rep is connected to a number that texted in rather than a person waiting on hold.
I am not saying that this type of functionality would be cheap – certainly calling customers has a cost – but with the various VOIP connections out there I imagine you could reduce this impact. You also run the risk of calling someone who is not interested or who has other questions, but because they have to sign up for your mobile list first you are most likely connected to your most interested and best customers.
However, on the flip side of costs you have certain benefits. As the researchers at the The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) have shown, happy customers result in more successful companies. Companies that perform well on ACSI scores overwhelmingly outperform those that don’t in the stock market.
One thing’s for certain, any company that enacts a text-to-call-me program, whether it be for customer service or sales purposes, they are going to have me high on the list of the first people to sign up. And I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone.
(Kane Russell is a Business Development Manager at Waterfall Mobile who, after spending much of his day on the phone, knows a thing or two about minimizing interaction deficiencies…)